I got a peek at the baby doves this week. They are growing fast, but I still haven’t heard a peep out of them. Now that the babies have some feathers, mother and father doves are able to leave the nest and spend some time together. It’s clear they enjoy each other’s company.
This week, I saw another fascinating insect. At first, I thought it might be a blister beetle, but there were no stripes or spots on its wing cases. And, as far as I know, there aren’t any lightning bugs west of the Rockies. That’s when I realized it was a soldier beetle. One of the Good Guys. Soldier beetles eat aphids and the eggs and larvae of many moths, beetles, armyworms, and other pests. I was happy to let it go where I it, among the forest of borage plants that appear each spring.
Another insect has me baffled. I collect insects when I find them and try to identify them. Until I know what they are, I keep them in clear plastic containers. In this particular container, I had a piece of netting covered with what I thought were stink bug eggs, a butt-less honey bee I came across while collecting honey, and a cottony cushion scale egg sack. Early this week, a bunch of tiny black flies appeared in the container. I assumed they were male scale insects but then learned that those are much smaller than these flies. I still don’t know what the flies are, but I did get some photos of the male scale insects, so that was exciting.
My perennial beets have started to produce flowering stems. The first time it happened, it really surprised me. Beet stems get pretty tall and then they hang, willow-like. They are very pretty and I will collect seeds when they are mature.
Speaking of seeds, I’ve lost count of how many varieties of tomatoes, beans, and peppers I started this week, along with carrots, chard, and basil. There were arugula, cabbage, and sunflower seedlings to transplant and the lettuces and chicories are thriving.
Every year, my asparagus harvest gets better. The first year, nothing looked like it was going to grow. The second and third years, all I got were skinny, ferny growths. But now, I am getting some delicious, fat, juicy, purple asparagus shoots that never make it into the house.
Finally, I rigged some netting around my young pear and apricot trees. I have no intention of losing any of those crops to squirrels and birds!
I hope that you are staying safe and well and are able to spend more time in your garden.
Remember, you may have neighbors who could really use some of your extra produce during quarantine. Let’s keep shopping trips to a minimum.
Kate Russell, writer, gardener, and so much more.