This evening I stayed out in the garden after the sun went down, with a crescent moon above. I was warm enough in the chilly weather with a cozy jacket, hat, and work gloves on; motivated to keep working with the knowledge that winter is fast approaching and that clearing needs to be done. Clearing involves pulling up plants and cutting them up for the compost bin; taking down the trellis and bamboo poles; emptying soil from containers, and so on.
I enjoyed being outdoors tonight. The temperature was nice and cool for working and there were no pesky mosquitoes. I was listening to music on my iPhone as I worked. A purist might wonder why I didn’t tune in to the sounds of nature, but it was a quiet night and my 21st century soul needed/wanted some music.
I decided to write a haiku for Ronovan’s Weekly Challenge, based on this evening’s activity, and stopped putting things away in the garage to type a few ideas into a notes app. The prompt words that I had to keep in mind are “Cheer” and “Call”.
On a crescent moon, winter calls, gardener clears,
Winter calls, gardener clears, calmed in music’s cheer.
For full challenge details and links to other responses, please visit Ronovan Writes
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Grid.”
The photo challenge this week is to post one or more photos featuring images of grids. I have chosen four images. The first provides the strongest grid impact with a diagonal grid pattern in the foreground. The second, features a less dramatic diagonal grid effect. The final pair of photos provides views of my vegetable garden in summer and fall through a green-coloured trellis netting, creating a rectangular grid pattern.
Cave Seen Through a Fence
July View of Vegetable Garden Through Pea Trellis Netting
This July photo inspired me to take a second through-the-trellis shot today. Notice the differences between the July and September views. In July, pea vines are in the foreground on the trellis; and behind, the bean vines climb the bamboo teepee, and the yellow calendula flowers bloom on the right. In the September view, there is nothing growing on the trellis and behind, dill flower heads are browning, the bean plants are well-weathered, calendula seed heads are drying, and there are an abundance of orange marigolds.
September 18 View of Vegetable Garden Through Trellis Netting
To see more photographs featuring grid patterns, please follow the link provided in the first line of this post.
This is my vegetable garden’s 5th year–just as I thought I was catching on–mother nature supplied a new set of weather conditions. Every year I have tried to get seeds and transplants into the ground earlier, but this year I held back due to cold nights extending into June. I am not a great weather historian and don’t keep daily notes, but after the cold I recall a long wet spell followed by full force heat. And now, after a stretch of unusual coolness, we are in the middle of hot, foggy, humidity.
Fortunately I grow for only two people. So although the amount of some crops, such as zucchini and cucumber, was under average, I have supplies in the refrigerator and have made a few batches of both sweet and savoury zucchini breads, with probably more to come. I don’t do preserves so there is no disappointment there–I was thinking of exploring community donations, but that won’t happen this year.
The garden started to mature by late mid-August. The pictures I show below were all taken after the 20th; probably half were snapped on the 31st.
The bell peppers plants were more leafy than usual this year and a bit nibbled by the baby grasshoppers–which by the way, have multiplied and matured, and are currently hopping and flying all over the place. It’s the year of the grasshopper. These peppers can ripen into red peppers, but it may take a while. I harvested a nice collection last year, but I am not sure I will this year. If a green pepper shows any signs of ‘age’ or potential decay, I harvest it; I already have quite a few in the fridge.
The milkweed are maturing:
I planted two winter squash plants and only one good size squash has survived to date. Let’s hope I harvest it at the optimum moment. This one is on a vine that snuck in with the cherry tomato plants. I’m glad I let it roam.
On August 31, I discovered two renegade zucchini. No matter how closely I keep watch, they sometimes escape my notice and explode in size. The biggest one of the two late bloomers below, was 14 inches long and weighed 3.25 pounds.
Hidden Zucchini Before Harvest
Hidden Zucchini on Display after Harvest
As plants start to dry out and stop producing, new shoots and flowers continue to appear– makes me think of how even in physical old age we can blossom and show signs of youth and creativity. The flower below is on an ‘ancient’ bean plant.
Yellow dill flower heads brown and produce seeds that may be harvested or left to scatter in the wind. Dill plants can grow quite tall. This year they averaged 5′ with the tallest one soaring to just under 6′.
Coriander’s small white flowers become green seed balls, which mature to a brown color. The leaves harvested before this plant flowers are known as ‘cilantro’. I regret that the green balls are not in sharp focus–I tried.
Fortunately I am the only member of my household who can eat raw tomatoes–so the low crop of ripe cherry tomatoes is not a tragedy. The peak was on August 24 when I harvested 91. The picture below was taken a few days before the ‘peak’. If we have some warm sunny days in September, I may find more of these golden fruits.
