New and Improved Asparagus Bed!

After doing more reading I realized the six asparagus crowns I planted would be not much more than an appetizer for our asparagus loving family.  I seriously needed to plant MORE!

But where?

As most good ideas do it came to me in the middle of the night.  (Everyone wakes up at 4 am with gardening on their mind, right?)

dream

Anyway it came to me.

  THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN! 

Well not IN the butterfly garden.  I could MOVE the butterfly garden.  I could move it to the back of the garden flower bed.  The one I call my ‘formal’ flower bed.

Formal – poo – I want asparagus!

So I went to work moving the plants in my butterfly garden.  Most were big enough to divide so I did that too.  I tried to place them where I thought the color combinations and heights would look best but to tell you the truth in some cases I did not even know what some of them were because some of my garden markers blew over.   (OK, they didn’t so much blow over as got ‘picked’ by a certain little pint sized garden helper).

DSCN2800.JPG

It is going to be AWESOME!

 

I am super excited though because the bed is a lot more densely planted which means fewer weeds and it will be a RIOT of flowers




I am also super excited about the NEW AND IMPROVED ASPARAGUS BED.

 We  prepared the trench, added sand for drainage, compost for nutrients, and bone meal for root growth.

DSCN2840

We put in 35 asparagus crowns.  That should keep us in plenty of asparagus for the rest of our lives!  ❤

DSCN2833.JPG

If you have an unused part of lawn, like maybe over by your fence, and you buy asparagus to eat each spring, you should probably put in an asparagus bed!

Go on, DO IT!

A few other spring updates:

Peas, lettuce, onions, radishes and carrots are up in the garden.My indoor seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, okra, cabbage and marigolds are getting big.

DSCN2814.JPG

I can’t wait to get these outside!

The honeysuckle vine more than doubled in size before I finally got it planted outside and it is doing well.  All fruit trees including the new and old Paw Paws have leaves.

DSCN2812.JPG

Leaves on the new PawPaw.

 Best of all – the Wisteria LIVES!

DSCN2801.JPG

I ❤ Wisteria!

It’s not gardening but I have to brag – this week my granddaughter Haley qualified for the Olympics in Womens’ Freestyle Wrestling!  She is Rio bound!

hay2

 How are things in your spring garden?

Advertisements

I Am At It Again!

And you should be too.

I’m helping Monarch caterpillars hatch, grow, and become butterflies.

It is a very rewarding project.

Taking the eggs from the Milkweed plants and protecting them until they are butterflies increases the survival of this amazing species.

You may or may not know:

  • Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed which is less plentiful now due to herbicide use and loss of our prairie land due to construction and expansion.
  • The last generation of Monarchs to hatch each season do not die in a few weeks like previous generations, but live long enough to migrate to their winter homes – mostly in Mexico.
butterflies-1

The trees are covered with the over-wintering Monarchs. I would love to see this someday!

  • Monarch numbers have decreased from a couple billion to only 50-some million!

You can read more about the remarkable Monarch here:

http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

Simple things you can do to help Monarchs:

  • PLANT MILKWEED!  If you plant it they will come!  There are several varieties of Milkweed that will survive, multiply and beautiful your garden.  Monarchs will come and lay their eggs on your milkweed plants.
DSCN2542

Milkweed blooming in my garden. The flowers smell amazing!

  • BEWARE to not get your milkweed from your local large garden center or home improvement store because they will most likely be treated with insecticides.  The caterpillars that hatch on this mildewed will DIE. Read about one person this happened to here:

http://michiganradio.org/post/how-help-monarch-butterflies-without-poisoning-them#stream/0

  • Plant nectar flowers for the adult Monarchs.  Nectar flowers are the beautiful flowers you love anyway and the nectar provides nourishment for the adults. It is especially important to plant fall blooming nectar flowers such as asters, so the season’s last generation of  Monarchs will have food for their migration.
Monarch on zinnia 8 14 15

A beautiful Monarch nectaring on a zinnia in my garden,

  • Rescue or ‘adopt’ Monarch eggs or caterpillars and raise them in a protected environment and then release the adult butterflies.

It’s easy!

Here is what I did, you can do it too:

I ‘harvested’ Monarch eggs off my Milkweed plants. If you don’t grow Milkweed in your garden you can find it in fields or along the road in rural or even not so rural areas.  Make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.

