Can Butterfly Caterpillars Survive this Late in the Season?

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 2.13.28 PM.pngOne of our gardeners found several caterpillars in the parsley patch.

She has taken them home to watch them them transform from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

We don’t know if the butterflies will be able to fly south at that point.

Has anyone raised butterflies before to know the timing of things?

How long do they remain a chrysalis for example?

Any suggestions?

 

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What’s the Buzz?

Why it’s the bees of course.

Take a look at the bees and butterflies enjoying our pollinator plants.  Next year, we will create four pollinator beds filled with plants the bees, butterflies and birds find appealing.

If you want to be part of the buzz, let me know. We will need help planning, purchasing and planting seeds and transplants that have been donated.  If you have plants that are suitable for this endeavor, let me know.

We have two holding beds in the gardens with perennials that will be planted for the pollinators next Spring. But, we could use liatris, butterfly weed and echinacea to name a few.  Can you help?

 

Family Gardening Program – Week Two

There is a lot to do in the garden this time of year.

Today 80  young gardeners worked on: starting a new flower bed, mulching the broccoli so it doesn’t bolt,  sowing beans, weeding and water. When each group finished their working bee, we relaxed under the trees with a glass of ice, cold basil lemonade made from herbs growing in our garden.

The basil lemonade was a hit. One camper said the flavor was “distinctive,” another camper thought it tasted “like the garden” and most campers enjoyed it and asked for second and thirds.

Here is the Recipe:

One packed cup  of basil leaves washed well. Put leaves into the blender with a cup of water and puree on high. Once done, put this mixture through a strainer and into a large pticher of lemonade. Add the basil mix little by little until you reach the flavor you enjoy. It is that easy and very refreshing.

EARTH MOVERS

We could use some help with the dirt pile near the parking lot. The goal is to level it off so we can plant flowers. It was hard work for the kids. Anyone willing to help, please do. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

PLANTS

If anyone is dividing plants, please think of us. We are creating a pollinator friendly garden.  The new bed is in full sun and we hope to  grow yarrow, coneflower, Liatris, evening primrose, phlox, and asters. If you have any of these plants and can share, they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to all my generous gardening friends.

MAKING A BIRD BATH

At noon today adult gardeners made a concrete bird bath from a leaf.

Gna LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the bird bath. Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Gina LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the  basin of the bird bath.
Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Then you being to add the concrete on top of the host leaf.

Then you  adda moth textured concrete – not the kind with aggregate – on top of the hosta leaf.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered. And then let it dry for at least 48 hours.

These baths look charming in a garden and attract butterflies and insect-eating birds.   I will take a photo of the finished project next week.

Hope to see you in the garden.  And thank you for contributing to the success of the garden.

Natalie, Master Gardener and Moreau Community Garden’s Garden  Coach

 

Luna Moth

Luna mothI was very lucky this morning.

I was running errands and picking up groceries. Nothing special. I got talking to a friend who was checking out my purchases at the cash register.

She told me she saw something yellow in the parking lot and it turned out in was this moth. Some co-workers picked it up and moved it to a safer place behind the building, she said.

We went around to the woodsy area were it had been freed and it was still there in all its glory.

These moths live a very short time and I have only seen two in my lifetime. What a treat. Thanks Laura!

Amazing Day at Shelving Rock Falls

We wanted to do a photo hike but we didn’t want to be far from home, it couldn’t be too strenuous, and we wanted to see wildlife. So we went to Shelving Rock Falls and we weren’t disappointed.

This is the time of year when snapping turtles lay eggs and we found this one crossing into a pond.turtle

I must have had turtles on my mind when I downloaded my images because I swear it looks like a turtle’s head in the rocks in the falls. Do you see it?shelvingrock

The walk was good. We headed down to the lake at one point and sat on the boulders soaking in the beauty of Lake George. We heard an owl in the distance and waved at a few boaters out enjoying the quiet waters.

When our hike was just about done, we spotted these swallowtail butterflies. There were many around — in the air and on the roadway — but a group of three to five would flit about and then land together. They didn’t seem to mind our picture taking one bit.trio

It was a fine day in the woods with a friend. Thanks G.

gina

Planting Guide for Family Garden Plots at Moreau Community Garden

FG - Moreau

I spent time this morning creating a plan for Family Gardening plots with consideration given to bees, butterflies, and plants that work well together.

As you look at it, note that details, such as the heights of plants were included in the plan. This will be relevant when I’m planting and make the job easier as I will reach for the tallest first to plant in the center down to the shortest along the edge without having to read each packet.

The group of bee and butterfly luring flowers were included for maximum delight and to attract pollinators for the vegetables.

Last season, everyone enjoyed the butterflies that came through. swallowtail1

I made certain to include companion plants to repel each crop’s troublesome insect, For example, borage deters tomato hornworms and these two plants will grow side by side. Nasturtiums discourage bean beetles and, as I mentioned yesterday, dill repels squash bugs.

Hope you enjoy seeing this plan. I may tweak it a bit as I haven’t found borage seeds yet. Does anyone know where I can get some?

This weekend I will be turning the soil for the plots that are part of the Family Gardening Program.

It is too soon to plant outdoors some of vegetables and flowers I intend to grow, but a few – like peas, kale and spinach – can be seeded now.

What will you be growing? If you need help knowing what to plant and where, I will be in the garden from 9 to noon this Saturday, May 17th.

Butterflies, Herbs and Cleaning Up

I was in the garden today and Jeremy showed me these two swallowtail caterpillars on the dill in his plot. I had noticed another on parsley in another plot.swallowtailcaterpillars

An adult swallowtail lays eggs on plants that will provide food for the caterpillars. These include dill, parsley, fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace, and carrots which is one of the reasons I included some of these plants in our Family Gardening Program plots. Look around these plants for caterpillars and you may be lucky and see one.

From the time the eggs are laid to when the caterpillar creates a chrysalis is about 14 days. Once the chrysalis is formed, it takes about 2 more weeks before a butterfly emerges. You will know the chrysalis is nearing the time it will open when it becomes transparent. It is hard work for the butterfly to emerge and when it does it will stay in place for a while and dry its wings. This is a great time to get photos.

Communal Herb Garden

Plot34My first order of business this morning was moving herbs to plot #34. This will be the communal herb plot for all Moreau Community Garden gardeners. Right now dill, thyme, marjoram, cilantro, basil and tarragon are growing in the bed. Some will reseed, some won’t and others are hardy enough that they will come back next year.

Having a communal bed means we don’t all have to grow these herbs, gardeners can take a snippet or two as needed from the communal bed.

If you have a hardy herb to share — such as Greek oregano — please feel free to add it to plot 34. But don’t add any invasive herbs, such as mint or lemon balm. These would take over and defeat our goal.

Cleaning up after Early Blight

As you clean tomatoes that have early blight out of your plots, remember that you need to remove the roots as well. I noticed that some people are clearing their plots but not weeding or removing roots. Early Blight can overwinter on plant debris, so it is important that everyone be meticulous and do a good job cleaning our beds and the weeds around them.

We are expecting a delivery of cow manure. When it arrives, add it to your cleaned bed and work it into the soil. The nutrients and microbes in the manure will do wonders to improve the health of our garden.

The donation of the cow manure is coming from Todd Kusnierz – one of our Town Board members – and is truly appreciated. It will really help improve the soil.