no poison necessary
Remember all those fire ants eating the okra flower?
That looked pretty bad. I could have freaked out and suspected I’d lose all the okra to pests. That seems to be the fear that’s behind modern pesticides’ seek-&-destroy capabilities. I could even have tried some organic bioinsecticide to get rid of them.
Well, except for the fact that I’m committed to not killing things in the garden. I’m trying to re-establish a balanced insect population in my little postage stamp’s worth of earth. This is a totally unrealistic goal, of course, when the whole world is spraying like there’s no tomorrow — and if we keep killing off the bees, there may eventually be no tomorrow for the human species.
I just think we could learn to feed ourselves without resorting to indiscriminate killing and polluting our groundwater and soil and air. Call me crazy. (This guy basically did just that. And that interview is not pg-13, just for your information. It did make me laugh, however.)
But I digress.
The thing is, we have quite a few okra plants. Probably around 9 or 10. And that’s more than enough for the two of us. Plus, I was willing to sacrifice some okra, if necessary, to keep my garden a safe place for birds, bees, and all the creatures who visit and make it so joyful.
So I just waited and watched. A few stray ants appeared on two other okra stems, crawled up to the very top, scouted around, and crawled back down. In spite of finding blossoms and tender pods, no fire ants came back to attack those plants.
As for the plant I’d photographed, within a few days, most of the flower was gone. Then the ants left. Then the rains washed away the bedraggled remains of the flower.
All that was left was this baby okra pod. And a fire ant who’d died up there on the ledge and been left behind.
Am I going to eat this pod raw?
Yes. Probably before noon.
Am I going to wash it?
Nope. No matter how many fire ants walked on its fuzzy surface, it’s still a heck of a lot cleaner than anything in the grocery store. Even the organic produce cannot come close. And as a plus, it’s never been refrigerated or touched by plastic.
I’m going to stand out there barefoot — after carefully checking the path for fire ant hills — and eat it under the blue sky.
(Of course, I am going to brush off the dead ant first.)
Hope y’all have something wonderful like that to look forward to today.