Saturday, May 28, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
We had a warm spring and every single plant is 2 feet tall and bushy. Plus a lot of volunteers from last year are showing up. It's a good thing I love pesto.
I found an herb seller who sold Queen Anne's lace plants and ordered 4, 2 each of 2 different varieties. I put them on the dock thinking the searing heat of a Florida summer would kill these delicate little New England babies. Ha! They flowered immediately and grew all summer. I still thought that our different winter would make them unlikely repeaters.
I dutifully collected the seeds, once they were dry, and scattered them about in 4 pots in the Fall. Well...this spring I'd say 80% of the seeds germinated and I have flowers all over the dock, even where I didn't plant them. Woo-hoo.
As an aside, the Queen Anne's lace is thought to be the original carrot. It's roots smell just like a carrot. They aren't very big or very tasty, but they are the parent of every carrot you eat. The legend is that they were named after Queen Anne, who was an accomplished tatter or lace maker. One of the varieties has a tiny red bud, right in the center, which represents a drop of her blood when she stuck herself with a needle.
The lack of a vibrant honey bee population causes problems in vegetable gardens here. One solution is to try to attract native pollinators. One of these is the Mason bee. These are vigorous pollinators, but they need nesting places. These nests are sold by a great place called Gardener's Supply in Vermont. They are tubes of bamboo in a bamboo sheath.
The female lays a female egg in the back of the tube and cements it over (thus the moniker mason bee). Then she lays another, and cements again. She can get 5 or 6 in a tube. The last cavity has a male egg in it. The male hatches in due time and waits. As each female emerges, they mate. And then it starts again. I had two of these last year and they were 3/4 full by Fall. Now I have 4 nests near my garden and I have way more fruit sets than a year ago.