This week the WordPress weekly photo challenge invited us to photograph a stationary subject from different angles, for example from above, from below, from the left and from the right. As I browsed my camera shots I realized that, though I often take multiple photos of a subject, my variations are usually subtle–aiming to display a variety of angles was to be an interesting exercise.
This evening I went out back and took some pictures of maturing wild ‘corn’ stalks and thistles–unfortunately I wasn’t very pleased with the results. I sauntered over to the vegetable garden to do my daily look around and selective watering. While there, I realized that a particular patch of French Marigolds has become quite bushy. As I have been harvesting vegetables and removing their remnants for the compost bin, the Marigolds have been blazing strong. Here are a few shots taken from different angles:
French marigolds — Tagetes Patula
Why Marigolds in a Vegetable Garden?
French marigolds, the flowers shown in my gallery, are thought to be the most effective kind of marigold for a vegetable garden. (Hawthorn Farm seed packet and SFGate Homeguide.)
Marigolds add colour and beauty to a vegetable garden, and have other roles as well. They are planted as helpful companions to attract beneficial hoverflies and repel pests. For example, it is thought that marigolds repel cabbage worms from cruciferous crops and that their root secretions kill harmful nematodes (microscopic root worms). For their nematode killing properties they are often planted near tomato plants.
Yesterday and the day before I took new pictures of a grasshopper on my green pepper plants. At first glance I thought (or wanted to believe) that it was the same fellow (or gal?) that I had featured in my post called “Getting Closer with Mesh” . Today I have put together a new photo collection featuring first, the new pictures and then, the older ones for you to compare. Click on the arrow on the right to move to the next image.
I need your help. The recent pics show a creature who ‘feels’ like the first one, but who is actually richer in colour and maybe smaller, but that is hard to tell. Is it the same visitor? I peer over my plants regularly and have never seen more than one grasshopper at a time. Apparently their colour can deepen with age so is it the same one?
Should I be worried? My reading (quick skimming) about grasshoppers refers to grasshopper destruction of greenery, yet grasshoppers are not listed as common pepper adversaries. In fact, they may eat ‘dangerous’ bugs.
Yet the pictures show eaten leaves…I feel reluctant to knock it off the plants as there is no evidence of voracious destruction, and it has been such an accommodating photo subject. That green moth caterpillar I featured the other day ate much more overnight. Nevertheless, if you think I’m crazy for letting it hang out, please let me know!
The other day I discovered a grasshopper on a pepper leaf–at least I think it’s a grasshopper. Since ‘he’ was so handsome, I whipped out my iPhone and took a shot. He didn’t jump away so I leaned in a little closer and ‘clicked’ again. He didn’t move! How cooperative–hopefully not too scared to move. The final two shots, from in front and behind, were probably as close as I could get without being out of focus. When I learned of the new Mesh app on the Daily Post I decided to make this gallery. Click on the arrow on the right side to scroll through the pictures…getting closer.
Over the last days of July I collected pictures of what is going on in my vegetable and herb garden:
The most recent shot, in the top left corner, gives an overview. You can see:
a teepee bearing Fortex green beans.The lower left collage picture gives a closer look at bean plants withcalendula flowers in the foreground. If you look closely, you will be able to see beans hanging between the leaves, well camouflaged;
the apparently empty bamboo teepee in front is for Marketmorecucumber plants, not visible in this shot, but shown in the collage photo at top right;
at front right of overview photo, a zucchini plant with huge floppy leaves (CostataRomanesco); yellow dill umbrellas tower behind;
at front left there are purple-blue borage plants and nearby, yellow-flowered calendula;
Sugar Daddy Snap Pea vines, growing on the trellis at the right, were finishing this week with final offerings.
the bottom right collage picture shows a yellow cherry tomato plant (Blondkopfchen) leaning against a spiral support. There are chive plants to the left.
In the collection of 10 photos below, travelling from top to bottom of each column, starting from the left: winter squash plants (no flowers yet), a bowl of green beans, a tiny baby cucumber in the foreground, sorrel plant, spinach and swiss chard, red onions, baby green peppers, baby and mature basil plants, zucchinis very ready to harvest, and cherry tomatoes.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Close Up.”
A couple of weeks ago I noticed debris on spinach leaves in the garden, and that huge bites had been taken out of some of them. It was the next day that I discovered this fellow:
I removed him from the garden and have been on the lookout for others, but have found none–the chomping has stopped.
This evening I tried to identify the worm/caterpillar, but discovered two things: first, that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different types of green worms and second, that I find looking at caterpillar pictures vaguely nauseating. Anyone who has thoughts as to the identity of this rascal, please comment.
This morning I posted Borage’s Star Flowers Attract Bees. Then I went out into the garden to pick peas and lettuce. While I was there I was able to get this shot of a full borage plant to add to the previous post’s gallery of flowers and leaves. Getting a full uncluttered shot hasn’t been easy — this is the best so far.