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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Almost Summer

Of course I didn't get everything out that I wanted to; however, we are coming down to the wire.  Mid-to End of June is the last possible planting from seed for plants that will take 120 days to mature.  Means pumpkins and winter squash and sweet potatoes.  Not as many planted out as I could have, but with names like Rogue vif d'Estampes and Musque de Provence, I had to plant out at least a few pumpkin seeds.  These are my little Rogues.  The largest leaves are about the size of my hand.  Eventually, they should have leaves the size of a dinner plate or larger.  Planted too close together, of course, and I don't have the heart to thin.  I should know that in this climate I should get near 100% germination, and I know to space them further apart... knowing and executing are different, though... The clippings are from my wildly overgrown Sweet Marjoram, spread around the base of the pumpkins in hopes that it confuses the senses of that arch nemesis, the Squash Vine Borer.  There is also a tiny Lemon Balm tucked in there for the same purpose - and because I just love Lemon Balm.  I even love the Latin name, melissa officinalis.  

Rogue vif d'Estampes with melissa officinales

My Musques were planted on June 5th and broke ground on June 9th, right after the rains, just as expected.  I know the gardening is easier if I can time things to work with Mother Nature, but that doesn't always happen.  Luckily, last Saturday, I was able to put out some more seeds in anticipating of the drenching rains and slightly cooler temps (in the 80's F instead of 90's F).  The Musques, zuchhini, and Waltham Butternut Squash that I planted are all up and out of the ground.

Something I did plant out early enough, were peppers.  And while most still only have tiny little nubbins of peppers on them along with bountiful blooms, a few have some nice looking specimens.  I believe this is a Texas A&M (TAM) Jalapeño.  The canopy of the plant really does shade and protect the peppers - for the sake of the photograph, I am holding the upper leaves away from the fruit.

Texas A&M Jalapeño Peppers

 Did I mention rain?  And heat?  And humidity?  The Summer Crops are loving it.  So is the free mulch that I've been able to gather from the city.  These delicate sliver-gray mushrooms are barely and inch tall on slender stalks.  They bloom in clusters of 2 to 50 in the wood mulch on the overnight after a rain.  By mid morning, they are starting to fade, like the one on the right.  By the time the late morning sun touches them, they are gone, only to reappear after the next storm.

My "rainy day" mushrooms

Other wild things to delight the senses are these roses.  Simple, sweet, and growing with abandon everywhere, if we let them.  I am sure that they will happily and easily fill the whole garden and pasture given even 1/10th of a chance.  I give them the fence line by the house.  That's probably too much.  But I am gullible and taken in by their simple beauty.  Still, thank goodness for a husband with a riding lawn mower...

Wild Roses - thorny and invasive, but too sweet to totally eradicate

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Early June

I never see these little butterflies until I water. And everywhere I water down the mulch, they arrive by 10s and 20s and more, to extract water from the wood chips. They drink from droplets, but more commonly, they unfurl their slender proboscis and send it deep into the mulch.  Ten minutes later, they have all disappeared.  I think they are a type of Hairstreak butterfly.  Worms in my beans and peas - possibly caterpillars for these tiny beauties.

Tiny butterflies flock to the freshly moistened mulch to sip water.
Clary Sage: Blue Monday and Pink Sunday. They are fresh and pretty in the warm sun of late Spring. They will not look so good after the heat of a July Summer Sun. They are both open pollinated. I wonder if they cross-pollinated, and if so, will I see their progeny?  I have enough seed to grow this again next year.  The pink and purple bracts are not the actual flowers.  The actual flowers are small and barely noticeable.  Bumblebees loved these.


 I love the garden this time of year.   Everything is new and fresh, and the possibilities are still endless.  The days are warm, but the nights remain mild, with mornings sunny but still with a cool light breeze.  The torrential rains and hot, humid days of Summer have not yet arrived.  And the weeds have not yet rallied and taken over.

This year was a year of trials - I planted a lot of varieties, but not much of anything.  See what survived and thrived, and what limped and wimped out. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Little Critters

Had fun with my Camera stalking some little creatures.  More can be found on my Facebook Photography page, along with other photos of our property.

Soldier Beetle - One of the "Good Guys"

Same Soldier Beetle - on Cilantro Bloom

Less than 1" long Grasshopper on Tomato Leaf

1/4" long Grasshopper on the edge of a Pepper leaf.
Pollinator on a Snow Pea Flower