Hello, my dearest readers! As You can see, I’ve not abandoned the blog, but, to quote the poet, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. It being a way to add the damn pictures to the posts. I just can’t afford to buy a camera, and my cell phone does not have the function.
So, until I discover some way to make photos, I’m afraid updates will be rather rare, as I can’t imagine a wall of text would be a pleasant way to spend Your precious minutes on. However, I still feel obliged to give you the customary Beltaine blessings, and hope You’ve had a glorious celebration. Mine was… well, there wasn’t any this year, but that’s not important right now. Neither is the strange thing I’ve come to think of as a “relationsheepish anti-agreement”, so I’m not going to mention it. See? No mention at all.
Anyway, (who said that?) there’s this little pest I want to write You about, and I don’t mean the guy. I mean the Red Spider Mite. It’s a very common pest that can be very dangerous to Your plants, as a friend of mine has recently discovered. Following my advice, he bought a small mint plant in a grocery store and potted it for kitchen use. The plant did not do well, the leaves yellowed and changes in watering regimen did not help. Of course, it was infected with the red spider mites.
Now I’m not generally in favour of interfering with the natural order of these things, but keeping plants in pots at home is already quite far away from what’s natural, and actually it is for this reason that the red spider mite is much more dangerous for Your indoor, potted plants than for those that grow outdoors. Besides, there’s not much point in letting Your herbs die, and that’s exactly what will happen if You don’t take action against the damn things. I’ve lost a lovely lavender bush to them once, and it was a gift from my mother, too…
The worst thing is that these insects (or, more specifically, arachnida) are unnoticeable at first glance, and chances are You’ll only start to suspect something once Your plants are very far gone. The mites are tiny, barely visible red specs and keep to the underside of the leaves, constantly draining the sap. If You’re not specifically looking for them, You’ll probably only notice the thin web they weave under the leaves or close to the stem, and by then it’s usually too late. They also migrate from one plant to others nearby, so they can really be a pest. What’s more, practically all fresh herbs I’ve bought in a grocery store had at least a few of them, probably because the manufacturers’ sell them shortly after growth and don’t care if they die after You’ve bought them (or actually hope for just that).
Ironically, once You know they’ve affected Your plant, the red spider mites are fought by the simple means of clean water. That’s right, no need for chemical stuff or complicated nettle and garlic macerates : just rinse the plant thoroughly under a cold shower (in extreme cases, You can use a sponge to wash it using water and soap, I’m not kidding), and then, spray the whole plant with clean water at least once a day. Just make sure You’ve not stopped too soon or the mites’ll breed back.
I’m writing all this now because I bought a second basil plant recently, after a prolonged inspection in the shop, since every plant was infected – finally I had to choose the one that had the least of them and fight the damn things at home. The salesman was very upset by this, probably on general principles since I wasn’t picking leaves or messing up the plants in any other way. When he finally cracked and asked me whether I “hoped to find a husband in there” (strange, I know) I said, “I don’t need a husband. And I don’t need tetranychus urticae, either.” Neither do Your home plants, so check up on them periodically, and blessed be.
Oh, and here’s the customary celebration music.