I feel like I’m doing this backward.

Victor: I don’t even know why I’m asking this but why are you cutting up pantyhose?

me: Remember a few weeks ago when I was having sex with my cantaloupe plant?

Victor: Yep, and I just remembered why I don’t ask questions.

me: Well, it totally worked and now I’m a mother!

Victor: I think technically you’d be a father, but yeah, I know. You show me pictures of your cantaloupe every day.

me: This is the new me. Four months of not leaving the house. I’ve become that woman who takes beauty shots of her single cantaloupe.

Victor: Still not sure where the pantyhose comes in.

me: Well, last night that fat raccoon was in the backyard-

Victor: The one you tried to pick up because you thought it was a stray cat.

me: It was dark. Hailey thought it was a cat too. IT WASN’T JUST ME.

Victor: *sigh*

me: Anyway, I read that sometimes raccoons will cut a hole in your canteloupes and scoop out all the meat so I’m wrapping it up with panty hose. Raccoons hate pantyhose. Probably.

Victor: Huh.

me: It feels weird though…putting lingerie on the plant I already impregnated.

Victor: Yeah. It’s…weird.

me: I mean, the order. Not the pantyhose. That’s pretty brilliant, I think.

Victor: *silence*

me: Also, I saw these tiny webs on the leaves and the internet says that means it’s probably aphids so I just ordered 2,000 live ladybugs.

Victor: What.

me: Because ladybugs eat aphids like crazy.

Victor: The same ladybugs that fly away immediately? Those are what you bought?

Me: Yes, BUT apparently if you put them in the fridge when they come in they get cold and lazy and that way when I release them they hang around longer. So don’t open any bags in the fridge unless you know for sure it isn’t bugs.

Victor: *internally weeping probably*

me: Also, I bought a tiny house for ladybugs to live in. So that’s good.

Victor: This is going to be the most expensive cantaloupe anyone has ever grown.

me: Which is why I have to wrap it in pantyhose so the raccoon doesn’t get it. You get me now?

Victor: Not even a little.

133 thoughts on “I feel like I’m doing this backward.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. We were having trouble with raccoons eating our tomatoes. I did some checking, and found that setting out bowls of apple cider vinegar is supposed to keep them away – they don’t like the smell. I have lots of vinegar in my yard now, and I’m getting ripe tomatoes staying on the vine, so I think it’s working. It’s humane and gentle, which is a plus.

  2. The most hilarious cantaloupe growing journey ever documented! And Victor’s endless patience is so endearing! Sending gratitude, as your humor improves my day so much!

  3. Oh my. How can Victor still be questioning your (his interpretation) weird ways. Putting pantyhose and picking up raccoons who look A LOT LIKE CATS IN THE DARK are completely regular actions, especially after being contained in a single context for four months.

    You’re doing great. I’m also having communication issues with my other half who is trapped in this apartment with me.

    I wish we had raccoon cats outside which we probably do but they’re definitely likely meth addicts as we don’t live in a nice place within a mixed bag city.

    And… as I’m scraping my way from month to month trying to make a dent (aka rent money), here is a recent blog post about not going crazy during isolation:

    https://epileptaste.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/remembering-winter-and-my-smashed-broken-robot-friend/

  4. I bought live ladybugs once. Out of the 2000 or so that were in the box, probably only 50 of them stuck around. Still, it was really fun to set them free. Hope you enjoy your new bug babies!

  5. So I, too, grow cantaloupe. And yes, raccoons will eat it. But in my experience, they wait until it’s ripe. So make sure you pick it when the stem starts to wither and it starts to smell fragrant. It’s when you think to yourself, “Just one more day,” that those little trash pandas strike.

  6. I am emotionally invested in this cantaloupe’s journey. Also, I vaguely remember reading something about designer melons being very popular in Japan. Your melon is dabbling in avant garde fashion (the pantyhose) AND performance art (ladybugs- side note, you need a camera in your kitchen in the event he forgets and opens the bag in the fridge) SO- you are appreciating Victor’s interest in Japanese culture by having a super designer one of a kind melon and he is incredibly lucky.

