Tag Archives: beets

It’s a boy!…Monarch that is…

 

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Beautiful male Monarch on my Asclepias!  The spot, circled in yellow, is mirror-imaged on the other wing, and indicates this to be a male.  Photo courtesy of neighbor, Jamie Simmons, who also watched this specimen flitting in his yard.

We’ve been blessed with the presence of an authentic Monarch butterfly in the garden this last week, following my sighting of 3 more out in some pasture lands on the outskirts of town.  The Monarch is a relatively rare butterfly to see in this area, and I can’t remember the last time I saw one: with the overall decline in their populations over the last decade, I was surprised and delighted to see these, especially in a short amount of time!  Almost didn’t trust my eyes! I grew up with them as very commonplace yard visitors, and missed their numbers up here in western Oregon.  Even though I’ve grown a type of milkweed for many years (a non-invasive cultivar), it hasn’t hosted very many caterpillars in its lifetime, nor is it the favorite of the monarch.  However, more people are planting various types of milkweed in the area, and perhaps it is paying off.

He is not always present on a daily basis, but one afternoon and evening he was a visitor for several hours, flitting about, around to neighbors, and back, and alighting on the butterfly bush, which is loves for nectar.  The frequently visiting Swallowtail was also cruising through the yard, and there were some near collisions at the Buddleia bush.  Jujubes have shown up, too, jumping and whirling themselves about in little frenzies, which didn’t phase Mr. Monarch.  Such a delight and blessing to see them all active and energetic.  I did have to remind little Juni-cat that she should not even think about trying to capture our visitor! She has caught a Swallowtail before…grrr.

Our first bounty of beautiful yellow crookneck squash was picked a couple of weeks ago, and a ripening tomato can be seen from certain viewpoints in the yard.  However, most of the tomatoes are green; our intermittent pattern of 3-days cooler than average, then 3 days normal summer heat, is not conducive to speedy tomato ripening.  There might be green tomatoes at season’s end this year, depending.

Spaghetti squash is being true to form and pumping out its fruit, (with bees’ help, of course), and at last count last weekend, I saw about twelve softball-sized squash.  Five days later, some of them are now almost full-grown for this variety, like a good-sized canteloupe.

We’ve had very, very, very, very bad deer this year, in spite of extra netting.  They have learned to walk on netting and bite through it for their highly-desired bean leaf sprouts, and then they won’t leave them alone.  There will be absolutely no bean harvest this year; I leave the stems to torment them!  Always one day (no, one night!) ahead of me, they demolished over half the lettuce crop.  It appears we might get some lettuce re-growing though as summer cools off a bit.  And they harass some of the melon and cucumber seedlings, too, when least expected, so we’ll see how those do.  Tomatoes are protected enough now that they can’t do too much damage.

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Early July deer damage.  Forget any bean harvest this season, and only a bit of lettuce escaped sabatoge.  The day after this photo shot, they munched the rest of the lettuce, and proceed to keep it mowed.

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That’s what happens when you leave town for a few days…all of a sudden it is a massive crookneck jungle! May have to do some disciplining/removal so the hidden melon plant can see more sun!

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Spaghetti squash interloping with tomatoes. At least deer don’t like the prickly leaves at this point.

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Squash fruits galore, running all over the place.

 

Early is the name of the game

Mature and harvested spaghetti and delicata squash (background) giving more room for other squash and melons to roam. Deer deterrent that has worked best is the upside down chair, preventing his landing attempt! Basil is lushly growing, immune to browsing.

Mature, harvested spaghetti and delicata squash (background) giving more room for other squash and melons to roam. Deer deterrent that has worked best is the upside down chair, preventing his landing attempt! Basil is growing lushly, immune to browsing.

Early to bloom, early to ripen, early demise.  On the calendar that is!  Our “endless summer” has mitigated its heat wave temporarily, so plants look a bit more refreshed.  As observed over the last couple of weeks, some squash leaves signaled their fatigue and resignation to powdery mildew, as the fruits of their efforts came into maturity.  Spaghetti squash and delicata bushes were harvested and removed, providing some more freed crawling space for the little margarita and chanterai-type melons.  It seems so early for all this, but then again summer weather started very early.  Our first tomato pickings, too, and now they are moving into more continual ripening.  Zucchinis and yellow summer squash are still very active, and the cucumbers come in little waves.  I haven’t dared to peek under the acorn squash yet; and it is still quite mildew-free, so there’s a bit of time to catch the breath before doing more work.

The hidden gems of min-canteloupes and other melons coming into maturity. Mildew helping move along the bush lifespan more quickly than usual!

The hidden gems of mini-canteloupes and other melons coming into maturity. Mildew helping move along the bush lifespan more quickly than usual!

