The buckwheat we sowed in the field garden and two other smaller plots as a green manure crop was apparently too old and did not germinate. At all. Anywhere. Duh, why didn't I think to test the seeds for germination? We're going to replant barley, some seeds of which I have undergoing testing as we speak.
I did harvest the first of our radishes earlier this week. The first two I sampled after bringing them inside for cleaning were hot, hot, hot. I assumed they would all be that way because they grew so slowly. Funny thing, after I had stored them in water in the refrigerator and then served at a meal later in the day, not one had that same unpleasant flavor. Did the chilling cause the biting "hotness" to disappear?
Lettuces are still too small to harvest, but I do have some baby spinach leaves I can now use for salads. And baby Swiss chard is nearly big enough, too. Hooray for the first crunchy greens of the year.
Much was accomplished in the garden yesterday but not without me unwillingly donating blood to the still present, and abundant, black flies.
I started by donning a long sleeve shirt, head net, gloves and bug repellent but they found the plackets of my shirt sleeves and dove in for the
Black flies draw blood to the surface when they bite and I had traces of it coming through my shirt. Somehow several also got under the head net and I got a bite on my hairline in front, outer corner of my right eye, cheek and crook of my ear right where the bow of my (close work) glasses hits.
I came inside and took some Apis and slathered on calamine lotion both of which sometimes help with the prolonged swelling and itching I get. Changed my outfit to the total bug shirt which I tied tightly around my hips and wrists. This outfit resulted in only two of the little black devils finding their way to my skin.
I realize people who don't attract biting insects like I do can't relate to the agony it causes me. That's my excuse for the terrible grouch I was for most of the day yesterday. Good thing not many souls were exposed to the spread of my very bad vibrations.
Why don't I just stay inside until the bugs disappear? I told Papa Pea yesterday that if the bugs were this bad every year, I would seriously contemplate not gardening. (Whoa, did I actually say that?!) As it is, those of you who do garden know you either take advantage of any time you have to keep up with thinning, replanting, transplanting, harvesting and weeding in a timely manner or your gardening efforts will be for naught in short order.
On the upside, the less than pleasant time spent outside these days is balanced (well, almost) by the progress made and the wonderful warm shower, clean clothes and inside bug-less atmosphere when I come in for the day.
And sometime soon, the life span (and reproduction cycle) of the black flies will be over. Please tell me it will happen. And make it happen soon, please.
P.S. For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar with black flies, here's a picture for you.
This morning I ran (literally) out to the garden to crack open the cold frames (without protective clothing on -- dummy) and was attacked by the biting black devils. When I came back in, this one was caught in my hair. He did not live to bite another day.