The eggs are small whitish dots on the underside of your Milkweed leaves.

Monarch cat

See the egg – nearly in the center of the photo? A tiny caterpillar is on the edge of the same leaf, below and slightly to the left of the egg.

 I put the eggs, and one teeny tiny caterpillar I found in a opaque Rubbermaid tote.

Some people I know use a clear cup or jar but I wanted mine to have more room.

The small caterpillars will not leave their food source of Milkweed leaves but when they get larger and ready to form a chrysalis they will become more mobile and you will want to fasten a net or screen over your habitat.

My husband ordered me a super-cool habitat off Amazon.  I can’t wait!

Give your Monarch caterpillar(s) a daily (later even more than daily) supply of Milkweed leaves to munch on.

MAKE SURE ANY MILKWEED LEAVES YOU GIVE THEM ARE NOT TREATED WITH CHEMICALS!

(I can’t say it enough)

Put newspaper or paper towels on the bottom of your habitat bercause the caterpillars poop A LOT and you want to keep them clean and healthy.

Your caterpillar(s) will EAT and EAT and GROW and GROW!

book

They remind me of the caterpillar in my grandson Carter’s favorite book.

Finally they will slow their movements and form a ‘J’ shape and then soon after form a beautiful chrysalis.  When the chrysalis becomes clear and you can see Monarch orange and black markings through it the butterfly will soon emerge.  It’s wings will be shriveled at first but they will soon unfurl and grow strong.

Now you can release your adult Monarch into your garden and pat yourself on the back because you just did a wonderful and important thing and helped make the world a better place!

 I will share the progress and photos of my caterpillars in future posts.

I hope I have encouraged you to give it a try.  If you are not up to ‘rescuing’ eggs and caterpillars perhaps you will at least consider planting Milkweed and nectar plants in your garden.

I would love you to share what you are doing to help the Monarchs!

Spring Is Busy In The Garden!

There are always a million things to do and I have been too busy – aka having too much fun-  to write much.

Not sorry.

We got 6 fruit trees planted – 2 Paw Paws, 2 apricot and 2 pears. One of the Paw Paws and one apricot are still dormant but alive.( I did the ‘scratch’ test)  but the others are leafing out nicely.

DSCN2348

We splurged on a larger apricot tree from the garden center.

DSCN2356

The trees from Stark Bros were smaller and dormant when they arrived but they soon leafed out,

DSCN2418

This is one of the pears

DSCN2409

The Paw Paw!

DSCN2388

We planted a weeping cherry tree for decoration.

I splurged and got a Wisteria.  I have always wanted one and the type I got, Amethyst Falls, is an American variety, less invasive and it blooms when only 2 years old!

I am in love. 

DSCN2410

Blooming already!

The tomato,  pepper,, broccoli and cabbage seedlings are in.  Snap peas, beans, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, radishes and carrots are up and the bunnies are even leaving me some!

DSCN2397

This was earlier this spring. There are now also pepper, cabbage and broccoli plants here.

The milkweed I moved last fall survived and is popping up with a vengeance.

DSCN2416

Milkweed and other perennials in the Butterfly garden.

I planted more native plants that I received from Prairie Nursery.  I was happy with their fast shipping, great packing and the quality of the plants.

DSCN2421

My baby Queen of the Prairie…..

q

One day it will look like this!

We put the littles out to the ‘transition’ coop a few weeks ago and today we opened up the gate between their and the older gals’ pens.

I am happy to say there was no bloodshed!

DSCN2435

Nothing beats getting acquainted over a yummy meal of weeds!

I hope you are having as much fun this spring!

I Am So Pissed Off About Neonicotinoids!

Hard to spell, hard to pronounce, even harder to stomach!

Shocked

Have you heard of them?

  Neonicotinoids are a type of insecticide that works SYSTEMICALLY which means it makes all parts of the plant poisonous to insects.  The leaves, roots. pollen and nectar are poisonous!

sign

You would never knowingly purchase poisonous plants would you?  Especially if you were trying to plant a bee or butterfly garden.  But that is exactly what you are doing if you have bought your plants at a large garden center.

beware1

From a report published by Friends of The Earth:

Unfortunately, home gardeners have no idea they may actually be poisoning pollinators through their efforts to plant bee-friendly gardens. The plants included in this new study were purchased from major nursery outlets and garden centers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart in 18 cities throughout all four official geographic regions of the U.S., as well as three provinces of Canada…

I am so angry that I just want to SCREAM!  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Is there no end to corporate greed and irresponsibility toward the planet?

