This is the time of year when I both regret having a garden and marvel at the bounty my garden produces. It is the time of year in which the things I planted in the winter are dying off and the things I planted in the spring are saying “hello” to the many, many evil insects that are hungry and live in my backyard.

Insects, like all other living things, are supposed to follow a pattern of life and death. Some insects skip the “death” part of that equation. Those insects are the ones who have taken up in my garden.

This is not my first rodeo. I have had a garden of one sort or another for about the last 20 years and I’ve had a lot of success growing herbs and a few different vegetables. My current garden is, if I do say so myself, pretty cool in a “is is lawnmower broken?” sort of way. (Yes, it is).

For most of those years I did not have a garden so much as a place where insects that enjoy organic vegetables could dine a la carte. I am not proud of the hours I spent trying to pull inchworms off of my tomatoes, but in my defense, I am an idiot where it comes to tomatoes and inchworms.

Ten years or so ago I realized that the best way to garden in New Orleans is to figure out what grows well here and encourage those things to grow. I’ve grown a lot of mosquitos and a lot of chile peppers and, now and then, a variety of bean that I don’t remember planting but which produces tons of pods which must be shelled to get the beans which must thereafter be shelled again to get to the edible bit. The edible bit is delicious when you get to it before the aphids.

I feel that it’s important to have a holistic garden in which the natural balance of life is expressed. Aphids eat my beans and ladybugs eat the aphids. Something eats the ladybugs and it looks to me like it’s the aphids. Watching it play out reminds me of a National Geographic film except it’s about aphids and ladybugs instead of lions and antelopes and the antelopes eat the lions. Then I spray the antelopes with “neem” oil but that only makes them mad.

One day I will discover the perfect mix of plants for my garden. I will not try to grow things that I have been unable to successfully grow in years past. I will focus on things that I like to eat and I will try to keep my garden relatively free of weeds.

Then all will be well, and I will sleep soundly and all night.

(*There was no study)