Gardeners: I feel your pain

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

For the last several years, I’ve occasionally (OK, frequently) written about my garden. Usually, I’ve had pretty good luck, even winning blue ribbons at the state fair for my vegetables. I took the master gardener classes, although I never finished the volunteering part of the program; someday, I’ll take another shot at it.

But this year … this year. This year has been nothing but trouble, almost since the beginning. I got a way early start in March. I built a hoop house—a sort of temporary greenhouse made with clear plastic—that moved the garden along very early, but when we had that big wind in April, I pulled it down before I left for work, fearing the wind would blow it up into the power lines. The winter crops—peas, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts—were unharmed by the cold, but the nightshades croaked.

I won’t bore you with the details of the next two plantings. Suffice it to say, the crazy late frosts took out my squash, tomatoes, peppers. No problem.

I finally put my beans in about 10 days ago. Late, yes, but not impossibly so. They sprouted last week, but I’m betting now that I’m not going to get a single bean this year. Earwigs! The little bastards are eating every bit of new growth, so I’ll be surprised if any of my plants get more than seed leaves. See, usually the plants are big enough by now that the earwigs can’t kill them, but this year, the earwigs hatched and grew while I dilly dallied around with multiple plantings.

I don’t use poisons on my vegetables or in my gardens, and I’ve tried a few things against the hordes, but they’ve been ineffective. Kat Kerlin suggested I make a habanero spray, and I’ll guess I’ll try that, even though it feels like a lost cause. Anybody else got any ideas to offer? I’d love to figure out how to solve this problem, because a summer without homegrown beans is barely summer at all.