It has been so long since I wrote that I feel a bit sheepish, but I want to start again. Something happened at the height of the pandemic here that translated to just too much screen time and I dropped out for the most part, but missed the community and visited sporadically. Now I want to start writing again—there’s still a lot to write about—and periodic cicadas are one of them!
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard of these. There are a number of them, separated into broods and the brood where I live in northern Virginia is Brood X, which appears every 17 years. The adult cicadas 17 years ago flew up into the trees where they bred and laid eggs; their larvae dropped to the ground and burrowed down to the tree roots, where they suckled for 17 years before digging their way back up to transform again. This can make it look as though your lawn has been aerated.
They molt, leaving these empty shells all over the place and they make an amazing sound.
Those big adults are a bit like WWII bombers. They fly, but really slow and they don’t have maneuvers, so it’s best to get out of the way if one flies at you. There are apparently three species of Brood X, but I have only seen one in my area.
The cicadas are good for the garden. The birds are so full of them, they haven’t eaten the mulberries, cherries, and blackberries they normally gobble down, meaning…I have gotten mulberries and hope to get blackberries.
I’ve been gardening this year both for myself and for the Plot Against Hunger. My Plot volunteer, Holly, had the idea to plant the three sisters this year—corn, with beans growing up the corn, and squash underneath. Because of evil rabbits, we had to fence the three sisters in.
We also had to replant okra, cover it with chicken wire (rabbits love okra sprouts), and cover the blueberry plants as well. Not only did the rabbit eat the blueberries, it also ate the leaves off the bush. Then it started on the pepper plant and the eggplants. Luckily we’re getting an infusion of eggplants in a week or so. I’ll fence those.
My fellow gardener Mike and I took 8.3 pounds of lettuce to the food pantry last week using lettuce from my garden and a couple other gardeners who had a glut.
My own garden has had rabbit depredation as well, but I think things will recover as time goes on. I have summer and winter squashes, tomatoes, peppers, okra (covered for now), a melon, cucumber, and flowers and herbs. I’m looking forward to what the growing season may bring (likely more fences) and to telling you about it.
Have a good week!