Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fun Things From Our Backyard: Some "Other" Fun Garden Helpers...

You all know about my two completely adorable and wonderful garden helpers, but I wanted to show you some of my other helpers that don't get as much recognition around the garden, but I still value :)

At the top of my list?  Ladybugs!  I love ladybugs!  Not only are they super cute, but they also will quickly take care of any aphid problems one might have and make sure they don't return.  Thankfully, they LOVE living in my corn and I found lots and lots of them the other day.

I even found a red one with no spots and a black one with a red spot!  So much variety in one cute little bug...

Next up, lizards.  I know, most ladies don't love lizards, but these have been working hard around the clock to make sure the other bugs in my garden don't go crazy.  I was worried they would take out the ladybugs too, but that hasn't been much of a problem, it seems.  I think a Texas Spiny mama must have had some babies close by because they started out little and have gotten progressively bigger and there are always a few each time I go out there...

This Green Anole is a new addition to our backyard and I'm not sure where it came from, but he is certainly welcome also.  It particularly enjoys living in our peas.  I also saw him trying to impress a lady friend the other day, so I'm guessing we'll have more at some point.

I suppose this last one doesn't quite qualify as a garden helper, but I do love to check on him/her periodically throughout the day and see how big it has gotten.  This is the same Black Swallowtail caterpillar I wrote about in my last update, he's getting huge!  I really hope he makes his chrysallis somewhere close by and I can find it, but these caterpillars are apparently known for going far away to do that, so I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

What's missing?  The honeybees...I have had them in past years and we even had some this winter hanging around our rosemary, but it's been a long time since I've seen any and they are very dearly missed.  I sure hope some find us soon!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spring 2015 Garden Update

Happy Spring Garden as it was two minutes ago...

I don't know about you, but we here in Central Texas have had unseasonably rainy and somewhat cool weather, which has made for a super happy Spring garden.  I have only gone out to water it once or twice because of all the rain we have had...I am so thankful!!  I have found myself regretting that I didn't plant more!  Anyway, I figured it was probably time for an update since everything looks quite a bit different than it did the last time I posted.

 LittleBear checking out the height of the corn only two weeks ago.  Today, the tallest stalks are taller than I am!

Looking up to the tallest stalk of corn... 

I had to build a fence with my extra tomato cages because on a really windy day, they would all blow over.  Good thing I didn't plant any tomatoes this year!

  Corn blossoms!!!

So, far I have harvested two HUGE zucchini and there seem to be lots more on the way, which gets LadyBear excited as it was her request to plant zucchini in the first place (though I'll admit it's a favorite of mine).

Happy LadyBear with her second huge zucchini! 

I haven't seen many pollinators around, so I've been trying to pollinate them myself with a dry paintbrush, which seems to be working ok, but I sure do miss the honeybees :(

 Green beans I harvested this morning alone!

The asparagus patch seems to be really happy, which in turn makes me really happy as asparagus is one of my absolute favorite veggies.  Each of the crowns have now sent out three or four shoots, which I am again letting go to fern this year, so hopefully I will have a bigger harvest next year.

 It's an asparagus!!!

Here's the whole patch along with some other shots of what we have growing:

 Asparagus patch

 My unintentionally planted melon, happily growing up around a tomato cage (my attempt to keep things tidy)...

 Baby melon!

 LadyBear's carrots with LittleBear's peas in the background and the melon plant to the left...

Another zucchini on the way!! 

 Green beans!

 Corn vs. Zucchini

 LittleBear's peas...

And lest you think I'm this great gardener with a prosperous green thumb, here's a picture of my sweet bell peppers and basil patch...

 Just keepin' it real...

Um, yeah, majorly disappointing.  Some of the lemon basil came up, but none of the sweet bell peppers or the sweet basil came, which means I need to go buy some transplants in order to get my homemade pesto sauce quota for the year done.  I have no clue what happened there... oh well!

 I had no idea that fennel flowers could be different colors from the same plant!  How neat!

Our butterfly garden has it's first resident of the Spring!  This is a black swallowtail caterpillar that showed up yesterday and has already doubled in size.  We hope he stays around for a while!!

 Welcome to our garden!!!