Thursday, June 13, 2013

Black aphids

in the  climbing nasturtiums. Little beetle larvae in the grapes. I spent some time hand picking these. Every time along with the little bugs and wormy things came ants. I hate to deny busy ant creatures their food, especially if they eat little bugs I want gone. I may as well leave the work to the ants.

I do pull leaves filled with bugs off of broccoli and kale. Ants don't seem to find them. I entertain growing suspicion that cabbage butterflies (the cute little white ones) hatch a pupal stage from these aphids. Okay, I will look it up.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Top predators

G H stays out

Dale built three new raised beds this year and put in some blueberry plants. He also fenced two areas entirely encased in chickenwire.

Wohoo, I have green beans this year that the Groud hog didn't munch. It is good to have green beans.

I have squash. Some is growing inside and outside of the chicken wire. I also dropped some squash seeds just inside the back fence that haven't been munched; so I think that the pup dogs that my sister sent, who mark territory and bark and otherwise make it known that they are the new kids on the block are home. Ground hogs don't claim my garden as territory anymore.

Dale goes out every day and waters. I had been trying to just water things in pots and not water much in the open garden. This didn't work for two resons. One, the Groundhogs visited anyway and two, vegetables grow better when they have water.

Dale in the garden may discourage groundhog visits too. We know that ecosystems need their top preditors and our little bit of garden has gardener approved top preditors now, and we have squash and beans. I did not plant corn this year, but I will next year.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Like milkweed

Like Milkweed

Milkweed makes seeds that go all over the place

It releases them on gossamer

The wind carries them far from the mother plant

The mother plant is okay with

not knowing where the children have gone, that they don’t return for thanksgiving

Are there messages carried by Monarchs

about this or that seed that sprouted

made fragrant flowers that made necter

that the Monarch sipped

before it headed over to the spot where the mother plant grew

last season

there is a new plant in that location come spring

runners were sent out, roots established last year grow again

I looked into a monarch’s eye once

What I saw there held no recognition for me

that being was not interested in me

only flying

flying to the south

to spend the winter

on a tree with other butterflies

staying warm until the next year

and fly north to lay eggs on milkweed

I am inferring all of this flying thinking

projecting it

For what I saw in those eyes suprised me

for there was no understanding there

not like looking into another human’s eyes

and know that here is a being I can talk to

communicate with

The butterfly

or the seed

of the milkweed, what is the communication

The milkweed’s perfume that wafts my way in summer is not for me

Though I fancy myself steward of my domain

I let the milkweed grow or not

see the butterflies come or not

as I will

if I let milweed grow, butterflies will come

if not, they will go elsewhere

or die

Life is not hard for them

in any existential way that I can discern

and yet we call milkweed plants weeds

tear them out so the grass can grow

or the wheat in a field can grow

I understand the wheat, the need to feed our kind

but not the grass part

If we live in a city

and don’t mow

city government employees will mow

charge us for their trouble

and the emplyees don’t care long as they get paychecks

and the boss at city hall doesn’t care,

it is in the statute

And so we are imprisoned by our words

or the words of those who came before us

not so the butterfly

who doesn’t follow our news

has it’s own troubles

and concerns

who flies 2000 miles in a season

on papery wings

that seem to flutter

I’m guessing that butterfly glides more on drafts
on winds, existing flyway highways

chooses right updraft and off it goes

using the wind to find its destination

So long earth

like the butterfly, our kind will learn to live

on the updrafts

Learn to find posibilities of movement

evolve to use the power of

earthly forces

We do not yet know what these forces are

nor perhaps where they will take us

But we are learning to jump when the time is right

off we go, then.

One step closer to understanding

what is there in the eye of a butterfly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Small biome area

I like to think of my garden, the 1/5 acre around my suburban home as a biome. I wonder, after reading about Glycosal, the spread of same, to what degree it is possible to separate from my neighbors. I do not have the lab space or the time to find the answer to that question. My dogs walk on sidewalks that have visible calcium chloride and in summer balls of some sort of lawn enhancement product. I have no control over what my neighbors do with their patches of the earth.

On my little patch of earth, there is some amount of control and that I will take and grow what I can. So far this has meant talking out invasive plants (the buckthorn was making it's own biome, nothing grew in the buckthorn understory).

I have begun replacing Buckthorn with Catalpa trees. Also up the hill, there are Hazelnut and pear and apple and greengage plum. The blueberries have not had enough water in their first year, but the raspberries (red and black) like it fine in the clay soil, that 50 years ago was fill. Raspberries grow no matter what, but grow bigger berries when there is lots of water.

There are grapes growing up the pergola going on their second year. The Pergola used to be a clubhouse, now fenced in attempt to keep out ground hogs. Last summer I went back to the pergola/old clubhouse and witnessed the GH climb 6 feet of fence, even with a full belly of my squash plants.

The only way I bother growing broccoli and lettuce is in pots near the house, where the GH is not interested in going. I have yet to find a good way to grow cucurbits of any sort. I purchase these at the farmer's market. I will keep trying to grow cukes and squash in pots, will order special seeds of cucumbers and squash hybrids for pots in 2011.

I had been using only open pollinated varieties. I guess I have to let the idea of only open pollenated varieties go. Bye Bye idea.

I can feel another seed catalog search coming on, gotta go.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote about Human space

we can reclaim biodiversity and habitats within human landscapes - from the credo of the blog of Thomas Rainer

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Alliums in spring

Alliums have had their way out back for years. In spring, they are all over the place and tasty. I add the green things to dishes and they perk up taste like onions never did. Potatoes and broccoli, carrots and greens get a little old- the green of alliums straight from the garden, perks it all up.

Soon the chives will bloom and I can add flowers, purple at that, to the mix.

I have "walking onions" and garlic chives and garlic and a small onion that reproduces like garlic. I have some leeks that oblige and come back every year. If you leave bulbs in, they will come.

Some gardeners will say that I have let them all go wild and they are not good anymore. Those folks will not get an invitation to dinner, though I suppose they are right. If you let chives flower and the seeds plant themselves, they will grow slimmer than the parent. Better to eat the flowers.

The difference I see between garlic and onion is that the leaf of garlic is flat and the leaf of onion and chives is round. All the green shoots are welcome in spring, and are ready long before the Walla walla sweets.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I love blueberries. The ones I got at the farmers market, froze for the winter, are big and hold texture. Ah Michigan, ya gotta love those big lakes that modify the climate. The people I bought berries from farm berries on Lake Michigan and vegetables on the east side of Detroit.

I bought some blueberry plants from them. Blueberry plants have perished in my garden in times past. I suppose I have alkaline soil, have not had it tested. I am sure my soil was fill, put here after the house was built.

I will see to it that the blueberry plants get plenty of water and compost. The farmer that sold them told me that is what is needed.

Meantime, I thaw the ones I bought and froze last year, have them most every day. They got me through the winter.