Felix, Spongy Moth Caterpillars, And The Garden Happenings

 



Hello friends!

Do you remember me writing about our feral cat friend who we've named Felix?  Well, I finally got a picture of him/her.  I'll call Felix a "he" for ease of writing.  He's getting a bit friendlier to me, or maybe more curious with me than my husband.  Friendlier might be too strong of a term, but I'm hoping we're making headway toward that.

He'll sit where he can see me and watch me walk around the yard and water, weed the flowers, garden, etc.  I talk to him the whole time and make sure to never walk directly toward him so he doesn't feel threatened in any way.  He lays on the stonewall and just observes.  He'll also lay on the stonewall outside the living room window where I sit on the couch in the evenings and face toward me, and sometimes we find him sitting right next to or under my vehicle.

My husband thinks I'm nuts for caring for this little guy.  He is convinced he has a home however I am not.  Regardless, Felix enjoys being around me (at a safe distance) so I'm happy to give him food and water and treat him as my outdoor cat.  The nice thing, is he doesn't demand to be petted.  Because I'm allergic to cats it's an issue with Jack who I have to pet from time-to-time and diligently wash up immediately after.  It keeps him happy and from getting his feelings hurt...



I think the spongy moth caterpillars are just about gone.  I can't tell you how disgusting they are.  Because they were here in such a large quantity it was just downright gross.  They constantly propelled out of trees, crawled all over everything, and have completely stripped trees of their leaves.  

It honestly looks like fall in some areas because there's not a leaf left.

The trees that were stripped entirely are finally starting to grow leaves once again.  Next year we will try to figure out how to keep as many as possible from climbing our trees.  There are a few suggestions on the DEC website but we've heard from others that they weren't completely successful.  


As noted in the last post, the garden is coming along.  Here's a photo of the main potato hill.  

ignore the weeds.  I do!  😄

Don't they look great?  I am super excited.


We are going to have a LOT of summer squash.  Initially, something was eating my plants.  Only the summer squash.  They didn't look like they would survive so I planted 8 more plants.  Just in case.  I ended up only losing 2 plants so now we'll have 12 plants.  Yikes!  But I did find out (last year or the year before, I can't remember which) that I LOVE dehydrated summer squash.  It is sooooo delicious added to soup, stir fry, or just sauteing as a side.  So hopefully we will have a plethora of jars full of dehydrated squash slices.




We have been continually harvesting sugar snap peas, lettuces, kale, bok choy, and radish, and we're still getting a handful of asparagus spears each week.  We have green tomatoes on the vines and are patiently watching them daily for growth and (eventually) color change.  One zucchini plant has quite a bit of tiny fruit on it, and a few others have blossoms.  All of our pepper plants are featuring teeny tiny peppers, and the broccoli and cauliflower plants are growing daily.  I have succession planted them (and am continuing to do that) so hopefully we'll receive a nice harvest of at least broccoli.  Cauliflower can sometimes cause problems for me.

Do you see the yellow leaves that are shriveled on the ground?  That's what the entire plant looked like.

Our green bean plants are also succession planted and most are coming along nicely.  As noted in my last post, we have a few that did not look good.  The strange thing is that of the 8 green bean plants in the same raised bed, the 4 on the right side of the bed turned yellow while the 4 on the left are a beautiful green and are very healthy.  I did add free compost/soil from our town to each of my raised beds this year and did not test the soil once it was added.  My pepper plants don't look too terribly healthy either (they are in a separate raised bed).  

As a response, I've been working on amending for these affected plants and they all seem to be doing better.  The yellowed green bean plants are shedding their yellow leaves and the new growth is now a beautiful, healthy green.  Fingers crossed everything will pull through.

All other plants are very healthy.  So far.

Last year I tested adding our lawn clippings to one of the garden raised beds as a mulch and it did well, so that's what I'm adding this year.  It's frugal, healthy for the plants and soil, and will break down and compost over winter.

