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Gardens, Critters and Clouds

May 22nd, 2008

Isn’t it strange how fast everything grows?!  A little rain and warm weather and we find ourselves in a jungle.   Lots of activity these days, especially working hard to get the garden finished up.  This is the first year we’ve had plants in the ground by late April and early May.  The tomatoes were a little nipped by a late frost, but are coming back.  And this year we put up a green fence and posts for peas and beans to climb. Hopefully.  And corn!  I’ve always wanted corn but avoided growing it since it’s so big and kind of messy.  This year with grocery prices we figured what the heck, and planted a bunch all over.  

Garden in May

It doesn’t look like much, but this is about half of the garden.  It’s small as country gardens go, and the rows are only about 20-25 feet long.  But the rows are perpendicular to the sloping hillside that leads to the pond.  This way the water doesn’t race across and wash everything out.  I’ve planted a few surprises around the corners this year, so we’ll see what happens. Now I’m wondering, if we’re trying to keep the bunnies out, why do we have that cute little bunny sign?!

I think the raccoons are going to be regular visitors.  Otherwise let’s see… we’re trying to grow cucumbers, a dozen tomato plants, eggplant, zuchini, watermelon, peppers and beets.  I’ve wanted beets the past two years and they simply would not grow… or the tops were chewed off by something.  They’re supposed to be the easiest things to grow!  Oh, and we even cut a bunch of potatoes in half and stuck ’em in the ground.  They’re already up and growing like weeds.  Now if we can keep it watered and relatively weed free, and the little bunny critters away, then maybe we’ll have a chance at a veggie harvest!

By the way, ever see one of these critters before in the picture below?  That little hanging down thingy on the cedar tree is a Bagworm moth cocoon.  The female bagworms crawls up a tree, preferably an evergreen of some kind, and picks apart the needles to make a nice little house.  Then they crawl to a nice cozy place to spend the winter and when spring comes they hang out waiting for the male bagworm moth, who actually flys around.  They two of them do their thing together and then all kinds of little bagworms crawl out over the whole dang tree.  Since the needles are green when the little bagworms make their cocoons they are hard to see at first. 

Bagworm cocoon

It would be kind of neat except they practically denude the whole thing!  They can really damage and even kill a tree or shrub, so they have to be controlled.  We didn’t pay close enough attention last year and had small spruce trees and juniper bushes that were covered in them.  We literally pulled several hundred bagworms off the plants filling up two milk jugs and then disposed of them. I don’t like spraying chemicals, but I had to treat the pine trees to make sure they survived.

If you notice the worms before they make the little bag cocoons you can just spray them directly.  This year I haven’t seen many yet, but when I do I tug the cocoon off the branch.  Oh, and if you just throw it on the ground, the little worm will poke its head out and crawl back up a tree!  Nature is pretty amazing sometimes, but I’m not very fond of these guys.  Once they’re in that tough little cocoon they’re like indestructable superbugs. 

This morning on the way to the bus the young one said “Daddy look! The clouds look like the ocean!”  That was a pretty good observation.   They looked like storm clouds at sea, ominous and rolling quickly through the sky as a front passes.  It rained briefly this morning, but not as much as you would think from the picture.  That was okay by me. But then it poured and poured. 

Storm clouds rolling by

One Response to “Gardens, Critters and Clouds”

  1. Ed Abbeyon 23 May 2008 at 8:03 am

    My parents had two evergreen shrubs killed last year by bagworms, the first I’d ever heard or seen of them. I’m sure they will certainly take more notice of them this year.

    Awesome cloud picture!

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