Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Early Summer Garden

After a cool and rainless spring, our gardens are finally springing into vegetable frenzy with lots of recent warm temperatures and hazy, rainy weather. We've enjoyed tatsoi, mustard greens, radishes, asparagus, boat loads of volunteer dill, mint, parsley, lettuce, and spring peas. There's nothing like strolling around our garden beds pulling out supper fixings.

Rampaging moles still irk me, but at least we are past cutworm season and none of my veggie tykes have been decimated from down under. I am beginning to pull out some of the dill to make way for Fall peas to be planted in a couple of weeks, though I take care with this task as many swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs in these plants for their ravenous offspring to chow. The newly emergent caterpillars start out as little black fuzzy babies about 1/4 inch long and rapidly become beautiful green, white and black striped beauties. I found a fat one last week just sitting still when I went to remove him to another dill plant and then I looked more closely and saw that s/he had slung a gossamer thread of silk around its back to anchor it to the plant. I checked back the next morning and the caterpillar had metamorphosed into this spiky green cocoon with festive yellow trim. Amazing.

I like to have flowers mixed into my vegetable beds to attract pollinators so right now the most vivid thing growing is my army of red poppies. These beautiful, delicate and downright fecund flowers are the descendants of a packet of seeds I sprinkled around several years ago. Their tiny seeds disperse like mad around my yard and I have them in all of my flower and vegetable beds. I let them grow in the spring and then when they get yellow and spent, I yank them out, only to find that when cooler September weather hits, they are back again!

Off to yank some weeds and collect some salad....

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