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Adventures of an accidental gardener: living cleaner, greener, and closer to the ground
I understand that we backyard gardeners face new threats, such as wild animals that forage in our gardens harboring new and/or more potent strains of viruses and bacteria. Still, your reaction to the broccoli worms was a little over the top! Such squeamishness doesn't help figure out what is safe or unsafe related to our food. Maybe that was your point. The worms always occur on broccoli, and parasitic wasps keep them under control. No need for pesticides if you have those wasps. The worms were cooked. Probably they would have added some protein to the dish, but I admit to my cultural bias against eating insects. But I'd certainly have removed them (had any made it as far as my cooking pot) and eaten that good broccoli! The most dangerous aspect of my backyard garden so far has been from ticks that drop off of urban deer as they tromp through the yard at night. I had to take a course of antibiotic to prevent Lyme disease. I was lucky--I saw the bulls-eye rash at the bite. After that I used an animal repellent from my local garden store, and one good spraying caused them to alter their foraging route. Using insect repellent on myself is another good precaution. Home gardeners also need to keep their tentanus immunizations up to date (every 10 years). Greengranny at joyce@greengranny.org
@greengranny Thanks for your entirely correct feedback! I absolutely overreacted, and as a gardener who uses no pesticides at all, I accept that I'm going to deal with whatever creatures have the good fortune (for them) to land in my garden beds. My point, really, was that I should have used better food safety practices at home--not washing produce, even when it's coming from my own sheltered little garden, is foolish. As to Lyme, I also live in a tick infested area; I'm lucky that my vegetable garden is in a section of my yard that deers don't frequent (the smell of my dogs, who are all over the yard, I believe deters them) but I see mice there all the time, and as I'm sure you know, mice are the greater vector for the tick. I usually use insect repellent only when I'm going in tall grass or woods, and have been lucky so far, but you're right to remind gardeners to be vigilant: I have many friends who have gotten Lyme via a gardening visit from a tick. I didn't know about the tetanus immunization for gardeners, though I do try to keep mine current anyway. What's the tetanus danger? Thanks so much for reading, and please keep adding your two cents!