Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer veggies underway

Quick update on the vegetable garden…enjoyed the last of the green leaf lettuce last week, and pulled those out (Black Simpson is my new favorite…very slow to bolt). In went three more pepper plants (two different chilis and one red bell) and butternut squash. The heirloom cherry tomato plant is faring well…started picking from it the other day. All of the determinate tomatoes have been under siege from squirrels who have been running off with plump green tomatoes. They’re lucky I live in a suburban setting and not way out in the country where I could fire off the BB gun. I’ve done everything I know to do, but there seems to be no outsmarting them. On the other hand, the yellow squash and zucchini are looking fantastic, so it seems I can look forward to some good stir fry soon! Also harvesting lots of basil right now and drying some leaves for future use, and using the rest on tomatoes and mozzarella and chiabata (sp?) bread.

I’ll post pictures as the harvest comes in. In the meantime, I found a Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on my parsley…we’re waiting to see if he’ll do his thing and turn into a butterfly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=G34OWnErvjA

Monday, June 18, 2012

Native Plants for Conservation

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has a great website to help gardeners in Virginia learn more about using native plants:

http://dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/np.cfm

Plants can be looked up by plant type (herb, grass, perennial, shrub, etc.) as well as by light and moisture requirements, use (wildlife, ornamental, conservation, etc.) Virginia is broken down into 3 regions: Mountain, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain. Some plants will be native to all three, while others will be limited to one or two of those regions.

As I’ve said many times before, there are a lot of great reasons to choose native plants…they hold up better in your area and greatly benefit local wildlife who depend on them for food and shelter. I believe if everyone plants just a few natives in the garden, we can help pollinators like bees make a comeback…and that benefits everybody!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The summer show begins

Snapped these pictures of the garden earlier today; the “summer shrubs” are about to begin their show as are the perennials. By mid-June, the garden is hopping with bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and birds. I’m hoping to be able to get certified this year for the National Wildlife Foundation “Wildlife Sanctuary” designation.

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