Friday, May 11, 2012

Tea and sympathy.......makes me smile

I'm making tea today. You can drink it at your own risk and get my sympathy. But the real target of this tea are the tiny little creatures that are eating the garden.

Around 20 years ago, I had a very good-looking cowboy type boyfriend. He lived on some small acreage and invited me and my daughter, who was around 12 at the time, to come out for the day. He let her shoot his gun and gave her a rabbit with a cage when we were leaving. A few mornings later, the rabbit was dead. I asked my daughter what happened and she said she didn't know. All she knew was she had gone to the backyard to gather some grass for Thumper the night before and he was dead in the morning. I remembered the chemicals I had sprayed on the grass and plants the afternoon before for bugs and suddenly I realized the murderous agent. If there was anything funny about that episode, it was when I called the boyfriend and simply told him the rabbit died. After an uncomfortable silence, he blurted out "Oh my God! I've been told that three times in my life! I wasn't counting on hearing it again!". I assured him I was NOT with child and that it was, indeed, the bunny facing a ceremonious burial in my backyard.

When I was asked to housesit Jani's house, I was excited about the prospect of gardening in her backyard as she was encouraging it. As anyone who has at least a passing thought of me knows, I have two beloved 8 pound pooches named Bear and Amber. There would be no poison here as was done to the poor unsuspecting rabbit from long ago. If anything was going to discourage the critters who seem to like the very same vegetables as I do, it would have to be something that was unharmful to the dogs. Something organic.

A young European man I met in a garden store on the Calle Largo, a street in Cuenca, advised me to use red hot peppers, red onions and garlic in a tea to spray if I found any bugs. A few weeks ago, I hosted a couple who verified the tea method and verified I had small mites and bugs as well. It was teatime.

I have no idea of the effectiveness of this tea. My guests informed me that the broccoli was in dire need since it was about to flower. Bubble, bubble toil and trouble!!

There is not a real recipe. It is a tea with all the liquid drained from the actual vegetables after it has been allowed to steep and cool. There is no need to clean and peel although I did slice everything to allow the hot seeds in the pepper, the aroma of the red onions, and the natural smell of the garlic to do their job while boiling.

A composting pail in the farthest part of your yard (flies) is very good for your garden as long as no meat or animal products are included. Animal products won't kill your garden but the rodents it attracts will. An exception would be eggshells as long as the egg has been cleaned out and dried from the inside. An afternoon in the very direct Andean sun does a very good job.