Friday, 23 November 2012

It's in the bag

I picked up the tiny eggplant that had fallen from the bush.  Hmm, mustn't be watering enough.  So every time I got the hose out or the grey water bucket from the dishes I'd make sure it had enough to drink.  I pruned off the old and scraggly branches so the little plant could put it's energy into new growth and wouldn't sag under the weight of presumptuously large fruit.

The eggplant responded to my extra care by putting on new flowers and leaves.  Flowers turned to fruit and I admit I was counting chickens before the eggs had hatched for just as one was getting to a size where I could snavel it for a sneaky afternoon grill session the fruit developed rotten patches.  Thinking it must have been the recent rainfall and humidity, I cut off the fruit and threw it to the chooks.  When the next one suffered the same fate I had to think again.  Three strikes and I realised then that I had been in denial.  The culprit was obvious: fruit fly.

Cutting of the next fruit that had early signs of being stung I resolved to combat this insect that was robbing me of my chances of enjoying home grown eggplant.  However, caught up with other projects I let the next fruit develop, telling myself that it was hidden from the view of millions of segmented fruit fly eyes in the long grass that was encroaching on the plant.  Whether this was true remains to be seen.

It was hot today - too hot to be out digging much more than a single row to plant a few seeds.  This meant it was time for an indoor project.  It was then that I remembered my long suffering eggplant peering tentatively out between the blades of grass.  It was decided: fruit fly exclusion bags would be my task for today.  I had some spare undyed muslin in the cupboard so I whipped out my sewing machine and set about making a few simple drawstring bags of ambitiously large proportions to fit my soon to be giant specimens of eggplant.  Luckily I even had some leery-coloured yarn lying around to repel the fruit flies even more.

Channelling my inner bag-lady I continued the trend once the cool afternoon breeze had started and finally (with some manly ladder-climbing help) got the banana bunches bagged before the bats decided to munch on them.  

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