I wasn't able to get any of the towns free wood chips this year which is what we've been laying in our garden walkways.  I'm going to try putting some grass clippings down just to try and control the weed growth in the areas not mulched.


Speaking of the garden, have you pre-ordered your garlic yet for fall planting?  Jack wants to remind you to get your order placed before they sell out!!



How is your garden growing?

10 comments

Laurie said...

My husband just got an email from the company we get garlic from, saying they're taking orders, so we'll do that soon. I'm glad those caterpillars are on their way out. Defoliating trees sounds pretty awful. You're a lovely soul to look out for Felix. It sounds like he's growing rather attached to you.

Can you tell me how you treat the dehydrated squash before sauteing? I assume you soak it for a time? I tried drying some years ago, and don't remember how I tried it, but didn't love it. It'd be nice to find a way we like it. I usually can any extra, but dehydrating is so much easier, as well as space saving.

Broccoli is so good! I put on my to do list to find out when to plant seeds for a fall crop. I'm guessing any day now. It doesn't do well in the southern heat, but I hope I can manage some for the fall.

Staci said...

Hi Laurie - yes, the damage done to the trees by those caterpillars was pretty awful.

Dehydrated squash....I'm assuming you found it to be a bit rubbery? It is indeed, just a tad rubbery, but I like it to have more firmness in some dishes (as opposed to the frozen that turns mushy), so I will be doing both this year. I need to start pressure canning, but still haven't tried it out.

Anyway, you can dehydrate the squash shredded or sliced. I find that if I dehydrate it on low it breaks down a bit quicker in storage - doesn't last all winter/spring at the same quality. If I dehydrate it on a bit higher temp, it does last longer. To rehydrate, soak in boiling water 10-15 minutes. I also like eating the dehydrated sliced zucchini as zucchini chips!

I have a hard time with broccoli in the summer here too because, although this year has been pretty mild so far, we usually have fairly high heat and humidity too.

I hope this helps! Thanks so much for visiting!!

Kathy said...

Love your Potato mound....we have grown potatoes once years ago when the kids were little and I still love looking at the photos of them finding the potatoes in the dirt. Have a good week.

daisy g said...

What a sweet kitty. You have found a fellow gardener. ;0D

Sounds like things are moving along quite nicely in the garden. It seems that you have no squash bugs. Is that possible?

Enjoy your daily harvest!

Laurie said...

Yes, rubbery squash, and it didn't keep well. I have an old, cheapie dehydrator with no heat settings, but will see if keeping the vents more closed does the trick. Thank you for explaining your process!

Staci said...

Thanks for visiting Kathy. What a lovely memory you have of growing potatoes. Wishing you a wonderful week as well!

Staci said...

Hi Daisy - so far so good, but I'm sure the squash bugs are just waiting to attack.... Yes, Felix is a very good gardener-helper. Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful weekend!

Staci said...

Laurie - it will still be slightly rubbery, even with increased heat settings, but it will hold its form for a longer period of time. There's just nothing that compares to fresh, is there? Have a wonderful weekend!

Mary, Windy Meadows Farm said...

Oh those moths...yikes, falling from trees? Haven't seen those here in Ohio, hope they're gone soon, that would be enough to keep be indoors. Love the potato mound, I'll have to try that...I planted two rows but only see two plants peeking up. But of course those impossible to carve pumpkins I tossed in the garden last fall are growing like crazy. And I love garlic...our library was giving away seeds this year along with garlic and I planted it in May (like it told me to) I don't see a thing coming up...maybe as the weather gets cooler, but I have a feeling the heat was too much. And so it goes...always something to learn! Take care! Mary

Staci said...

Hi Mary - of course the throw away pumpkins will grow better than anything else. It always seems to happen that way. Bummer about the garlic. You may have better luck trying a fall planting, although I've had something similar one year with my fall planting too. Yes indeed, there is definitely always something to learn.
Have a wonderful weekend!