Tag Archives: melons

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?!

How Deep? 020814

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.

 

For real, not for long

Aaahh…there were almost audible sighs from the plants, as moisture finally returned us to a degree of normalcy.  The cracks in the ground have nearly disappeared.

Just to balance out all that summery weather that led us to rename the month as Mayust for awhile, a huge cold front has enveloped us with substantial rain, and cooler than average temperatures, so it is reminiscent of March for a few days.  We are not complaining, just smiling.  It was bound to happen if the tomatoes were set in the ground, right?  The squash and melon seedlings in the house yard are protected with plastic jugs, and tomatoes continue to show off their red jackets.  Some of us feel like it’s time for a switch back to some sun and warmth.

Growing jugs in the yard?

Growing jugs in the yard?  No, these are mini-greenhouses.

What is the jug hiding?

A peek inside…to find…

Very young melons, waiting for some warmth!

Very young melons, waiting for some warmth!

October fly by

If September was a “slide through” then October was a “fly by,” bringing another amazingly productive season to a close of sorts, in spite of all the freakish weather in early summer; neither was it particularly warm.  Spaghetti squash always brings up the rear with some added poundage, and the chanterai mini-canteloupes did exceptionally well at the end of the season.

The lettuce weathered our first frost well, which then reminded me that a hoop frame was needed pronto.  So, this is our new addition to the CG, to help prolong the lettuce and greens production for awhile. It seems that here, it isn’t always the cold that rots the lettuce, but excess moisture on the leaves.  We’ll see how it goes.  I think there are some slugs hanging out in there.

new PVC hoop frame cover for the greens

We’ve got the final bounty tally for the season, and won’t be keeping track again until spring, even if we pull in hordes of lettuce.

October harvest tally:

  • Charentai melon: 13.5 pounds
  • Cucumbers: 3
  • Acorn squash: 5
  • Spaghetti squash: 19.5

Total:  53 pounds
Season Grand Total: 526 pounds!
About 100 pounds less than last year as it turns out. Oh well. Best tomato harvest yet!

Gratitude and blessings to all Beings who brought for this bounty! Time for devas and elementals to get some rest!

September slide through…

Our beloved Bambie has become frustrated…or desperate… in not being able to eat more tomato vines, nor get into my yard; so she’s taken to eating zucchini leaves off the stalk!

Not what you'd think to be a deer's delight...coarse zucchini leaves...

Shifting weather all over….a lot of rain during the first half of the month, so all tomatoes were pulled in, as well as squash and melons.  No rot wanted! So, it’s looking a bit bare as the season comes to a close.  Lettuce, arugula, and leeks are doing great!

Once there was a jungle...

September harvest tally:

  • Basil: 18 (pounds)
  • Bush beans: 3.5
  • Charentai melon: 13.5
  • Acorn squash: 5
  • Corn: 18 (19 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 20.5
  • Delicata squash: 20.75
  • Margarita melon: 26.75
  • Scallions: 1
  • Summer squash: 10.5
  • Spaghetti squash: 19.5
  • Tomatoes: 131 !!!!

Total:  288 pounds….!!!
Moving the season total to 473 pounds!
We give thanks to all Beings who assisted in manifesting this bounty!
That tomato poundage is off 6 plants, and no wonder they were collapsing!

Keepin' the bounty dry...

The lurkers

Lurkers of all sorts hidden in the CG….

Delicata squash

Stealth zucchini

Spaghetti squash bowling balls

Delicata and cucumber in the jungle

Margarita melons

Charentai mini-canteloupes

The season of transition is upon us…..Autumnal equinox…shorter days…the midway point of light and dark…in this region that is essentially the midway latitude of the Northern Hemisphere…halfway between the equator and the North Pole.    The bounty continues….