I guess this short cartoon sums it up:

By the way – seeds are also treated with neonicotinoids.

All of our corn, most of our soy and other grains are treated.

spraying

Several European countries have banned these chemicals, but a bill to suspend their use in the US went to congress and never left committee – do you wonder why?  Neonicotinoids are produced by Shell and Bayer, right here in the Good Ole USA.

neon protest

I hope you would never find a reason to use an insecticide but if you do, please check your labels and know if you are using neonicotinoids.

This link contains names of products containing them.

http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/registration/reevaluation/chemicals/niclistofproducts.pdf

It is recommended that if you must poison a pest, use a product that is specific, that targets the pest you want to kill instead of EVERY insect in the garden.

A recent report from the Xerces Society states that ornamental plants treated with a soil drench of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) have concentrations of imidacloprid high enough to kill bees in the blossoms for months to years following treatment.  Imidacloprid lasts longer than a year and using it annually on plants may increase the amounts found in pollen and nectar.

bee

Imidacloprid is sold under a variety of brand names (Merit; Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree and Shrub Insect Control; Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 Insect, Disease and Mite Control; Bonide Annual Grub Beater; Ortho Max Tree & Shrub Insect Control; Premise and others).  It is used to control a variety of insect pests including cockroaches and bed bugs in homes, white grubs in the lawn, and tree-feeding pests like Japanese beetle.

bayer

If you are as concerned as I am, please check if your local garden center sells Neonicotinoid treated plants.  If they do please refuse to buy from them.

I just ordered some plants from this place which does not use neonicotinoids:

http://www.prairienursery.com/

Contact Congress and let them know you want a ban on neonicotinoid use:

http://action.foe.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13977

Support groups like Friends of the Earth and Xerces Society:

http://www.foe.org/about-us

http://www.xerces.org/

Petition Lowes, Home Depot and Wal Mart to not use neonicotinoids.

http://action.foe.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14141

I have included the links to make it easy for you to get educated and speak out.

We have got to do something!

What A Wonderful Organization!

They have been around for over 35 years but I just recently heard of them.  They are called The Wild Ones and they want to eliminate lawns in favor of native plants.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE, LOVE their mission:

Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Wild Ones is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization.

 You can read about them here:

http://www.wildones.org/

If you read my post about Front Yard Gardens, You know how I feel about the care and feeding of useless, bland lawns.

If your missed it you can read it here:

https://ruthschickens.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/front-yard-gardens/

I think using the space to grow food is much more practical.  However, many people don’t have the time to tend a front yard (or any) vegetable garden.

There are even some people – gasp – who don’t like gardening at all!

A ‘lawn’ of native plants, unmowed and seeding themselves year after year is NO WORK AT ALL!

wild 3

  No chemicals, no wasted water, no noisy mowing or trimming!

wild4

WONDERFUL!

wild2

Imagine if EVERYONE had native landscapes instead of lawns.  Can you imagine walking down a city or suburban street with tall prairie grasses and wildflowers on both sides of  you?  There would be butterflies, bees and birds busily doing their thing, being happy and healthy, enjoying the shelter these plants provide.  The roots of these plants go deep and filter storm run off, which means cleaner water again.

wild 1

We have to stop thinking of these plants as weeds. 

dandi

My favorite flower!

We have to stop thinking of weeds as bad.

weeds

When I lived in IL, I used to take long walks through the neighborhood.  There was one very interesting house that was on a corner.  Almost every inch of the yard was native plants, except for a path or two mowed through the tall wildflowers and grass, and a small clearing for a table and chairs.  The yard had towering plants on each side of the sidewalk.  It was so different from the surrounding yards, startling at first but not ugly.  I am convinced after reading the Wild Ones website and list of members, that this house was owned by one of their members.

Something interesting would happen when I walked by this house.  It was alsmost like walking in a tunnel with the tall plants on both sides.  I am sure that if you were to blindfold me and lead me down the street, I would still know the exact moment I entered this space.

wild with path

  IT FELT DIFFERENT!

It felt PEACEFUL.  It was quieter,  had a different ‘vibe’.  I swear to you, there was an energy I could FEEL.  I know it sounds like some crazy talk but insist it is TRUE.

