Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Not too bugged

Maybe it is the heat or the humidity or the lack of rain, but I have not seen very many garden pests this year.  Now that the harvest is dying down, I have noticed some evidence of bugs - bites taken from beans, trimmed tomato branch tips, holes in potato leaves - but not the kind of infestations I expected.  I like to think it is because I attract so many birds to my yard, but even they seem to be hunkered down elsewhere these days.  (I just saw a female cardinal in the tulip tree - panting!  That is how hot it is.)

Cabbage whites are another story, however.  I want to plant brassicas next year, but from the plethora of little white butterflies flitting around my yard, I can tell that bringing broccoli and cabbage to maturity will be a challenge.  I'm planning an investment in floating row covers.

This year I discovered one problem with mechanical plant protection, and that is accessing the plants.  My rabbit barrier allowed the bean plants to grow big and healthy, but bending over from the waist to do all the bean picking was not so healthy for my back.  I eventually resorted to climbing inside the fence, so I could also crouch and squat.

I am still battling the rabbits.  I thought I had only one, living under the shed, but while photographing flowers the other day, I found this one in the meadow.

I have been setting the trap every night, but so far I have not been able to lure either of these to a one-way ticket out of the yard.  I also need to perform a border patrol, to make sure the fence has not been breached somewhere.  Maybe this weekend, after it cools off a bit.

Not too many flowers are left, but my new hydrangea has not yet received the memo.

More pink than lime

A little lime
Also, the hostas and rudbekia on the north side are still hanging in there.

Besides the cabbage whites, I have seen a lot more butterflies this year.  I recognize the monarchs and swallowtails, but can't name the others.  For years, I have had milkweed growing in the front yard, but no eggs or caterpillars.  Now I have the milkweed established in the meadow, so I am hoping the monarchs take advantage of that.

Or is it too late already?  I am not up on my entomology, but this site says there should be another generation before their migration.  Let's hope!

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