Archive for October, 2007

Iceberg Lettuce?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

No, actually, it’s part of our Buttercrunch lettuce crop covered with frost.

They are “none the worse for wear”. I made a salad for lunch later that day. The frost really improved the flavor.

Bib Lettuce with frost

The same was true for our other varieties of lettuce; leaf,romaine and real iceberg.

Bob

Salamander

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

A little while back, during the last warm day we had, I found this guy as I was moving potted plants… a Red Back Salamander.

Red Back Salamander

This is the type  that can lose its tail when caught by a predator, then grow another one back.  He was only 3 or 4 inches long.

I didn’t try to see if it would work, I just took his picture and let him go back home into the woods nearby.

Bob

Fall Bulb Planting Season is Here

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

A couple of days ago our spring bulb order arrived.

These are the flower bulbs that bloom in the spring, so they must be planted now, in the fall. Planting them in the spring will not work, because they need a cold period in order to flower. Besides, you can’t buy them in the spring anyway.

Our order this year consists of mostly Tulips, Daffodils, and Grape Hyacinths with a few other bulbs tossed in for good measure.

This year we are planting only 10,000 bulbs (10,460 to be exact). We have planted as many as 20,000 and as few as 7,500.

I understand not everyone goes to this extreme. Even a couple of dozen can be used to create an effect. However, as you can tell, I believe that when it comes to bulbs, more is better!

This is what a pallet load of 10,000 bulbs looks like:

Pallet Load of Spring Flowering Bulbs

How does one or two gardeners plant 10,000 bulbs in one season? Check back in later to All Things Green and I will post some photos and more details.

I can hardly wait to start planting!

In the meantime, we need to put them into the cooler for safe keeping.

Bob

Visitors in the Greenhouse

Monday, October 15th, 2007

It seems that as soon as the weather turns a little cool, everyone wants to come into the greenhouse.

Chipmunk in live trap.

I believe we may have caught a pair of chipmunks, male and female . The male first, then the female on the second day.

I know they are cute but they can cause some real havoc in a greenhouse.

They like to tear open my seed packets, then bury the seeds all over the place in random pots throughout the greenhouse.

They also run up and squeak at me like they own the place.

Well, now they have to adjust to their new home…three miles away!

Bob

Annual Plant Migration

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

It’s supposed to get colder later this week. That means its time to start moving in some of the potted plants we intend to over-winter.

Some of those plants that can be seen here include (from left to right):

Valencia orange tree, Hibiscus, Brugmansia, Asparagus Fern (barely visible), Bird of Paradise (on cart), Colocasia (Elephant Ears) and Olive Tree.

Moving potted plants

Most of the plants I’m moving today can be over-wintered in someone’s house. Some of them would need special conditions such as a bright, sunny, south window; for example the Orange tree, Brugmansia, Hibiscus and Olive. By the way, the Hibiscus and Brugmansia can both be pruned back to fit the space you have in your house… that’s what I’m planning to do.

The Asparagus Fern and Bird-of-Paradise would probably do fine in average light.

Colacasia does fine under somewhat lower light conditions, however, if you don’t have the room, you can simply store the tuber (root) like a sweet potato in a cool but not freezing dark spot.

There are still plenty more plants out here to move into the greenhouse!

Bob

Garden Update Since the Last Post

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

First of all, its been about a week since my last post, my apologies. Our computer had broken down and we just got back on line.

I’d like to report that the lettuce looks like it doing great as you can see here:

Fall lettuce cropHowever, during the time we were off line, an enemy had invaded the garden. It was an aerial attack! Hundreds of small white butterflies were gracefully flitting about the garden. It was so lovely…

I knew what they were as soon as I saw them. They were the adults of the Cabbage Looper. One of those species of green caterpillars that chew holes in cabbage and other related plants such as broccoli or cauliflower.

I thought we were pretty much done with Cabbage loopers for the season. We still have some broccoli out but our main crop has already been cut and eaten, so I wasn’t worried very much about that. The cabbage is fully grown and will be harvested this week, so, no problem there either. The Brussels Sprouts didn’t seem to attract many butterflies, so I’ll just keep an eye out for any problems on them.

What I wasn’t ready for was the sneak attack on our lettuce!! Yes, the loopers are eating the lettuce. This group of worms seem to be even more voracious than the summer worms.

Inscect damaged lettuce

I found them on all the varieties of lettuce, but they seem to have a preference. The Romaine has the worst infestation followed by the Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce. The Butter Crunch has a few and the Iceberg has none that I can see.

Since the loopers are the same color as the lettuce leaf, they can be hard to find. There is no mistaking the frass (the scientific term for caterpillar poop) they leave behind. (by the way, I wonder if I can say p**p in a family oriented blog?) Look for the frass and you will find the problem maker.

Cabbage Looper on lettuce

They are easy to control with an application of Bt insecticide, or other garden bug killer.

Better check your lettuce if you haven’t done so since the weekend. The summer-like weather we recently had, really made those loopers grow. The bigger they get, the more they eat!

Bob

Froggie Went a-Hunting

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

A couple of days ago, I was out in the garden picking some grape tomatoes.

As you might remember, the tomatoes are planted in raised beds made out of wood. The bed walls are about 15″ tall with aisle ways between them.

Anyway, I was planning on really cleaning up those tomato plants. I had already picked about a peck of good tomatoes. As I came across a rotten tomato, I just tossed it about four feet away into the aisle so I could rake them up later for composting. My picking went something like this: pick 4 or 5 good ones…toss 1 bad one …and so on, until the basket was full.

I casually tossed my 40th mushy tomato out into the aisle, when all of a sudden I saw something flash into the air toward the tomato (that was by now arching about two feet into the air, near the top of its trajectory). This was followed something much larger that then connected with the tomato and the first object.

A frog who was sitting behind the wall of the raised bed, had shot his tongue out to catch the tomato, then in a nanosecond; had jumped up, followed his tongue and caught the tomato in mid-air! By the time he landed, he had the entire tomato completely in his mouth!!

He sat there for just a second or two then spit the tomato out. The way he spit that tomato out reminded me of a baby “mooshing” out a mouth full of strained vegetables. Even the expression on his face made him look like he was surprised! I tell you what, I never knew frogs could change their facial expressions like that!!

I was laughing so hard I could hardly hold the camera still enough to get his picture.

Here he is sitting just in front of the tomato he had just “mooshed” out.

Frog and tomato

I suppose a frog could legitimately mistake that tomato for a colorful insect of some sort , especially when it is moving through the air.

After a few minutes, and watching several more tomatoes pass by, he hopped away. I presume, to look for more productive hunting grounds!

Bye, bye Mr. Frog...and thanks for the laugh!

His dignity doesn’t look too tarnished, does it?

Bob