Gardens, Cicadas, and Evil Lagomorphs

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!

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39 Responses to Gardens, Cicadas, and Evil Lagomorphs

  1. I like the “three sisters” idea. Have never tried it. Do you plant seeds of all three at the same time? Saw three rabbits outside my garden yesterday – but it’s winter, so no vegies that they like!

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    • arlingwoman says:

      You can plant the squash in between corn rows; then wait until the corn has come up and plant the pole beans about 3 inches from the corn. The corn needs to be up a bit so the beans can climb it. So it’s pretty easy except for the rabbits…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you are back! What a year it has been. No cicadas in Maine but I have certainly heard of them. Wish I could have seen the grand emergence. Wonderful that the birds are so full of cicadas that they are leaving your berries alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to see you again! That cicada thing is amazing, seen in TV many programs of them, and our newpapers now told it is the seventeenth year now. The nature is great.
    And rabbits too, they find food everywhere, even our tiny lupine disappeared. Sunny days for gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. SueW says:

    Welcome back Lisa! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. TanGental says:

    You’re amazing cicadas made the main news here too. What a strange life cycle. I wonder if they’d come out last year they’d have been ‘seriously, guys, let’s make it 34 years this time. Good to see the plot flourishing too. So glad we fight slugs and snails and not rabbits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Wow they really make the news rounds. I tried to put in a sound recording, but it was the wrong format for WordPress. I’ve got sow bugs, which you call something else, but no slugs, thank goodness, in the garden…yet. Thanks for coming by !

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  6. Welcome back with this fine photo story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    Good to hear from you again, Lisa! we don’t have any cicadas in my area, that I am aware of, but I remember them from back east. I enjoyed all the photos.

    Rabbits have not been a problem here, but the voles are terrible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      We’ve got voles too, but I find if they have to cross open space between the things they like to munch, that they go to another place. It’s mostly closely planted gardens that get the worst infestations. But I don’t know your landscape, so that may not be the issue. Like all annoying things that eat the garden, they’re pretty cute, but unlike rabbits, not edible…(where is Mr. McGegor????)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    Good to see your post, Lisa. Your garden is looking good and the larkspur is beautiful. This must be the year for rabbits, I’ve had to fence a few things in myself. They drive the dog crazy, she is mad to chase them, but of course, they are much better at running and evading than she is. Chipmunks are in abundance, too, eating all my tulip bulbs, argh. I guess the lesson is to plant enough for them and us. 😉
    The cicadas must be so noisy! I’ve heard them on videos and I can’t imagine living with that 24/7. I wonder if those empty husks would be good in compost? A bit like adding crab shells!

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      The rabbits make me long to know Mr. Mcgregor!!! Here, it’s the squirrels making the dogs nuts. The cicadas are indeed noisy! I sent Laurie a video with sound of them. If you want to send your email to jiminy3791 at my packs.net, eliminating all spaces, of course, I’ll sen it to you, too! I hadn’t thought of stopping up those shells for compost, but I bet they would be good!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sylvie Ge says:

    It’s good to hear from you again. I am glad you can see the good side of having cicadas and although I love the sound they make world struggle to enjoy them in large numbers (not very brave I know).

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks for coming by! It’s good to be back. I like the cicadas. It’s kind of like a comet or a meteor shower–this natural phenomenon that’s big and takes some understanding. Lots of people don’t like bugs, though, and these are big and there are a lot of them, so I can kind of get it…I do like your latest poem!

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  10. Welcome back, Lisa. Your garden looks fabulous, even with the fencing. It’s hard work outsmarting the critters. I’m so happy to hear you’ve had a bounty of lettuce that you could share with the food bank. The need is so great since the start of the pandemic. As for the cicadas, I find them fascinating, but that said, I get to view them safely from this side of the country. It’s really quite extraordinary that they only appear every 17 years. I hope you and your family are doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks Alys. I’m heading out to IL to see my mother at the end of the month–by that time I won’t have seen her for 18 months. I bought a new car, so the road trip will be its first long drive!

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      • Wow! 18 months is a long, long time. I’m so glad you have a road trip ahead, and in a new car no less. How long is the drive? What kind of car did you get?

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        With the new speed limits, it’s 12.5 hours. Used to be 14+ and I’d do it in one day. I will overnight, as I would not be able to get out of the car if I drove 12.5 hours straight. I got a Subaru Crosstrek. Nice city gas mileage and not bad highway. Lots of bells and whistles I haven’t used/figured out yet. So far I really like it.

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      • Lisa, I don’t know how I missed this comment from over a month ago. I’m with you on the long car rides. Breaking it up makes good sense. I hope it’s a comfortable ride. I’m certain it will feel like an improvement since everything is new. I remember getting a newer car after many years, and I fell in love with the extra lumbar support and the heated seats. Do I sound like an old lady? Snort! I hope you are doing well.

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      • arlingwoman says:

        Trip out was fabulous; trip back, ugh, about 17 hours what with traffic and road construction. Mom is doing fine and the Fourth was nice, with a cookout. I only noticed the effect of the drive on my back when I was exercising–so I didn’t feel beat up by the drive. I may do it again, depending on how I feel about Flying…

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      • Oh Lisa, 17 hours in a car sounds brutal. I’m happy to hear, though, that it was worth it. It’s good to know your mom is doing well. We’ve flown once since the pandemic, just an hour’s flight to see my son. We wore masks the whole time and we’re fully vaccinated, but the Delta variant has us all worried. Sigh.

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  11. Hey there Lisa. Those bugs are crazy ugly. Thank goodness we don’t have them here. Summer is short enough here without hiding inside. The garden looks good. I’m gardening too this year. Jim bought two potted tomatoes plants. ha! That’s it, that’s all we got. I’ll have to mark my calendar and make sure I’m not in DC in 2038…yeeesh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Kelly!!! So glad to hear from you. I kind of like the cicadas, but they ARE big and have red eyes. Mostly, once they emerge, they’re up in the trees…I hope the tomatoes do well for you. If I lived so far north, I’d try to have a heated greenhouse!!! I’m not sure how gardening would work, though I’d probably be able to grow things that don’t work here…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good to see you back again. I understand entirely. It’s that time of year for me now to take a larger break. I learned more about gardening here today. I’ve never planted corn and don’t eat it but I like the idea of companion planting. Slugs eat much of what I put out there. Plot against hunger is a great name for your organization. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Marlene! So good to hear from you. We have slugs, too, but luckily not in the gardens I work. Someone just put out advice on them that included surrounding the plants with copper foil, which shocks the slugs! I have more trouble with flea beetles…You’re on my “reader” list, so the next time you post, I’ll pop by. Have a good break.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. paolsoren says:

    When I saw your comment on Derrick’s blog I wondered why I hadn’t been getting notifications on ‘Reader’. Re Cicadas my daughter had them at university just near the window of one of the residences and the noise was amazing. She would ring me and poke her phone out the window and I could hear them easily. Recently I built a new garden (The idea was from my ex-wife) and I am bragging about it to everyone. There are four posts starting from:- https://wordpress.com/post/paolsoren.wordpress.com/17517
    If you get a chance to go back you may find it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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