We need these gardens.  We don’t need lawns.  We can do it!  Just start with a small patch of native plants and then take it from there. Every little bit will help heal the earth.

small weed garden

  WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA!

My Butterfly Garden, Supporting the Monarch Butterfly!

When I lived in Illinois two of my granddaughters came for the summer.  We did a lot of fun things but one thing that I really enjoyed was gathering Monarch butterfly eggs and bringing them home to watch them hatch,monarch eggs

grow into big fat and beautiful caterpillars,

MonarchCaterpillarI-87-8

form a chrysalis

monarch-chrysalis

and emerge as the lovely butterfly.

monarch1

This pic shows the different stages of chrysalis formation.

monarch3 monarch-on-milkweed-500x357

So awesome!

 I read up on  the amazing life cycle and the even more amazing fall migration of the Monarch butterfly.  Nature is so very AWESOME and one place this is very evident is in how the Monarchs migrate to Mexico each winter.

migrate

I URGE you to become familiar with this!

I was saddened to learn that this wonderful species is in danger because the Milkweed plants that they lay their eggs on and on which the caterpillars feed, are being wiped out.

You may notice tall lovely milkweed plants along the roadside.

milkweed

Although once plentiful, these plants are dwindling in numbers  because of urban sprawl and from the use of herbicides.  Monarch numbers are dwindling and it is a shame to think that one day we may never see these lovely creatures.

Because I have such love and admiration for the Monarchs I decided to plant a butterfly garden and hope to one day soon have it certified as a Monarch Way-Station.

I hope that I may convince you to do the same.

Last year I searched until I found a garden store that sold Milkweed plants.  I was lucky and scored plants of 3 different milkweed varieties.milkweed2milkweed

Milkweed6

If you are not able to find plants in your local plant store you can order seeds online.

Milkweed is the host plant which means it is food for the catterpillars.  You will also need nectar plants in a butterfly garden which provide food for the butterflies themselves.  Lucky for me and you – these nectar plants are beautiful and fragrant additions to your garden.

bfly

A few varieties of nectar plants are:  Coneflowers, Asters, Black Eyed Susans, Monarda, Liatris, Joe Pye Weed, and Zinnia.

 Many cities have butterfly houses connected with their botanical centers – Here in Iowa we have a wonderful one in Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames Iowa.

http://www.reimangardens.com/

If you have a butterfly house near you I urge you to visit it.  Once you visit a butterfly house you will be inspired to attract these wonderful creatures to your garden.

The links below are great sources to learn about the Monarch butterfly, how to attract it to your garden and help it to survive.

http://www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2014/June/bringing-butterflies-back-to-the-garden.html

http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_30186.cfm

monarch

This is one of the Monarch butterflies I hatched and released

 

Are you inspired to create a butterfly garden and plant milkweed plants to help the Monarch butterfly?

  I want to become a ‘garden guerrilla’ and plant milkweed EVERYWHERE!

(Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh – don’t tattle on me)

 If you have a butterfly garden I would love to hear about it!

bfly1

 

 

 

 

 

Juniper Journeys

:it's time to put on your boots and move to higher ground.

slcriger

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Make Me Some Soap...

A blog for folks who love using and making handmade soap

On The Upside

Saddle up! Let's take a ride...

Gumboots and Grammar

My passion is my strength

Restorable Living

The art of reclaiming daily life.

pipafineart.wordpress.com/

Helpful articles to improve your own nature and landscape photography explorations. You will also see stunning landscape and nature photographs created by award winning landscape and nature photographer Melissa Fague.

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

No Milk Today

Allergy or Food Intolerance: Delicious Dairy-Free Recipes, DIY & more :)

THE UNFETTERED FOX

Curious facts and cautionary tales ~ adventures in rural living

The house by the sea foodwaves

I´m here only for the food

SunshineHelpMeGrow

A stereotypical college student just trying to get by...

rachelmankowitz

The Cricket Pages

Goldenrod Homestead

Permaculture and Market Gardening

Back Porch Sheep

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Butterfly Garden

Attracting & sustaining butterflies and growing native flowers.

A Note From Abroad

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

GARDEN OF EADY

Bring new life to your garden!

Crazy Green Thumbs

Chronicling a delusional gardening experience.

%d bloggers like this: