Monthly Archives: May 2010

Marchmay

Yes, this weather IS perfect for…some green veggies (thank you!); and it is perfect for transplanting some 360-plus plugs of Scotch moss amidst my new walkway stepping stones.  And, the rain IS good for cleaning the air of various pollens which went out of control during the 3 days of sunny, warm weather we enjoyed mid-month.  The winds that accompanied the clear weather required a hose hook-up to water the veggies in the CG!  In that marvellous weekend we experienced some real May, after having survived Februmay.

Cool weather crops enjoying the Marchmay weather!

Alas, we’re now in Marchmay, along with a gamut of weather tricks.  The petunias look smaller than when I planted them 3 weeks ago, and the tiny zinnias are struggling.  The lobelia looks happy at least.  Time to thwart slugs again; they’re chomping on an artichoke seedling.

Gnome biding his time, hoping for warmer days.

The strawberry plants are blooming very well now, which means….late berries, maybe a good thing.

Strawberry blossoms coming on strong; we need some strong sun, too!

Good news!  Thinnings of lettuces, spinach, beets, and kale have contributed several pounds towards our new harvest tally, to be posted in early June.  With several CG members on holiday until Memorial Day weekend, I persuaded some neighbors and friends to share the bounty.  We’ve postponed planting squash, melon, and cucumber seeds until Memorial Day, although the soil is nicely warm, independent of the weather events.

Aspen needs to sample everything...lettuce, kale...not fussy at all.

While thinning chard and spinach, I was briefly perplexed about the spotty blemishes that seemed to have appeared just in the last few days, separate from the chronic leaf-miner damage.  I’d already discovered a layer of dried raindrops laden with pollen on the red lettuce, but this was different.  Oh…right! Try hail damage; at least the leaves weren’t punctured!

Update on ladybugs: they’re all hiding; maybe boycotting for more sun.

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Ladybugs…workers and slackers

There’s a reason there are a few hundred ladybugs in a bag when you purchase them.  They don’t like to stay in one area, even with a food source; some don’t survive; and some refuse to go to work, even if presented with a banquet.  I think a bunch of mine had other ideas in mind.  It’s always fun checking around to see where they might be hiding after being released last evening, scattered over some roses, lavender, Jerusalem sage, and particularly upon a honeysuckle smothered with aphids.  For some reason, this is the mother-lode plant for aphids this spring.  Perhaps it is offering to serve as the prime bait plant, so as to lure them away from other plants.

While one worker has more than enough aphids to contend with, another two have "other ideas"...

Must be the feel of real spring in the wind! Irresistible to ladybugs who have been squashed together in a mesh bag for weeks. Maybe they decided they needed to generate more troops to contend with more aphids…..hooray!

Lavender is a great place to party....without aphids. Shhh....don't ask!

Something in the way it froze last December

Rewind: an unusually hard, but short freeze around December 2, 2009, after a long, relatively warm fall.  Very little in the way of freezing temperatures for the rest of the month; much of January and February were very warm.

Fast forward: April had several frosty mornings, colder and wetter than average temperatures.

Results: more weeds than I’ve ever had in the yard, including big crops of maple seedlings.  Several “hardy” perennials appear to be dead, though they’ve survived harsher winters; I’m still holding out hope for some of the late-to-wakers.  Tender perennials, like some of the sages, I’d expect to lose, even with mulching.  Alas, my young apricot tree is diseased with bacterial canker (causal organism: Pseudomonas syringae), probably induced by weather-related stresses.  Double rats!

It’s always a puzzler when plants survive typical winter periods of cold temperatures just fine, then die after a winter of milder temperatures.  But, that one cold snap came so early in December, with little chilling preparation ahead of it, and some plants physiologically weren’t ready to cope.  Sigh….