Sarah Stultz: There are pros and cons to every situation

Published 10:27 pm Monday, June 26, 2017

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I have been blessed this year to have a garden plot at the Brookside community gardens.

I have wanted one of those gardens since I moved to Albert Lea 10 1/2 years ago, as everything always appears to grow well there.

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Before this year, I had been at the Spark Avenue gardens, and last year I was at the community garden off of Margaretha. For a couple years, I also had a separate garden at the home of a dear friend from my church.

My backyard is too small to have a decent-sized garden, so when I heard about these community gardens, I was thrilled at the opportunity.

This year, I decided to see if some space was open at Brookside, which has always seemed like the ideal spot. To my delight, I was able to get two 20-by-20-foot plots to garden with my co-worker, Kelly.

The dirt is soft and rich, and there doesn’t seem to be the issue with animals at this site that we had trouble with at the Spark Avenue site. There, my husband and I would often find deer footprints in the dirt, and our plants would get chewed down to the ground.

In the garden this year, we have planted everything from tomatoes, green beans, peppers and cucumbers to broccoli, onions and potatoes, to name a few.

Everything has seemed to progress nicely — weeds included — until I arrived at the garden on Friday and found all sorts of little red bugs all over the potato plants — and I mean all over.

Not a huge fan of bugs in general, I helplessly did a quick search online and found out that yes, indeed, they were potato bugs, and if I didn’t take care of them quickly, they might ruin our chances at a good yield.

I drove over to a local gardening business, where I talked through what was happening, and I walked out of there with a dust to put all over the potato plants.

I got the dust sprinkled on the plants, and of course a couple hours later, it rained. As a side note: The rain and I haven’t gotten along very well this year. Every time I want to get out there — and have the time to get out there — it rains, and the garden turns into a muddy mess.

I went back Monday morning and sprinkled the dust all over the plants a second time. There still seemed to be many bugs remaining and only a little bit of the dust visible from the first time.

Has anyone else had these little critters before, and how did you get rid of them?

Though I still love these plots at Brookside, I found out they, too, have their faults. I guess it’s to be expected in gardening. Some years some vegetables do better than others. Some years there are problems with insects, and some years there aren’t.

As I’ve learned before in life, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday. She can be reached at