Saturday, August 29, 2009

Calm before the Storms

Today we are getting hit by three different fronts all colliding at once. My trusty weatherman has taken to calling it "hybrid storm Danny" since one of the fronts is the remains of tropical storm Danny. Danny is a warm weather system. We also have a nor'easter hitting at the same time. Nor'easters are storms formed by cold weather. So it will be a wild day.

Yesterday the wild life and your trusty gardener were preparing for the storm in own ways. The wild turkeys were roosting in the backyard woods occasionally taking a break to scratch in the dirt for bugs. They weren't too pleased by my going out to garden.

What are you looking at me for? Go mind your own business.

They decided to find a less busy spot to roost over the fence in my neighbor's yard. I wonder what they do during a big storm. Do they hunker down or do they start looking for the worms that rise to the surface during heavy rains?

The bees were busy in the sedum collecting nectar. This plant was swarming with bees. It was quite fun to watch. Sadly during the sunflower bee count there were no bees. Now I know where they all went.

I had another rush of busyness in the garden. I put in the last of the fall seedlings. I had 5 komatsuna, 2 tatsoi and a handful of lettuce plants that went in. My laundry room seems so dark now. The seedlings are all gone. The grow light is off - at least until next year.

No more eggplants

Then I ripped out my eggplant. The only one that was putting out nice eggplants were my Slim Jims and with the sun so low they are now shaded most of the day by my bean plants. I figured it was time to plant spinach and mache anyway.

I didn't plant the seeds yet. They might get washed away since we are predicted to have 3-5 inches of rain, but I did prepare the beds. I added compost to this spot and where some of the onions used to grow. Then turned it under. I'd been waiting for the weather to break before planting out and now we have some nice cool weather predicted. Now I just need to somehow keep the sowbugs and slugs from eating the seedlings before they are really up. I've never grown mache before. I got the seed from Michelle over at From Seed To Table. I'm hoping they will overwinter.


  1. I'm trying mache for the first time this year too. I started mine under some kohlrabi and hope to put the cold frame over it.

  2. We had one of those storms last night. After hitting use it tracked north and then it was pushed down the coast. Lots of rain and cold weather came with it, what else is new this summer, hehe. Cool to see all the wild turkeys and the bees too. I have had no honey bees in my bee counts, mostly just bumble bee's. Last year the slugs ate all my fall lettuce seedings, I too am hope they leave them alone this year.

  3. Ah the gardening year. Sad to see Summer crops go, but there's some consolation in lovely Fall crops to come. Yesterday was warm and sunny here, but this morning is a typical Fall one - rainy and cold.

    A little off topic but I'm fascinated with the turkeys. We certainly don't get those numbers in Quebec, not on my side of the river anyway. (North shore) So they just strut around ppl's backyards ? Are you in a very populated area ? Are they regarded as a nuisance ? What are the hunting rules ?

    The bee on the sedum is just lovely.

  4. Emily, I'm going to put remay over it. I'm wondering about doing the double layer over the winter. First remay then plastic.

    Dan, I've had just one honey bee in my counts. My counts are almost over though. The last blossom is about to open and it is tiny. Most of the flowers have set seed already.

    Miss M, Yup they just tromp around people's backyards. We live in a suburb of Boston and not one that is very far out either. I think we are about 7 miles from Boston as the crow flies. So yes we are pretty populated. Our neighborhood has a lot of land though. We own 1/2 acre and it is very wooded around here. Wild turkeys have only been in our neck of the woods for about five years. But they breed like crazy. I see flocks of two adults and 12 kids every year. They are pretty nonchalant about people and cars. They won't let you get close, but you can get within 20 feet of them. They often block traffic. Well since we are so close to Boston in a populated area, we can't hunt them here. You can hunt in the wildlife management areas (usually state forests), but not in suburbia. They aren't yet regarded as a nuisance, but if their breeding habits keep up I'm sure they will be.

  5. Hope the storm isn't too bad there, Daphne. We're supposed to get heavy rain here again, which just means we might be able to make the lawn into hay when we can finally mow it again. Heh.

  6. Batten down the hatches! The turkeys are fun - thank you for sharing some pictures of them.

    Definitely in fall mode here too. The nights are cooler/damper, the sun strength is diminishing, and the day length is shorter and shorter. My big patch of fall lettuces and the smaller patch of spinach are up. As soon as the bush beans are finished with the seed setting for saving - then I will plant that whole bed in spinach to overwinter for the early spring eating. I have mache to plant too but have not decided where I want to tuck that in.

    On the slugs. One method to keep a lettuce or spinach patch protected is to buy 4 sticks of copper water pipe tubing. If you can afford the larger diameter it works best. Then make sure your plants and planting area are completely free of slugs... and then create a copper pipe corral around the area by laying them down with the corners touching. You can get really fancy and use elbows and solder it together to create a solid fence - but not necessary! The pipe is reusable year after year - just clean it wiht some steel wool and cleaner until it is bright and you are good to go for another season. Copper is the only natural barrier that is reusable and effective that I have found. I use it alot in my garden in various fashions because slugs are a huge issue in the rainy wooded areas of the pacific northwest where I live and garden.

  7. Oh god....if I had turkeys like that in my backyard, the hunters would wipe them out. They are interesting to watch! The picture of the bee is one of the best photos I've ever seen! should get a professional print of it, and hang it on your wall. Good luck with the storms....

  8. I'm planning on getting my fall veggie crop in soon too. Hope you don't get hit too hard with rain. We had alittle this morning and it blew on by.

  9. I love your photos of the turkeys! Turkey's in your backyard... lol. The whole idea is so foreign to me. I think its great.

    And your picture of the bee is fantastic. Well done =)

    Best of luck with your fall seedlings.

  10. Such a beautiful photo of the bee. Our weatherperson predicted 100% rain today and we had pure blazing sun - some evidence that crazy things will be happening soon.

  11. We're getting our "fall" weather -- blistering heat. It will get better and I'll wish I'd been as proactive a you! Enjoy your storms.

  12. kitsapFG, I've thought about using copper, but haven't done it yet. It is expensive and doesn't deal with the sow bugs. Of course I transport the sow bugs to the garden when I add compost. I probably transport slugs too :<

    EG, those turkeys would probably taste quite good and they could use to be thinned out at this point. It is quite illegal though. I remember as a child (in CO not MA) that the deer would bed down right outside of the sliding glass door to our living room. My dad couldn't touch them. He would have to go halfway across the state to where his permits told him he could hunt. We wish he could get the deer right outside the door since they occasionally broke into the garden which had an 11' high fence.

    Racquel, it wasn't too bad. Just 2.5" of rain. A lot less than they predicted.

    Dot, I love the turkeys so far. They have yet to tear up my garden and any animal that doesn't destroy is good in my book. They have put a couple of holes in one of my row covers, but that is it.

    Wendy, lol sounds like our predictions this summer. They predict one thing and they get another. The patterns this summer were weird.

    Stefaneener, we are getting nights in the 50s again. It makes it so nice to sleep. Heat in the fall would just be weird.