Thursday, August 7, 2008

Letter on da bugzez from da Momee to all da kitteez

Graphic by the Talented ML & KC

Hello every cat and their beans,

This Dr Tweety’s mommy. First of all, I want to thank all of you kitties and your typists. Your support means so much to me and to Tweet, and I’m not sure how we can repay you all except to say from-the-heart “Many Blessings.”

Some of you know that the doc’s blog has been on a summer hiatus while I try to make a go of what Tweet would call “ a itty bitty dream.” I’ve been studying the market for micro and baby greens for the last three years, work in the agricultural field, and had faith in my ability to market this niche’ organic product.

However, I also made some major mistakes. I forgot that in our hot NW Augusts, flea beetles love brassica plants. These include kale, kohlrabi, etc. And right smack dab in the middle of my mesclun seed mix, I had some lovely kale. I also neglected to put row covers (a kind of oversized fabric softener dryer sheet without the softener) over the flats. Once the beetles are there, laying their eggs, it’s too late.

I also don’t have a greenhouse, which is really what is called for to do this sort of small-scale production during buggier months. I’ve grown micros in the open for the past couple of years with no bug problems whatsoever, but usually in the spring, and well before flea beetle season. And of course, not for a demanding chef with a deadline.

A few of the experienced gardening cats that have stopped by suggested spraying soap oils and such. As an organic gardener, I have used approved insecticides and herbicides on more mature vegetables, but micros are so small and difficult to wash, that getting any residue of hot pepper or soap spray off of them would be just about impossible.

I think the worst thing in all of this is calling Chef Matt up and telling him that his micro green delivery is pretty much in the toilet. He took a big chance on me, since I went to him as a complete stranger; a 54-year old woman with her little typed-up-piece-of-a-veggie-menu. He asked me quite pointedly, “Can you do this?” I assured him that I could. Then I was faced with crummy weather and delayed sprouting, and four days before delivery (this coming Saturday) the evil “bugsez.)

It really wasn’t about the green papers. It was about my ability to make a dream really, REALLY happen. And maybe I did. Just not in the way I thought I would.

Thank you all. As time permits, I’ll try and help Tweet to make the rounds to thank all of you personally. Just know how much this support, from FRIENDS that we’ve never met, means.

Love to you all,
Maddie (Dr Tweety’s momee)


Daisy said...

I think something like this could happen to anybuddy. I hope it will not destroy your dream. Maybe you can just learn from the experience and try again? I hope so! I'm sure Chef Matt will understand. I sure wish there was something I could do to help.

Lux said...

I would never let go of that dream.

Your letter reminded me of my mom's friend, who's on the board of our local health food co-op. She started organic gardening on a small basis, but said this year she's doing much more. It's the getting started that's hard, I think.

Best wishes to you!!!

The Furry Kids said...

(((hugs))) and purrs to you.

Pixel said...

I am sorry this has happened , but think positive, you know what to do for next time...

Black Cat said...

Oh Maddie I'm so, so sorry! I've never heard of flea beetles but they certainly have voracious appetites. I wonder if they have any natural predators that are harmless to plants which you could introduce next growing season? Because you will try again...right? Right? Meanwhile get the dadee to build or buy you a greenhouse. xxx

Cheysuli and gemini said...

We also hope this does not destroy your dream. This has been a really tough year here in the PNW for growing things (even my zucchini isn't what it was in PDX and that's one thing that SHOULD be!) and I think people who love micro greens and know growing know that this kind of thing can happen. They are hopefully aware that this is a particularly tough year.

My human is actually going through some tough issues about an aspect of her offline business (no one has eaten it) but those really embarrassing, how can I do this if this happened kind of issues.


HotMBC said...

Don't let go of the dream. You have mistakes behind you and know how to fix them now. I went through several permutations of my own business before I got to one that worked for me. And however annoying the downs can be, that's now worked for years, even through my illness. So don't give up. Stick with the dream you want and just go at it again with rewnewed energy now that you've learned more.

PURRRRRRRRRRS from us kitties too! ~~the Hotties

HotMBC said...

PS. I don't think anyone in their right mind has their own home business for green papers. It's really all about the dream :)

Derby said...

It is good to have a dream! Keep trying.

Angus Mhor said...

Maddy, I am so sorry that those evil flea beetles invaded your garden. I know it was hard to go to the chef and tell him, and it was hard to see the whole crop fail. But, please, do try again. You learn and you learn and next season, you may be able to go to the chef, greens in hand, and proclaim success! I know it was a major investment of time and money, but no real dream should be slain by a flea beetle, should it? And next summer, Angus and I will be rootin' for ya again!

Skeeter, LC, and Ayla said...

Dr Tweety's Mommy - Hey we got The Big Thing ta talk about gardening!

TBT: If the crops are about done for the year, solarize your garden. Put clear plastic over it and let the sun's heat eliminate next years pests (mostly). 6 weeks ought to do just fine.

Then grow Fall crops of greens and lettuces and radishes.

The chef who expected good greens earlier will acknowledge your improvement if you bring him/her good stuff in 6 weeks.

Experienced "local food" chefs know that sometimes "failures happen", but should recognize that you are doing things better.

Best of luck!

BTW, you might try growing heirloom tomatoes. Those are always appreciated by chefs. I have found that Cherokee Purple grow unblemished around Maryland, the plants stay healthy, and the taste is quite complex.

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

Oh my goodness I am ever so sorry to hear about the nasty garden free loaders! How could they do this to you so soon before harvest!!!
This morning mommy went to see her prize sum and substance hosta and she found that someevil critter had neatly and surjically remover the big leaves at the base...there they were just laying over on their side like ready for a harvest!! Mommy cried over this too and nothing is growing well in the garden this year at all...except the beloved hostas...well, not any more!
Sending love and soft understanding hugs to you Maddies and to my dear Auntie Stinkie

Sunny's Mommy said...

You can always try again! I would not give up on your dream because this time bad things happened.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Yes, we know losing a dream can hurt even worse than losing green papers. But somewhere in all this might lurk a positive. Perhaps for this year, perhaps for next. But you have pursued your dream and that is what is most important. So don't give it up.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Don't let go of your set back, just one. We have no control over weather, bugs and assorted other wonders of nature but then again, nature has no control over our dreams.

The Meezers said...

MomMaddie - we are so sorry that this happened, but our mommy says that you deserve many many big big kudos and pats on the back for pushing forward and going for your dream. Please do not give up on your dream! If Chef Matt does not understand, there will be another, better chef out there willing to take a chance on you - and with everything you have learned from this time, you will surely be very successful next time.
{{{{HUGS}}}} and cheers to you MomMaddie!!!

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

OK! The mommy here has been thinking about you all weekend so far and come up with what she would do if this happened to her.
Go to Home Depot and by window screen in bulk! Then spread the screen over the greens supported by stakes in each corner. NO bad chompin beetle can get through the screen and it lets in sunlight and rain and never breaks! So there hope that helps a little as you bravely soldier on!
Sending much love Miss Peach

MoMo said...

We are so sorry to hear about the disaster. Don't give up your dream. It's only the beginning. Try again. We are no gardeners but you have all our moral support.

SS is back but she is down with bronchitis and we have no internet in the house until she is well enough to organise the wireless installation.

Purrs and hugs from us

Anonymous said...

Hi Maddie,

"Oh" I'm so mad at those evil bugs for making you sad(Hug).Yet dreams are good and you tried.Wish I could kick that bug's #**

Tesla said...

i lef yoo sumtin special here!

Celly-bratin life in Orry-gone