Sunday, May 31, 2009

My black fly garden

I dug a small garden bed, where an old garden used to be beside the house. Unfortunately, that garden hasn't been used in over twenty years and in the meantime surrounding trees have grown up to shade it. There is a better location in front of the house, but the sod is so thick there that I would need a rototiller to break it up, and I don't have one. Also there are piles of garbage there from tearing out the old greenhouse and reroofing the front of the house a couple of years ago. I've thought of putting stuff in planters but that's getting expensive. As it is I've spent a fair bit on transplants. My eyes bigger than my stomach, or something.

Digging the garden bed was a real pain. I have come to the conclusion that black flies, when they are not flying, live in the soil. So when you dig it up they swarm all over you in biting clouds. I tried using a net over my head but they got in under the net and bit my neck and face. They like the eyes. The morning after my first day of digging I woke up with one eye swollen shut due to all the black fly bites. These flies aren't as bad as some I've known though, the bites itch but not as bad as they could.

I dug the garden bed up in narrow strips that I cut into small blocks and turned over. I took frequent breaks to get away from the flies and went down the driveway to carry in some firewood, a couple of pieces at a time. Not that I needed the firewood, but just to get a break from the flies. After fifteen minutes or so they'd disappear and I'd get a minute or two of fly-free digging in.

Once the bed was all dug up I added four bags of sheep manure to it. It's a very small garden, roughly 8 ft by 4 ft. The bed is ready to plant now I think. But it gets so little sun that I wonder what use it will be. We shall see.

In this photo the garden is almost all dug. In the background is the plywood-covered hole for the permanent outhouse; when I have nothing better to do I will start working on that.


Barbara Anne said...

Ouch and ick! Wonder what can be done to cause the black flies to vacate the vicinity or what critter (duck, chicken, frog?) would enjoy eating them?

Hope the area gets enough sunshine to make this a producing garden. Yum!


Zabetha said...

Well, black flies are a fact of life here, and bringing in new critters is problematic, for one thing I'm not here in the winter to care for them!