Let’s Start Gardening #10- The Invasion

“If this tiny cicada can make such a huge noise by its tiny wings, what’s your excuse not to trust in your abilities” – Manu Kalathil

I’ve had to adjust the way I garden for many reasons. I can only garden for an hour a day without my back feeling like I’m being stabbed with daggers. I can only garden in the morning or late afternoon to beat the heat. I can also only garden with a goal in mind or I will be there all day lost in its beauty. All that changed when the cicadas arrived.

If you have never seen a cicada, well lucky you. I live in Southern Ohio and this year we had the cicada apocalypse. Apparently every seventeen years the Brood X cicada crawls out of its home to mate. I’m not going to give you a life lesson on cicadas because as always you can Google it. I’m going to tell you how this tiny creature halted my gardening.

First cicadas are loud. They basically scream all day trying to find a mate so they can reproduce and then die. So picture this. You look outside your window and you see what looks like hundreds of giant bees flying around. Only these giant bees have red glaring eyes and they won’t stop screaming. Mentally you know you need to go outside to the garden, but if you hate insects like me you just stand at the window. News reports have explained they “are less active” at dawn and dusk so you think I got this. Dusk and dawn gardening it is.

You wait to hear less screeching and figure it’s ok to leave the safety of your home. You quickly learn what “less active means”. You learn it means there are fifty cicadas flying around instead of one hundred. All the cicadas did not get the less active memo. What you also learn is they are waiting for something to “mate” with. Sometimes they believe that is you, so they decide to land on you.

At this point I feel I need to clarify. Cicadas do not bite. They do not attack, and they don’t realize you are not mate worthy. They also don’t harm the garden in any way because they don’t eat veggies. They just get freak me out. What makes you appear mate worthy is if you working with anything that makes noise you attract them. Lawnmowers, hedge clippers, edgers, and even screeching water hoses. I was holding the screeching water hose. Also to clarify I didn’t get ambushed by fifty cicadas. One flew on me and I flipped out and ran back in the house. Ok back to you.

Now you need a new tactic because your old one didn’t work. This new tactic is to decide to put yellow sticky traps in the garden to attract and trap the cicadas. They won’t come after you, they will just stick to the yellow traps. Oh the joy. This tactic worked marvelously. The problem with this tactic is now you have sticky sheets with ten plus cicadas attached and that’s freaking you out more than the cicadas.

Last and final tactic. Garden as fast as you possibly can. This is the winner right here. You turn on your water hose and spray the garden quickly. No base watering here. You are also mad that you didn’t finish putting in the irrigation system. Next you run and harvest anything that needs to come in quickly. Things like cabbage, lettuce, onions, and some potatoes make the cut. You’ve done it.

You go back in and see the spoils of your victory and you believe you’ve won. That’s until someone points out you have a cicada on your back. DAMMIT! You must admit the cicada as well as every living thing in nature is much better than you. Until tomorrow my friend, until tomorrow.

My garden suffered a little and I lost a few plants. I had succumbed to this realization when I heard the cicadas were coming. The only saving grace for me in this whole cicada apocalypse is knowing I won’t have to worry about them for another seventeen years.

If you haven’t figured it out this is my story. I only had one cicada land on me during my quest but it was stressful enough that for two weeks I gardened like speed lightening. I was able to get a lot of items from the garden but watering, pruning, and fertilizing went out the window. If I couldn’t get it in fifteen minutes I didn’t need it.

The only saving grace in the adventure is cicadas won’t be back for another seventeen years. My two weeks of sprinting was not as bad as others. I saw stories of people’s entire yards covered. I’ve heard about people who planned their vacation around the invasion so they didn’t have to leave the house. This bug got the best of a lot of people. I’m just glad it over for now.

Here are a few things that I managed to grab while sprinting.

Russian Fingerling Potatoes and Green Onions
Early Jersey and Katrina Cabbage
Mixed Varieties of Collard Greens, Peas, and four Berries

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