Ramblings of a Grower: 2

Hi everyone, me again. Today I want to write a bit about spiders. I can tell you that I have been absolutely terrified of spiders since I was little. Hate em do not want them, respect them- yes, but hate them. For the most part they are creepy and ugly and hairy and just gross. But like I said, I do respect them, they eat a lot of even worse bugs, and they build cool homes for themselves. Being scared of spiders is really difficult when you work with plants. If you have ever done any sort of gardening or greenhouse work you know that spiders are inevitable when working around plants. So how do I do it?

Well, I have been slowly conditioning myself for while. Emphasis on slowly. Instead of panicking when there is a spider in the shower, I respect its space and just keep a very wary eye on it, praying it doesn’t move. In college there was a massive spider that built a web on the outside of the sliding back door to my apartment. Once I realized it was on the outside and that it probably couldn’t kill me from there, I got real close to it. I started to observe it. See what it really looked like versus just the general shape of 8 legs and creepy. Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t still squeal and run and make my boyfriend kill a spider that’s two inches away from me climbing towards me on the wall. But I slowly am starting to understand and appreciate them.

In the greenhouse, I have two main types of spiders I see. The first one damn near killed me my first week. I was cleaning out the nutrient tanks, kneeling on the ground beside them, and all of the sudden there was movement beneath me. A gigantic wolf spider had charged up at me. I flew backwards, nearly broke my ankle doing so, cried like the little girl I am, and tried to calm my heart rate back down from the 300bpm it was then at. I was also once charged by a wolf spider when I was vacuuming the floor in here. Apparently I must have disturbed her in her slumbers because she ran straight at the vacuum with no fear in her tiny spider heart. Now for those of you who are not familiar with wolf spiders, they are terrifying. They are very large, very aggressive hunters, and to make things worse, their eyes glow in the dark like cats do. So you can imagine, I was a bit discouraged after these encounters. Did you know that they will carry their eggs on their backs? And when they hatch they carry the babies on their backs. Unholy I know. But I did some reading on them, and apparently these are some of the best spiders to have in your greenhouse. They are phenomenal hunters, something you need in a place that is basically a haven for pest insects. So while they are indeed terrifying, I do leave them alone, on the rare occasion I actually manage to spot them. I saved ones life once too. I was refilling the nutrient tanks and one managed to fall in and she couldn’t climb out. So, trembling in fear, I stuck the hose head towards her, she climbed on, didn’t immediately charge up the wand at me thank goodness, and hopped off once I had her away from the tank. So now I like to think there is a truce between us, which is why I have not seen any recently.

Now, the other type of spider is much less of an unholy hunter. The other spider is jumping spiders. Now I know, its literally called a jumping spider, which can only mean disaster. But hear me out. These spiders are adorable. They could just barely cover a nickel. They have bright green fangs and cute little patterns on their bodies. They are also quite timid, they often squinch up and back up a bit when you startle them. I am also told they will do tiny dances when they are trying to mate which is just adorable. They have big shiny eyes and honestly they are just cute. But apparently these are also great spiders to have! They are not quite as lethal as the wolves, but they certainly do their part in keeping bug numbers down.

So, the spiders stay, and each day I get a bit better with my arachnophobia. I do still curse them out when I inevitably walk through at least three spider webs each day. But I have come to appreciate them, respect them, and enjoy seeing them. So if you are scared of spiders like me, take some time to learn a bit about them, and look up cute pictures of jumping spiders, it will be worth it.

Now I am going to get back to harvesting, but first I need to get the ladybug who has been trying to climb into my computer back onto the plants where she belongs.

PS ladybugs are the best and apparently I knew this as a kid because I always used to try and catch them and then I would name them all Bob, because that’s what you do when you’re a kid.