  7. My husband also grows cantaloupes, and carrots. He gets lots of carrots, but only maybe 2 or 3 cataloupes for all his effort. He also pollinates them like you do. He uses pantyhose to keep them suspended so that when they get bigger, they don’t fall off their stems and bruise when they hit the ground.

  8. Before you release the ladybugs, spray the plants with water (so they can drink it), and release them just as the sun is going down. They won’t fly in the dark, so they will at least hang overnight and eat your aphids. They will fly away after they have eaten all of them and go looking for a new good source. Even if they don’t stay a long time, it’s awesome seeing them all and getting to release them.

  9. Hi there, a note from your friendly neighborhood entomologist here. 🙂

    The veins in the leaves (like the one you can see in the photos in this post) are from leaf mining insects, not aphids. Aphids are piercing/sucking insects, so the damage they create will look more like this http://extension.missouri.edu/Melon/PestDiagnosis/DiagnosePest

    Info Sheet on aphids from Uni of FL: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/aphid/melon_aphid.htm

    Hopefully the ladybugs you ordered are native and are not carrying other diseases they can spread to the ladybug species already living in your backyard.

    Anyways the leaf miner you have is probably a fly of some sort: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/leafminer-vegetables

    This might provide some info on good management of your leaf miner problem: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r116300911.html

    Good luck! 🙂

  10. Got it – the most expensive cantaloupe ever. Someday remind me to tell you about the most expensive bar of homemade soap. Ever. (And this was totally without the influence of raccoons or ladybugs.)

  11. the best agriculture story yet! Enjoy that melon……………………….

  12. Then you have to decide what COLOR pantyhose to buy… do you go with nude? tan? something with a pattern? Definitely skip fishnets.

  13. Today is my birthday and I can’t imagine a better gift than getting this in my email today. Thank you!

  14. Our last experience with cantaloupes: Cross-pollination with the cucumbers. Yep – cukaloupes. They were interesting to look at but not very tasty.

  15. i gotta try this with my watermelons this year! last year something ate all my little watermelons and i didnt get a single freaking one. i was so mad.

  16. The two tomatoes I happened to actually grow were the most expensive tomatoes in history. And I don’t eat tomatoes.

  17. I use cut up pantyhose for tying mini cantaloupe to their vine stake. Tell victor that you have it from the highest authority that you’re not wrong 🙂

  18. Leave a pbj sandwich and a bowl of water out for the coin and it won’t have to bother molesting your plant baby.

  19. As a kid I used to rip the wings off ladybugs so they wouldn’t fly away. It’s really easy to do. Just spread each shell off to the side and the wing is there. Don’t tell anyone I told you about this.

  20. Lady bugs will not fly away immediately if you actually have aphids. Speaking from experience here. They will lay eggs and the baby lady bugs are the ones that will really eat the aphids. I got a bag of lady bugs and they lasted a couple years before all disappearing. Just make sure you don’t get an invasive species for your area and they will be great.

  21. I’m pretty impressed with the fashion sense of the racoons–that they would be so offended by pantyhose that they will literally stalk off in a rage.

  22. having the same problem with Raccoons and my strawberry plants, I grow them they eat them… I don’t think pantyhose will help!

  23. Make sure to water your garden before releasing the lady bugs so they have something to drink when you release them and release them in the evening as the sun is setting. I read they don’t fly at night so they hang around in your garden longer, destroying those aphids. They’re really effective against cabbage blister beetles too.

  24. The ladybugs will linger if they have food to eat and LET ME TELL YOU they will come RUSHING OUT OF THE CONTAINER LIKE AN ADORABLE ONSLAUGHT OF BITTY RED AND BLACK ZOMBIES so just be prepared!

  25. We always had ladybugs in the fridge growing up. I knew they were for the garden, but I never questioned why they lived in the fridge….strangely. Now I know why my Dad kept them there. Thanks! Knowledge.

  26. So some years ago my cousin was surprised by a deliveryman at the door with a crate of bees. Her husband had sort of vaguely mentioned maybe taking up beekeeping, but never actually confirmed that the bees, they were a’comin’. At least you WARNED Victor.

