Daylight saving time messes me up. I don’t like it and I’m not even on a clock. Each time it changes, it feels as though the world is off kilter for a couple of weeks. The plants and chickens don’t seem to notice, so I should probably just follow their lead, and leading they are!
Despite the concerns of several visitors, bees and other pollinators seem to have no problem getting through the tree cage netting. Of course, that also means codling moths can get through, as well. But the birds can’t and the rats and squirrels haven’t yet tried. I guess we have to pick our battles, eh?
My apple and fig trees are just about at budbreak and there are even some tiny figs starting to form! Did you know that the only way a fig can form is if a little wasp gets trapped inside? The fruit of a fig is actually a cluster of flowers that form on the inside. How weird is that?
Anyway, the almond tree is in full leaf and our daily salads have been full of delicious variety with sugarloaf chicory, radicchio, Swiss chard, beet and kale leaves, and red leaf lettuce, along with baby purple broccoli shoots. We have even gotten our first taste of this year’s purple asparagus. [Can you tell we like purple food around here? Wait until it’s time to harvest the purple sweet potatoes!]
The compost pile is coming along nicely. Following the USDA’s guidelines for safely using manure in compost, I am checking the temperature every day and flipping the pile most days. If you look closely at the image below, you can see that the center line of the pile, which has had its top removed, is nearly white, while the rest is yellowish-brown. That white is made up of fungal filaments that are decomposing the bigger bits into smaller molecules that can be used by plants as food. The steam that comes out in the morning when I flip the pile is a pretty impressive sign that chemistry is actively taking place in my simple pile of chicken bedding and yard waste!
A couple of weeks ago, I posted concerns I had for my California poppies. I have been diligently removing stems that show signs of fungal disease and have been brutally thinning plants to provide better airflow and it seems to be helping.
My biggest pest this week seems to be sowbugs. I decided to give this little Gerbera daisy a manicure because it was looking chewed upon and congested. What I discovered was that it was thoroughly infested with sowbugs! Check out this little bugger, tucked comfortably into a new leaf, munching away to its hearts’ content.
Needless to say, I cut out most of the damaged leaves, pulled the mulch away from the whole thing and thinned out the center a fair bit. Let’s see if I can get more blossoms and less bugs.
I hope you are all able to spend some time in your garden this weekend. What’s keeping you busiest or bringing a smile to your face out there?
Kate Russell, writer, gardener, and so much more.