As much as I’d like to start planting more lettuce, it is still too early, given the soil and air temperatures are too warm; must be patient till at least mid-to-late August.  It is amazing how well beets will hold up if they can keep their roots shaded from too much light.  And, it is always amazing how beans will recuperate from moderate deer browsing, to push forth more flowers again.  Seems like we might have the deer stymied for the time being, although he does come by to see what vines he can possibly nibble on that might escape the protection of netting.

I have been watching for the signs of summer fatigue in the landscape and forest trees this last week, after another 4-day marathon of 100-degree heat.  Whereas the subtle shift of green to green-gold comes in mid-late August, there are some trees that have flat-out protested the whole summer, with leaves turning brown, curling up, and are blowing off this week.  I had a brief glimpse of fall there, then realized these were severely heat-stressed!  Lavenders have recuperated a bit, and providing plenty of nectar for the bees and butterflies.  Life is good!

In between the gaps…a gallery

A glimpse into the menagerie of the community garden and general house yard through fall and winter 2013/2014.

Always like to show off what our browsers can do when they put their minds to it.  Push down that netting to get the delectable bean leaf tips! They've developed finesse so they don't get their teeth caught in the netting...

Always like to show off what our browsers can do when they put their minds to it. Push down that netting to get the delectable bean leaf tips! They’ve developed finesse so they don’t get their teeth caught in the netting…

Apologies to our beautiful praying Mantis, who is probably eyeing an insect or two under the netting.  What a beaut!

Apologies to our beautiful praying Mantis, who is probably eyeing an insect or two under the netting. What a beaut!

Tasty greens sprouting for fall crop.  Mature beets further right even overwintered well under the snow pack.

Tasty greens sprouting for fall crop. Mature beets further right even overwintered well under the snow pack.

The typical way we keep the squash, melon, and tomato harvest aired and dry during the mild, not-too-rainy days of fall....stored under my eaves.

The typical way we keep the squash, melon, and tomato harvest aired and dry during the mild, not-too-rainy days of fall….stored under my eaves.

A record-setting snow-then-freeze episode the very first weekend of December 2013, followed by a record-setting snowfall in early February 2014, made us very aware of how little we can predict anything anymore, or when our gardens are tested to the maximum adaptability, and how miraculously resilient plants can be.  The witnessing of when a healthy, mature plant “decides” it will not struggle to survive the next year, but yield to the new energies of the next generation of seedlings.

Where's the bench seat?!

Where’s the bench seat?!

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14″ AFTER the snow has packed down for 3 days…

The birds had to learn to eat snow on their feeder for a few days.  Thank goodness for seeds on the old flower stalks, although the snow buried a lot of those.

The birds had to learn to eat snow on their feeder for a few days. Thank goodness for seeds on the old flower stalks, although the snow buried a lot of those.

And spring brings the energy of renewal…

2014-Kiwi Arbor-a

Kwan Yin being sheltered by a bower of the Siberian kiwi vine.

 

Sliding through the June portal

Having rain on and around summer solstice is often a guarantee of a hot summer here, and this time summer is not waiting until July 6th to show up!  Heat wave came on immediately after the rains let up; the yard actually feels a bit jungle-ish, with everything so lush. Humid! I would say that the little basil are the only complainers.  They can’t figure out what is coming or going, as their elusive heat kept shifting around.  Transplant time for them coming up!

Magical mesclun mix!

Magical mesclun mix!

Giant radishes!

Seriously large radishes not to be mistaken for beets!

While being gone several days to Mt. Shasta over the Solstice, where it was really dry and dusty, the squash and tomatoes decided the warm moisture was their cue to grow by leaps/bounds.  Melons are still a bit slower, but firmly established now.  Lettuce, spinach, and most of the mesclun mix is bolting, so there is an element of normalcy. We have a lot of work to do this weekend and a bounty to give away!  I spy some hefty looking beet-roots on the end of a row, also, so some first pickings and sorting needed there, too.  Bush bean blossoms announce their next phase, while Bambie has expanded her buffet to include tomato plants early in the season. We won’t even discuss what the weeds think about it all!

And we all shine on!

The jungle is forming!

The jungle is forming!

Groovin’ those rows…we are in session…

“The hand” is much better, while requiring continued respect and modified use, which is easily overlooked in the zeal of gardening.  The same applied to our weather, at times greatly “improved,” then commanding our cooperation.

Synchronized planting pose…

Mapping out the new coordinates…making labels…director’s privileges

With a spurt of record-setting heat in early May, followed by more rain, the greens department, along with radishes and beets, are looking outstanding!

Greens galore…chard is trying to show off its senior status.            Where’s Juni?  Where’s Aspen?