  27. All I can say is AWESOME! Love you. Thanks for for that. Ooops, I guess that is technically 3 things. <3

  28. I’ve bought ladybugs for my roses. Never had issues with aphids. And it’s wonderful watching all those cheerful bugs ripping the heads off the aphids.

  29. Maybe it’s some sort of pantyhose envy. Like they don’t have the hips for it.

  30. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 that entire conversation was like an snl skit for ‘sexy English gardening

  31. Hi hi, leaf miner up top (theyre a fly larvae), possible “rust” (the orangey leaf spots), and if youre seeing tiny webs that might be spider mite. Aphids are often found on underside of leaves and will leave little white skins. 🙂 good luck! Your canteloupe is such a pretty baby!

  32. Hope you don’t mind, but I have started calling your cantaloupe “CantaLupe Velez”. Because it needs a name.

  33. Ladybugs totally worked for my family! You can buy live Praying Mantis too for whatever it is they do good for your garden.

  34. Well you just taught me something, I had no idea you could buy ladybugs or put them in the fridge 🤔 Thanks for this post.

  35. Stick a couple moth balls in the pantyhose. They don’t like that smell either. It seems like a good plan to me.

  36. The racoons ate one of my watermelon and all my squash 🙁 My husband bought and installed an electric fence, so he wouldn’t hear me crying about not getting my watermelon. He also tested the fence. Once he picked himself up off the ground, he swore the racoons would not be eating any more watermelon. Girl, do what you gotta do to keep that melon safe!

  37. After the towel debate = giant metal chicken Beyoncé, I’m surprised he ever questions your methodology.

  38. We had raccoons eating our cantaloupes. They drill a perfect circle and scoop out all the melon, leaving just an empty husk.

  39. When I had kids around the house, every year I would buy ladybugs and turn them loose in the house. The kids loved it.

  40. Wow, now you’ll be forever known to me as the Lady of Immaculate Cantaloupe Conception, though I guess technically did get a little dirty. But how cool is that you now have a melon baby. And of course you will protect it will all means necessary.

  41. You are my kind of person. All of that makes perfect sense to me. Enjoy your cantaloupe, but will you be able to bear cutting it up and eating it after all the nurturing?!

  42. Also supposedly if you release the ladybugs at night, less of them leave bc they don’t like traveling at night.
    Good luck!

  43. I love the idea of the pantyhose, pure brilliance! Enjoy your baby, it’s a beautiful cantaloupe. Everything you said makes perfect sense to me.

  44. If the ladybugs don’t work,I find spraying the leaves with watered downed neem oil does the trick. It’s a natural insecticide but won’t harm helpful critters like ladybugs or butterflies (so long as you aren’t spraying a heavy concentration). I think it also has anti-fungal properties, but I could be wrong.

  45. I absolutely adore you 💛 and I understand you even if Victor doesn’t 😂

  46. Raccoons, birds and squirrels eat every single fig on my giant, beautiful fig tree every year before we get to taste one ripe fig! Too hard to put panty hose on each of those figs I guess. The tree is very tall. I welcome any suggestions that are viable.

  47. I just finished your book Furiously Happy. I left a review on Goodreads. I, too suffer from depression and a Chronic pain issue. During this crazy pandemic, you made me LOL. Thank you. You are amazing, funny, gifted and I love you. Not in some creepy stalker way, but in a you made me laugh and I am very grateful way

  48. My coworker and I were talking about ladybugs and he said they eat aphids but I heard infants so I asked “infant what?” I imagine the look he gave me was similar to the look Victor gave you when he asked about the pantyhose. Classic stuff.

  49. Ladybugs- water everything down, then set them out at night. More will explore and find food by the time it’s light out again.

    If I’d been able to buy cartons of ladybugs as a kid, it’s where all my money would have gone.

  50. After the ladybug adventure you need to order caterpillars online! It has nothing to do with gardening or cantaloupes, and trying to put tiny pantyhose on a caterpillar sounds like a nightmare, but bugs made me think of it. The company sends the caterpillars and you raise them until they make their cocoons. Then you get to watch the butterflies emerge! We did this with my 2 year old class a few years ago and it was a huge success. The parents and a lot of the other teachers got really into it too. We had a big celebration when we released the butterflies. 🐛🦋

  51. In addition to ladybugs, aphids are not fans of isopropyl alcohol. Following advice from a gardening expert, I did target application with a Q-tip soaked in alcohol. The aphids are gone and within a day the milkweed was looking healthier.

