Many things are happening in the Garden this week. Yesterday when we went to water we saw a pair of finches snacking on the sunflowers. For a while now we have noticed that the small sunflowers in the Garden sign bed have been getting eaten. The damage was too extensive to be bugs. We weren't sure what the culprit was. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the pair having breakfast.
It is easy to forget that when you plant a garden you attract various wildlife. Some beneficial, some not so beneficial. Even though these finches are annihilating the sunflowers, they are beautiful to watch and are an important part of the Garden's ecosystem. We will be planting extra sunflowers next year to share with the birds.
Speaking of ecosystems. We are in the process of getting the Garden certified as a Monarch Way station. Due to the widespread use to herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides coupled with the increased development of neighborhoods, and shopping centers, the Monarch butterfly's habitat is dwindling. More than 100 million acres of Monarch habitat has been wiped out in recent years! In order to help protect the Monarch habitats we are going to create a Way station to provide these beautiful creatures a place to feed and lay their eggs. By planting plants that are Monarch food sources and habitats we will create a protected spot for them to stop and reproduce before continuing their yearly migrations. More information on the worthy cause can be found here at the University of Kansas website.
|Monarch on coneflower|
We still have bugs. Frustrating but part of the process of growing and maintaining a garden. The "bug juice" has proven very effective but it takes diligence to keep the bad bugs at bay. In addition to the organic spraying and sticky traps, we still pull them off as we see them to keep the damage to a minimum. The good news is the amount of bugs we see is dwindling. Once our soil is healthy, we will see this problem greatly diminished. Our garden at home is highly amended with organic compost and we have zero pest bugs. It takes a few years to get to that point. A garden is the ultimate lesson in patience.
|Mexican bean beetle having breakfast. We gave him a nice soapy "bath" afterwards.|
|Mexican bean beetle eggs that were disposed of after snapping the picture.|
|Spotted cucumber beetle who later joined the Mexican bean beetle in the soapy water.|
On a more positive note, the Garden is starting to produce bountifully. We picked another 2 pounds of veggies this morning and by the end of next week we will have more squash, string beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers ready to pick. If anyone wants fresh basil please help yourself! It is planted in with the tomatoes on the left side of the Garden if you are facing it. For now, enjoy the progress pictures we snapped this morning.
|This morning's harvest.|
|cucumber bed going crazy!|
|squash in the pumpkin bed?|
|cukes from a different angle.|
|beans close up|
We also got the wood to make the picnic tables that will go in the Garden. Stay tuned for a date and time the children will be able to come and help build them.