If this year was the year of mastering weeding and watering, next year (and I have a feeling every year from here on in) will be about dealing with pests. My spring kale harvest was my proudest achievement in 2015. This is what the fall kale looks like….


kale eaten by bugs


Some of the peas and beet tops have also been eaten before they had a chance. The problem is exasperated when I’m traveling and can’t keep a daily eye on things, so next year I’m going to have to figure out a solution.

Some bugs however, are extremely helpful in the garden. When I was younger, I hated spiders, and I mean HATED. My father had a greenhouse which he once left me in charge of for a week. I had no idea it would be full of spiders. It took me 30 minutes each day to pluck up the courage to enter this hell hole, and when I did I was armed with a can of hairspray, (an awful way to kill a spider). After the week it was a miracle any of his plants survived. It was a miracle I did too.

When I moved to Tennessee something happened. Who knows what but my arachnophobia disappeared. I’m proud to say I can now put a glass over a spider (including the wolf spider I once found in my living room) and safely move it out of my house.

This year my tomato kingdom was visited by a garden spider, also know as the writing spider. He hung around for a few weeks and the number of pests causing trouble with my tomatoes was virtually zero. One day he was gone. He might have found a new home amongst the blackberries, or maybe it was a different spider, but I was thankful he’s been on guard. Learn to love your spiders.


Garden spider 2015