Monday, October 29, 2012

The Butterfly Moon

As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is making landfall in New Jersey, which seems to be an unusually northern location for a hurricane. It's also worse because of it being on the full moon, making high tide even higher. Take care up there!

Here in Texas, it's finally feeling like fall. We haven't had a frost here in San Marcos yet, but further out in places like Johnson City and Fredricksburg it's at least been getting close. The plants out in the garden that are not freeze-tolerant are running out of time. By next full moon, we will probably have had our first freeze.

And yes, I have been seeing the migrating monarch butterflies, along with lots of snout butterflies, and some others. Lots of migrating animals, not just butterflies, but bats and birds also ride the cold fronts this time of year to get to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America.

Most of the peppers are doing a good job putting on a second crop before frost. Too bad I can't say as much about the tomatoes. They have a few blooms but that's about it.

Speaking of blooms, I gave up on trying to save basil seed this time because I just couldn't keep up with pinching off the blossoms to prevent the basil I wanted to save from cross-pollinating with other varieties. Every time I got out there, there are more blossoms, and more bees mixing pollen all around.

The luffa gourds now have several fruits the size of large cucumbers. Problem is most of them are way up in the tree. Not sure how I'll get them down.
Most of the garlic seems to be sprouted by now, mixed in with all those rain lilies. The garlic appears to be lighter in color than the lilies, but the only way to tell for sure is by smell.

Fall crops like the arugula are also doing well, and almost big enough to start harvesting from.

The beets are mostly doing well too, though some varieties are germinating better than others, Bull's Blood being the worst. I seem to have this problem with Baker Creek's seeds fairly often. I'll buy several different varieties of seeds from them, and one or two will have really low germination. I wonder if they don't store them under very good conditions or something.

The Red Giant mustard is also doing well. It's turned out to be purple on the top of the leaves and green underneath. It's going better than my other Brassicas, but all of them are getting eaten up by caterpillars. I'm not sure if I'll spray them with Bt or wait for a freeze to take care of the bugs for me.

So that's how things are doing in the garden now. I love this time of year!

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