Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Firefly Moon

This summer hasn't been too bad so far. We haven't quite hit 100 yet, and have gotten a few good rains. Yesterday we got about 0.75". It's also been really humid lately, which the plants like, since it means they don't dry out as much. However, for creatures that rely on sweating to thermoregulate (like me) it's not as nice.

My front garden is next to a hedge of various native plants, and a pair of mockingbirds nest there every year. I got a shot of one perched on one of the wire cages. They used to attack me, but I think they've gotten used to me by now.

The biggest news is that my sweet potatoes are planted. I planted slips from Molokai Purple, Dianne, and Carolina Nugget from roots from last year, along with three new varieties from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange: Violetta, O'Henry, and Sweetie Pie.

I put cages around them because I know deer love sweet potato leaves.

I've started harvesting tomatillos and am saving them up until I have enough to make a big batch of salsa verde. They're not doing as well as I had hoped, and I only have six plants, so I might only be able to make one batch.

I've also started harvesting my first tomatoes: Riesentraube. They're like a large "grape tomato" and are doing really well.

The Beck's Gardenville okra is starting to make pods, but they're not quite big enough to pick yet.

The Charentais melons are trailing out of their beds into the grass. No fruits yet, but the plants seem healthy.

The eggplants have lovely purple flowers, but still no eggplants yet. I'm looking forward to having some grilled eggplant this summer, so I wish they'd hurry.

In the back, the cucumbers are starting to climb their trellis.

The Tatume squash and Black Futsu squash are both growing long vines and male flowers, but no female flowers or fruits yet.

The Chinese Red Noodle long beans are doing great! This is a plant I've been wanting to try for a while, and I'm impressed! Not only are the very long dark red beans cool looking, but the plant has beautiful lavender flowers. This plant would be worth growing just for ornamental value. Pretty soon it will be time to start picking beans. Traditionally they are stir-fried, but I heard they're also good grilled, tied into pretzel-like knots first.

Here are the Calico lima beans reaching for the sky. They've got lots of green pods just forming.

The Rattlesnake beans are also doing great. Right after I'm done with this post, I need to pick a bunch of them. I think the bean inoculant I used on all my legumes this year must have made a difference.

All the lovely summer vegetables might just make the heat and humidity worth it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

What Happened to My Parsley Worms

My husband started to get concerned when my dill was eaten down to a nub, so he moved a lot of the parsley worms to the parsley where they'd have more food. They didn't like it, of course. When you disturb a parsley worm, they have these little orange "tentacles" that come out of their heads and secrete some kind of foul-smelling defense chemical.

However, one had already turned into this:

Since the move, the worms have been "disappearing". I hope they haven't gotten eaten or something, and instead have also been reaching the pupa stage. The pupae camouflage so well, I'm going to be optimistic and assume they're in there somewhere about to turn into swallowtail butterflies.