Live and Learn.

Always Google first. I should know this by now! But seriously, what was I to think when I saw this guy in my garden?

hornworm

photo credit - Berkshire Botanical Garden. I was too freaked out to take a photo of mine.

My first inclination, when I saw this horn worm festooned with white eggs was, “Get it off get it off get it off!” And sadly, that’s what I did. Turns out, mutant horn worms are actually a good thing.

After googling, I discovered that the horn worm clinging to my bell pepper plant was actually playing host to Braconid Wasp eggs, which would have eventually killed it. Once the eggs hatched, the resulting wasps would have done the same to all his friends. Oh well. Live and learn!

Definitely the strangest thing I’ve seen in my garden this season. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in yours?

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Look What Arrived!

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My seeds came on Monday! The cat, however, is not a recent arrival. He just makes the photo more interesting and helps prop up the seed packets. Notice how pleased he is with me.

I sorted through all the packets today, and went out with the kids to pick up seed starting supplies. In a little bit of irony, now that my mind’s on spring, we are due to receive 4-6 inches of wet snow tomorrow. I guess I’ll be enjoying the view from inside while planting my seeds!

Here’s what I have:

Starting Indoors
Tomato Mortgage Lifter (from Dad)
Tomato Cherokee Purple (saved from last year’s harvest)
Tomato Silvery Fir Tree (a bush variety)
Cherry Tomato Lizzano
Cilantro (harvested last year)
Kale Dwarf Blue Curled
Chili Pepper Early Jalapeno
Sweet Pepper California Wonder
Eggplant Black Beauty
Mystery Tomato (that I forgot to label after saving from dad’s tomato – maybe a “Mister Stripy”)

Starting Outdoors Later
Onion Parade
Spinach Bloomsdale
Lettuce Salad Bowl Blend
Lettuce Mesclun
Lettuce Buttercrunch
Basil Dolce Vita Blend
Swiss Chard Ruby Red
Parsley Moss Curled
Bean Henderson Bush Baby Lima
Bean Blue Lake Bush
Bean Tenderpick
Pea Wando Shelling
Cucumber Spacemaster
Broccoli Raab Rapini

I’ll most likely end up picking up plants to supplement the herb garden, too. Yes, I think it may be time for Hubberman to start drawing up plans for an additional raised bed. This will hopefully be a busy season!

A Changing Landscape

My little square foot garden has changed quite a bit in the past few weeks! Here’s a garden update:

My bush beans are thriving where the lettuce used to be. I figured out that it was rolie polie bugs eating at their leaves – thankfully, they like partying with the slugs in my beer traps at night so the damage has decreased greatly.

Behind the bush beans are two eggplants (they have the plant supports around them) and what remains of the swiss chard. I harvested a bunch before this photo was taken and it is now blanched and sitting in the freezer for a future side dish.

Pictured above are my bell pepper plants, which have room to breathe now that the cabbages are making their exit. The two bigger peppers are a sweet yellow pepper and the jalapeno pepper plant that the kids have nicknamed “Spicy.”

Up top of this photo are the last two cabbages. I drastically cut back my oregano because he was starting to take over. The little onions in the center of the photo are finally big enough to use. Two of them graced the top of our nachos at lunch today!

That’s it for now!

Lettuce’s Last Call

I think this week will be the last harvest for my lettuce. It’s big, full, floppy, and crying out to be put into a salad before it’s way past its prime. My arugula has flowered, and while I still think its flavor is quite yummy, I think I will be harvesting that, too.

Does anyone have a great recipe for arugula, besides the typical salad? I’m open for suggestions! Once the arugula is out of the bed, my bush beans will have more room to stretch out…

They are growing up fast. But I think something is nibbling on the leaves…any of my garden expert readers have any suggestions as to what might be doing this? These are in my raised bed enclosure, so it’s got to be a smallish bug in order for it to get in there.

I bought some additional bush bean plants today to supplement my chewed-on, from-seed beans, but I’m holding off on planting them until I find out what’s snacking on what’s already in the Grow Camp.

Once the arugula and lettuce are out, some eggplant and a sweet yellow banana pepper plant are moving in, too. That’s about it in the garden for now – I’ll leave you for the night with a parting cabbage and herb garden photo. :-)

Meanwhile, on the Deck…

I have just a few more garden update photos to share:

Parsley, chives and lemon thyme have really taken off in the herb garden. I’ve been putting fresh parsley in everything, the chives will be front and center in a ranch dressing I’ll be making (and posting) this week. And the lemon thyme? Well, mainly I just like snipping it and rubbing it on my hands. Have I mentioned I’m a little crazy-in-love with the smell of lemon thyme?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planter the basil is taking its sweet time, but the cilantro is making great progress. We sprinkled cilantro on our chicken chili last night, and today it’s part of a marinade for our salmon dinner!

This blurry little guy is a sprout of dill I found in the Grow Camp. Every time I see a volunteer sprout pop up in the Grow Camp, I haven’t the heart to toss them! So this guy I transplanted here. He seems to be fairing OK so far.

Take a look at my brussels sprout plant! On the advice of many of you dear readers, I decided to keep one¬†and placed it in a random planter I had in the garage. I’m so glad I did! I’m looking forward to watching its progress.

On the flower front, we also have some petunias on the deck. I’m really pleased with the health of these plants. I have a sketchy history with petunias. LOL

So that’s everything that’s going on out back! It’s been very rainy the past two days, so I’m looking forward to some sun (and weeding – not looking forward to that) in the coming days.