The Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) was a familiar sight in the Missouri Ozarks. Between mowing and spraying herbicide this beautiful plant has become more scarce.
This particular milkweed can grow very large (up to 6 1/2 feet tall). The profuse flowers vary from pinkish to purplish in color. The coveted Monarch Butterfly caterpillars are the chief consumer of the leaves and stems. The caterpillars prefer the more tender newer smaller leaves.
The Great Spangled Fritillary adores this plant! Today I counted 20 butterflies on one plant!
It is an amazing spectacle to see how the Fritillaries covet this “common” plant!
Do yourself a favor and plant as many of these special plants to perpetuate the threatened Monarch Butterfly and enjoy a truly beautiful perennial plant!
My old nemesis the Tomato Hornworm is back! They certainly are an impressive creature!
When the Five Spotted Hawk (Manduca quinquemaculata) moth finds a tomato plant, it will lay one or several eggs on the tomato plant. When the eggs hatch, the little caterpillar will eat its egg case and starts to eat like crazy! The caterpillar will molt several times until it becomes mature and ready to burrow in the ground and metamorphize into a chrysalis. By late spring the chrysalis will open and a new moth appears in late spring/early summer. Finally the cycle starts all over again.
It is incredible how fast an almost mature caterpillar can strip a tomato plant. I recommend removing the worms by hand. Usually the creatures are found alone hiding amongst the damage. Beware, there color is a great camouflage! Check out the size of this critter!!
BTW, here is another indicator of their escapades. Giant worm poop!!!
You have to admit, they are amazing!!!!!!
Last year green beans were out of the question due to a plague of Japanese beetles. This year started out, pretty much the same. I am determined to get a good crop of green beans. To accomplish this feat, I have to get rid of the dreaded Japanese beetles by mid July.
Just look at the damage they do!!
I decided to try Japanese beetle traps. (If you need traps, I can recommend these over on Amazon.com: Japanese Beetle Trap.) The trap consists of two plastic rectangles (holes punched and slotted), pheromone lure, plastic bags and a twist tie. I have made a modification to the collection bag by cutting off the bottom of the bag and suspending the trap in a 5 gallon bucket filled with one to two gallons of soapy water.
The beetles are lured to the pheromone, fall into the bag and drop to the soapy water.
A large tomato cage was used to suspend the trap above the soapy water. I use dish soap vs dish detergent. The soap bio-degrades and is friendly to the environment.
If I used just the bags, I would easily go through three to four bags per day. What a waste! You can use the same bag over and over again. The bucket is emptied once a day. The soapy water kills the beetles within minutes. I toss the dead beetles out in an out of the way place to break down and compost on their own.
The two traps have easily killed thousands of Japanese beetles. YES!!!!!!! I am already seeing a difference. There seems to be fewer beetles.
PS: Green Beans VS Japanese Beetles, Beetles Win!
Garden peas and sugar snap peas were planted a week ago! They should be up in about a week.
Bachelor Buttons, Shasta Daisy, Pansies, Snap Dragons, Marigolds, Foxglove and other flower seed were planted in cell trays. Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower were started as well.
Tomato and Pepper seed will be planted tomorrow. Full production has started in earnest!
Flowers have started to bloom. The Crocus and jonquils are showing their lovely blooms!
Watch for more gardening goodies!!!
The Fall season is my favorite time of year! Leaves changing color, final summer harvest and cool, delightful weather. The Fall mums are in bloom. Time to enjoy!
I almost forgot, beautiful sunsets!!!!
There’s more to come.
You desire to grow some late tomatoes, but you didn’t start more seed. What do you do?
Take an old shallow container, drill holes in the bottom and root tomato cuttings in vermiculite and water. It’s actually pretty simple. Tomato plants are actually very tough.
Find a container that will hold coarse vermiculite and water ( a plastic dishpan works great!!). Drill several 3/8 inch holes in the bottom of the container. By the way, you may use a large shallow nursery pot as well. Now place about 3 to 4 inches of coarse vermiculite in the container. Water the vermiculite to supply moisture to the cuttings. Allow excess water to drain prior to taking cuttings.
Carefully take cuttings from desired tomato plants using garden pruners. I have found, the larger the cutting, the easier to root! Place the cuttings in the moistened vermiculite about 3 inches apart. I place my rooting container in the shade to maintain proper hydration of the new cuttings. Usually it takes 10 to 14 days for proper rooting.
You may notice raised bumps or even small roots starting on the stem. These cuttings are the easiest to root.
Look at the results after just 10 days.
Now it is time to pot up your rooted cuttings in large containers to use for transplant in 10 days.
Water the newly potted cuttings and place in a lightly shaded area. Gradually move the pots into more sun light. Plant the potted plants as you would any transplant.
This an easy, effective way to start large, quick growing tomato plants.
Absolutely amazing! 110° (F) heat and my dahlias are thriving. Originally from Mexico, dahlias can take it to a sultry 120° (F). These two heirloom seed varieties (Double flowered & Cactus flowered) will grow to a height of 6 feet.
I love the colors and shapes. Check out this collage!
These beauties will be great for cut flowers. Make sure you have 15 to 18 inches of stem. Immerse the flower stems in 160° (F) water until water cools off. Place the flowers in new water with a floral preservative and they will last for 4 – 6 days. I hope to have enough to sell by mid-August.
Zinnias are up next to sell in the Fall. Florists love the bright colors when you can’t get them!
See you soon!