 

Squash, melon, and cucumber seeds were planted a week ago, but have not yet emerged, as our weather has cooled.  The first sowing of green beans is just saying hello.  Tomatoes and basil continue to be secluded in the coldframe.

The house yard is coming alive now with various perennials, while transplanted annuals are “sitting” and waiting for some more warmth.  Sages and butterfly weed are always the last to indicate their reboot, and most wintered perfectly, and are now sprouting new growth.

Success in overwintering the artichoke plant!

An added bonus is the blessing of nesting chickadees in a driftwood birdhouse purchased last summer.  I was content to have it simply as garden art, but it is actually being use!  Entry is near the top of the log, with a tiny overhang on it.  They zoom in and out of it with no problem; not sure how the chicks will maneuver it without a perch.  Obviously, I will be watching!

Chickadees in residence…do not disturb!

Off to a fabulous spring start!

Dazed and confused

Hot, hot, hot…many plants are feeling stressed….what is with the high-heat wave this far into September?!  Record-setting 100° on Sept. 10.  Usually there is a day of moisture in there somewhere.  Oh wait, that was what was happening in July, on the driest day of the year.  But, seriously, we could do with a good cleansing rain…for just overnight or a day.  Smoky skies have been around for almost a week, with un-contained wildfires in the Mt. Washington wilderness due east of us.

CG running rampant!

Mildew arrived in late August to pester the squash; not abated by the heat.  A heavy load of acorn and delicata squash seems to be lurking under all the leaves.  Tomatoes are very happy with the warm nights of the last week, ripening beautifully; fortuitous it is!

New veggies for fall crop

Breathing space exists in one area of the CG again, for some cauliflower, chard, arugula, and lettuce.  A riot remains in the other half, with squash, cucumbers, and melons sprawling amongst the corn and tomatoes.

Clamoring for space

Bambie has earned her own private gate now….to look through.  The portal is now closed every night.  She isn’t bothering the veggies much, save one night of pruning beans when the netting wasn’t anchored, but she occasionally wants to sample inside the house yard.

Gate at the Portal

We also say goodbye to Jessie today, as she moves to her own new home, where she’ll have her own garden.  Congrats, Jessie!  And, thanks for being an enthusiastic part of this project.  Keep checking in on the bounty this fall!

August harvest tally:

  • Basil: 9 (pounds)
  • Bush beans: 23.5
  • Beet roots: 29
  • Corn: 11 (9 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 12.5
  • Endive: 2
  • Lettuce: 7.25
  • Scallions: 2
  • Summer squash: 9.5
  • Swiss chard: 4.5
  • Tomatoes: 5

Total: 116.25 pounds
We give thanks to all Beings who assisted in manifesting this bounty!

A lush “green tomato year” in the making

Awoke to some drizzle, and had a an opportunity to reset the energy button to a slower pace; to actually sit in the garden (as the skies cleared), rather than tend to it.  Listening to the breeze, the little birds, the newly-hatched grasshopper, the bees.  Watching the cabbage white loopers darting around, and the juba skippers snapping and courting in their little aerial spirals.  Smelling the lavender, sages, bee balm, corn, nasturtiums, squash; summer in general.  Feeling like a sleeping cat.

I noticed a feeling of early fall precisely on Aug. 1.  The days started feeling noticeably shorter at the same time; there is a tinge of color on sporadic trees.  All this seems a couple of weeks earlier than “normal”.  We’re most definitely on the downside of summer, with very few tomatoes set.  I’ve never had this many tomato plants grow over 5-feet tall before setting fruit!  But, we’re not alone in this predicament.  Our day and night temps are so variable, slow to warm and very quick to cool in late afternoon.  More heat needed!

Fortunately, the squash have kicked in, though more sporadic than last year, especially for their mammoth sizes.  The spaghetti squash is out of hand, while little acorn and delicata fruit are just getting started.  The cucumbers are developing nicely, as are the margarita and charantai melons.  Corn ears are nicely elongated, waiting to fill out the kernels.

Tasseling corn

'Early prolific

Lavender and nasturtiums cushion a spaghetti squah

It was time for the lettuce to be harvested completely, or be overrun by squash and melons, besides being a little bit bitter.  Kale and chard are still vigorous, and the bush beans are still producing well.  Harvested over 5 pounds this last week on the oldest row.  Basil has been sheared back for a second round of bushy growth.  Lots of pesto being made!

July bounty:

  • Beet tops and roots: 11.75 pounds
  • Basil: 6.25
  • Kale: 3.5
  • Lettuce blends: 16.5
  • Scallions: 0.75
  • Spinach: 2
  • Swiss chard: 4.75
  • Sugar Snap peas: 0.25
  • Summer squash: 8.75

Month’s total: 53 pounds

Thank you all participants and garden devas!

Lushness galore! August 8