I’m beginning to wonder if my war against aphids isn’t analogous to the war on drugs, or terror: not a known, finite enemy, but a concept, which casts a wide net with sticky edges. I’ve coated the lime tree in soapy water, scraped larvae from pepper leaves with my bare fingers, and nearly murdered my kale with a sulfuric spray from an organic gardening supplier that, in retrospect, was almost certainly a front for a head shop. I’ve enlisted nature’s mercenaries: black ants helped out in the tomato patch and once on the lime tree, and I’m convinced my eggplant only survived because of the single golden ladybug that spent a month living on its leaves. Yet the aphids keep coming. Do my attacks incite them? Do they lay eggs murmuring to their children of revenge? Can I get my money back from that stoner who sold me the spray that scarred every single one of my sweet peppers? Alas, this is war, and some questions are doomed to remain unanswered.

I’m still getting a crop, though. The first eggplant is ready to harvest, and at least two are on the way. I had sweet peas already; the carrots are looking good and the cucumbers, bless them, are trying hard. I’ve got basil, oregano, and rosemary. The tomatoes have gone nuts: I’ll have two dozen cherry tomatoes at least, and there are three big green heirloom beefsteak tomatoes filling out by the day. My new sweet potatoes vines could guard Sleeping Beauty’s tower. The jalapeno hasn’t put out flowers quite yet, but I’m optimistic. After all the poor kale’s been through, if I get a single leaf I’ll be shocked.

My neighbor’s vegetation is blowing mine out of the water. I am completely put to shame.

Most thrillingly, my lime tree has remembered itself and has two tiny limes swelling into actual fruit. HECK YEAH. Last time, they got to the size of SuperBalls and I, thinking they would grow into actual limes, nearly let them die on the vine. Now, I figure they’re either Key limes or just weak from the Pennsylvania weather, so when they get to SuperBall size, I don’t care how ripe they are, I am eating those suckers. I don’t know how. I’ll deal with that when the times comes. Limes = in my mouth. Somehow.

I’ve also obtained a kumquat seedling from my father, who grew it from a kumquat he ate. NO FAMILY RESEMBLANCE AT ALL, I’M SURE. It looks healthy, but dormant. I’ve got to transplant it and give it a big ol’ dose of TLC. And by TLC, I mean Miracle Gro.

It’s almost August (eep!) so the harvest, friends and neighbors, is upon us. Anyone else get anything out of their gardens? Or are you (like me) unleashing arsenals both holy and unholy just trying to keep everything alive?

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