Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Good Life

Got some work work done early and was able to hit the garden before the temps hit 90. Yeah, that's not a typo. We've had some upper 80 temps recently. Morning garden chores included weeding, hoeing and planting corn & beans. The tomatoes are almost done being planted. I have 4 cages left and some small plants to tuck in them. I will dedicate an entire garden row (1 of 5) to just tomatoes.

Row 4 planting completed
Potatoes, Eggplant, Beans & Corn

1st row: Royal Burgundy
2nd row: Yellow Wax
2 rows of Indian Berries Popcorn
I don't usually grow corn, but I do like popcorn
so I'm giving this a go. Row 4.

Peppers planted and protected
Row 5
A mix of peppers & chilies
with cardboard collars to protect them from
emerging weeds (smartweed). Planning on 
sweet potatoes after the peppers. 

My latest pole bean trellis (dumpster diving gem).
After the pole beans are 2 Elite Zucchini (plants purchased
as my seed didn't germinate) and
the cucumbers (starting in packs) will go
where the fencing is after the squash. Row 2.
Garden Critters
Carpenter Bee

Native Praying Mantis Eggcases

Tortoise bug on chickweed 

Spittle Bug
on Sea Oats

The heat made me harvest the bulk of the lettuce.
It's just starting to get milky (bitter). 
"New" Bromeliad holders

Found the skull mushroom hunting this spring.

Center & Corner Collections

Funnel of Sedums
More sedums and random wild violets

In Bloom
Ohio Spiderwort
 Serviceberries are getting gobbled by
Robins and at least 3 Catbirds
 Blue Star

Not in or from the Garden, but cool nonetheless
Kiddo saw this Giant Water Bug hurrying across the Home Depot parking lot the other day. Apparently, they are attracted to light, but where or where did this thing come from? There isn't water nearby, unless they can be found in ditches. We brought it home and released it. Not sure if it made it (they do play dead). They are also called Toe Biters, because they have been known to do that and after they pinch (their prey) then also inject them with digestive enzyme that makes them into soup and they suck the guts out. Lovely, eh?

Enjoy this Good Life.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve Big Burn

Volunteers and state staff burned approximately 75 acres on Saturday March 18th. It was a slow burn, but overall a good one.
Starting at the SE corner of the burn unit
 Along the N border

 Where the two fires met in the middle
of the N border

We saw a Barred Owl flush from the area, as well as a Red Bat. I found a Blackberry Seed Gall for the first time. From "Naturally Curious with Mary Holland" I learned, "Galls, abnormal plants growths caused by many agents including insects, are formed during the growing season on the buds, leaves, roots and branches of plants as a response to chemicals or physical irritation. These galls serve as shelters and a source of food for their inhabitants. Blackberry is host to numerous gall-making insects, including mites, midges and gall wasps, and their temporary homes (galls) are more obvious now that Blackberries have lost their leaves. The Blackberry Seed Gall is caused by a cynipid gall wasp, Diastrophus cuscutaeformis. This wasp gets its species name from the resemblance of the galls it forms to the fruit of Dodder or Cuscuta, a parasitic plant. A cluster of small, globular, seed-like galls within which the gall wasp larvae live are pressed together in a lump surrounding the cane. Each of these 1/10th-inch diameter chambers bears a spine, and together they create a reddish-brown hairy mass."
 Blackberry Seed Gall (Above)
Warty Leaf Beetle (below) mimic caterpillar poop
 One of the many kinds of True Bugs I saw that day.

I saw this plant frequently and while it looked familiar I couldn't place it. Eventually I found the answer and the basal leaves (1st year of growth) are very different looking from the upper growth (year 2), which maybe threw me off. This is a common native species, Stickseed, Hackelia virginiana.

Done with Fire Season for Spring 2017
Wish I could have burned my prairie, but 
the weather wasn't in favor. The plants greened up
early with the warmer than average (record warmth) January/February.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Winter-Spring Break

It was spring. And then it was winter. And today spring is back. 

Hey, look! It's Spring!
(Before spring break)
 Hey, look! It's winter. 
(During "spring break")
 Just shoot me.
I guess I will recover. 

What's going on with the natives
Clove Currant
 Scarlet Honeysuckle
 Jacob's Ladder

Under lights
Celery & Caraway
 yarrow, blanketflower, coneflower, daisies
 perpetual chard
 March 2: mater seedlings up
This season I've been using an NK biodegradable
10-packs to start a lot of seedlings in. I've found them 
at Rural King and Dollar General. 50 cells for $3.
I originally got them because I thought it would be the easiest
solution to planting perennials in the hellstrip beds and then
decided to use them for the tomatoes as well. 

About the Yawd
East border hedge

 I liked this one. Yellow as yolk.
 I also like the cyclamen types- they are 
like shooting stars and especially nice
when they bob in the wind.
 More cyclamen types
 A peach blossom I suspect didn't make it through
the freeze. 
Three new beds for 2017:

 Good Lawd! That one hurts.
 Kitchen garden raised beds
 Purple Sweet Potato starts

Foodie stuff
Crispy Cauliflower Tostadas
 Falafel and Sweet Potato Kibbeh
Faux Chicken Noodle Soup

Side notes:
What baby Oyster Mushrooms look like:
From a kit

Critter closing
Tess, Beatrix & Urey
patiently wait for the return of spring