  52. This sounds a lot like the conversations my husband and I have about me feeding wild birds. And gardening. He recently asked me why I had a metal strainer out front. I told him I was protecting my baby lily sprouts (the damn bulb cost $15) from the dang wildlife in our yard. I eventually found an old metal hanging planter to put over it and it seems to work, but I’ve now ordered several wire baskets. Plus I just bought a huge thing of waste-free bird seed. I think he’s given up. Good luck with the panty hose, but you might try a wire basket, lol.

  53. No backseams on the stockings?! Pah! This must be why the aphids swarmed in. :-/ ( /sarcasm ) 😀

  54. I don’t know whether this was more valuable from a humor or learning perspective. Either way, great stuff. I had no idea that ladybugs became lazy when refrigerated. This is my new fun fact for the day (or perhaps week). And the visual of you putting lingerie on a cantaloupe was a plus! LOL

  55. Just because you’ve already gotten there with your melons doesn’t mean you can’t still put a little effort in, Jenny. Lingerie is a nice touch. (PS: I snort-laughed during a work zoom call reading this one today: you and Victor have the BEST conversations. Thanks for that!!)

  56. We put pantyhose on our roof during the winter. We get dripping from our upper roof to the lower one. This causes huge chunks of ice to form that can lead to water getting into the house. (Waking up to water dripping in your bedroom is not fun. Believe me.) So I fill cheap pantyhose with salt and place them on the roof to melt the ice.

    Who knew pantyhose were so useful?

  57. I’m just waiting for the photo of the raccoons wearing pantyhose like a scarf.
    I used to own a cat who would catch crickets and cicadas and dragonflies and put them in the claw foot tub in the bathroom so they couldn’t escape up it’s slippery sides and then she would play with them until she got bored and ate them. She never chased birds, and was an occasional mouse, but she LOVED bugs. The noise they made echoing off the bathroom fixtures was really tremendous in the middle of the night.
    To keep raccoons away from your garden bait a hav-a-heart live trap with a rabbit//guinea pig water bottle attached so they don’t get dehydrated, cover it with a tarp so it doesn’t get the direct sun on it and bait it with store bought melons cut up or strawberries. Check it in the morning and midday and evening for your prize. Then transport it to your favorite woods or park and release it back to the wild. Make sure you don’t touch the cage without heavy duty gloves to avoid bites/scratches/saliva (rabies.)
    And don’t do this in the spring while they might still have babies who can’t fend for themselves.

  58. Comment #39, Susanne
    So I saw the most genius way of protecting strawberries from birds. So I hope this helps you.

    Paint several strawberry sized rocks bright red, then when your plant starts flowering, place the strawberry rocks around your plant so that birds think “oooh fruit!!” but when they get close they find out that they’re rocks. THEN, by the time your strawberries actually appear (and are red and juicy and ready to eat) the birds just think they’re rocks too and won’t mess with them. Now of course you can’t leave the rocks out all the time, so once you’re out of strawberry season you need to gather them back up for the following year, cuz the birds will figure out your trick, but it’s so simple.

    Just thought I’d share!

  59. Cassie, I LOVE this idea… And here was I, come to impart a far less diabolical though amusing and foolproof solution to critters who venture where we wish them not.

    (CUE FANFARE) “Motion and heat activated water sprinklers.” Use that term when searching online. Extra joy for watching videos thereof.

    Personal experience, here.

  60. Fun thing: if you take a sharp point…like a knife point…and scratch a word or name into the zucchini or pumpkin, a it grows, that little scratch becomes a bigger word. Someone scratched me name in a tiny pumpkin once and when they gave it to me it said “Diane” in really big letters. I loved it. Happy gardening!

