Garden notes; Nature notes for July 17, 2011

All of my vegetables are done except for a few Cubano Peppers just blooming.  I believe they’re just now growing because of the rain.  Do plants grow differently with rain, than they do with faucet water?  The seem to.

My Bush Cucumbers, which I’m about to pull and toss, have red bugs all over the underneath of some leaves and some stems.  My nemesis: Leaf-footed Bugs.  One, just one, hung around my tomatoes this summer and destroyed a few fruits and must have layed some eggs.  I saw some eggs a few months ago and cut the branch and tossed it in a bag for trash.  Wish I had seen these as well.  The eggs look like a brown, broken line running along a branch or stem of a plant.  These, unfortunately, had a chance to hatch.  There must be 50 of them.    When I called the County Extension Office last fall, I was told to spray them with Wasp killer.  I doubt that I can cut the leaves and branches and have them fall into a bag (the ultimate elimination) so I’ll try Wasp spray with these bugs, after I cover my Peppers, Rosemary and Okra which all sit directly beneath the infested Cucumber leaves.  Wish me luck.

My Cucumbers seemed to grow as you would imagine a long balloon fills with air: filling from one end to the other.  They’ve looked strange but the bottom end always filled out and they looked great.  The last one was very bitter; I must have left it on the stem too long.  I have two more in the refrigerator, then we’re finished eating them, except for the pickles I made.

I have 3 Rosemary plants: one in the ground, two in pots so I can bring at one inside and leave one outside all winter.  The one in the ground is looking sickly.  It’s happened before; the stems get really thick, the leaves on the bottom fall off and they get sticky.  It’s a bug.  Best I can do, since I’d like to eat them and cleaning off the sticky stuff is too much trouble, is to pull it up and throw it out.  I’ll stick to the two in the pots to get us through the winter.

I like to keep track of the trees where I live.  Just a nature journaling hobby of mine.  Last year (2010) my mom came to visit us the second week of June and the Crepe Myrtles lining Hwy 98 in Fairhope and Daphne were bright with flowers.  This year they didn’t flower until a full month later.  Is it the lack of rain or the cold winter?  Regardless, it’s worth noting.

I have 2 pair of Thrashers living in my backyard.  One has left and one has stayed.  Of the one pair that stayed, the female is without a tail.  She walks fine, and even flies.  I’ve been watching her for 2 months now.  So has a Blue Jay.  They often scrap and the male Thrasher gets involved.  She always flies away with him, leaving the Jay behind.  Hope she can grow them back.  If she was in such a scrap to lose her tail feathers and survived, she’s a tough one.  Birds molt their feathers, which grow back, but if her’s were plucked out and the skin was damaged, they may not grow back.  Who knows what happened, maybe she was born without them.

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