  61. It’s like “The $64 Tomato,” by William Alexander, but with more impregnation and ladybugs. Probably.

  62. Hello Dear Jenny – I have found a wonderful animal “deterrent” (against deer, raccoons, etc.). It is Lady P. (“P” stands for, well, a “P” with two “e’s” after it. (Trying to keep this rated PG – oops, that “P” again!). Just put some in a little cup or jar, leave it near your precious baby, and it should be good. Except for the aphids. Lady P doesn’t work against aphids. (Man P is of no use at all in this circumstance…). Good luck!

  63. I’ve bought the ladybugs before. It’s true, they sleep when cold in your fridge. Also true: they fly away when released, lots are dead, and for those who have a son (me), they are not welcome in the house for the indoor plants.

  64. Gonna have to amend my comment above: my son was the one who told me that the ladybugs are not welcome in the house. I proved him wrong, and I loved them.

  65. I’d totally understand if I didn’t hate cantaloupes. My top most hated food, in fact. 🙂

  66. I understand. I’m currently fighting white fly and rust. Gardening in Florida in July is an exercise in frustration. Especially since I can buy squash and green beans at the store much cheaper than growing them. Still, there’s something to be said for eating your own homegrown, organic food. By the way, I’m using bright green (Because that’s what I could find.) tulle to support my eggplants and it looks so festive.

  67. Jenny, if the ladybugs don’t work or are too slow, try dish soap. Put a tablespoon of liquid dish soap into a quart of water and give a spritz to any aphid clusters you see. It totally works too. I had aphids ALL up in my corn tassels. After soaping them down, the aphids were completely gone the next day.

  68. I so love you in major ways! Your mind is just amazing! I am proud to be a follower and friend!

  69. @JeAn98: My father swore by your advice for keeping deer away from his weed plants back in the day. Every time he went to check on his patch, he’d whip it out and whiz all around them. He also liked to hang up really strongly scented soap on a rope from the plants as the branches grew stronger, so the human-related stank would stay thick. Those babies grew up fine, strong, and tasty, good old school sungrown NoCal green buds, nomnomnom….

    But, I digress; suffice to say, this suggestion has merit.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

    P.S. @NotKlingonRed; I likes the cuts of yer jibs, Toots.

  70. I’ve heard if you release the ladybugs at night they tend to stay around. Also praying mantis love aphids. And it’s cool to watch about a hundred of them hatch at the same time. They might eat the ladybugs though, so maybe not. Unless you like starting an all out insect war.

  71. pantyhose aren’t just for preventing critters and bugs. Melons (and some squash) are heavy, and if the vine finds something to crawl *up* instead of just creeping along the ground, eventually the weight of said melon will break the stalk its growing on and youll still lose it early, so make it a nice pantyhose basket.

  72. @Cassie #91 A similar suggestion for tomatoes…hang red and green christmas ornaments on the cages.
    Which…i need to put out. Um.

  73. I did the strawberry rocks this year after seeing the idea online. I had my doubts whether it would work because while there are lots of crafty blog entries about how cute they are, there’s not much to be found about their efficacy. I’m leaning toward “probably helped” because I don’t think I lost too many strawberries to critters and I did find several of the painted rocks scattered around the garden like they had been investigated.

  74. I wish I had red this sooner, soak some tobacco in water and then spray the water on the plant. The nicotine will drive the off but not kill the plants.

  75. Excellent idea to preserve ornamental plants #120 OcularNervosa. Perhaps not for food crops, though, just in case any gets on or in the food.
    DISCLAIMER: I don’t actually know what I am talking about.

  76. I thought the purpose of suspending the melons in pantyhose is to keep them up off the ground the hose has to be tied to a trellis or stake .

  77. If one day they ask you to speak at your daughter’s graduation ceremony, I think one of the pearls of wisdom you should impart to the graduating class is “Don’t open any bags in the fridge unless you know for sure it isn’t bugs.”

  78. I’m crazy behind on my blog feed reader, but… I have a book recommendation for you. Check out The $64 Tomato. It’s like your cantaloupe saga, only with tomatoes.

  79. Oh, Victor. You asked…Jenny surely doesn’t want to leave you in ignorance.
    Thank you for loving Jenny and her glorious quirks!

  80. Possibly besides the point….an currently Impregnating cantaloupe for the first time. Have raccoons. Did the pantyhose work?!

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