Friday, May 19, 2017

Cuba photos

We've been back from our three-week trip to Cuba for several months now. It was an interesting trip and a bit hard to digest, particularly around food security and the myth of wild Cuba.

Google albums doesn't let me label images, as I quickly selected ones to show my sister and her husband next week.

But, this link should work, if you're interested in seeing a travel sequence.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Woodchucks and herbivory

Buttercrunch lettuces chewed by a neighborhood woodchuck

I used to like woodchucks, many years ago.  They were cute and furry. I like to promote wildlife friendly gardening and ecological restoration of landscapes in my talks and personal encouraging around gardening.

But woodchucks (like deer) have long exceeded the carrying-capacity of their habitats, and being adaptable, have spread into many less desirable spaces as new generations need to find new spaces (like the space underneath our neighbor's house).

So I was not happy to discover this morning evidence of nibbling (really chowing down) on my buttercrunch lettuces, collards, and chard (they're quite particular).  Fortunately, my wire cloches protected some of the greens (and I'm really rather tired of them at this point in the spring, having eaten greens since fall), so I'm not too concerned. Woodchucks don't like onion relatives, or tomatoes, unless it's really droughty, in my experience.

Notice the chewed up collard between the ones in the wire cloches!

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Monday, May 8, 2017

A bear on our morning walk

We surprised a black bear heading up toward the Grove Park Inn on a walk yesterday morning.  S/he was wary of Woody, and hesitated, staring at all of us. 

Woody was interested, too.

They're frequently sighted on Sunset Mountain and Town Mountain, and occasionally in our downtown neighborhood.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cool-season to warm-season

It's finally time for change-outs in my raised beds.  I'm harvesting collards, chard, and leeks to make room for planted squash and bean seeds.

Transplants of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant will go in tomorrow;  it would have been sooner, but this weekend was oddly chilly for May!

We'll be traveling a good bit this summer, so I don't want to overplant.  Our home exchange partners will want to enjoy the mountains, not harvest too many vegetables.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

A broccoli harvest

An abundant, although small-headed, row of broccoli was ready to harvest yesterday, in the Southside Community Garden, where I volunteer.
Broccoli ready to harvest
It was a pleasure to harvest the heads (and the leaves, as greens).

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Monday, May 1, 2017

A Fraser magnolia

We have a challenging spot in our mountain garden.  My gardening companion has tried a sassafras (twice) and now a sapling Fraser magnolia. It's his favorite tree in our home landscape (and we have lots of wonderful plants).

He keeps moving things around in that spot.  The kalmias and rhododendron are currently doing fine, and the woodland garden below is flourishing, BUT, it's a tough spot:  when it pours, the gutter in the next door apartment overflows, spreading all the rooftop water (concentrated) down our side garden landscape, whooshing through great quantities of water in a short time.

And, it was shallow gravely soil, now amended with compost and mulch, but...

So we were happy to finally see this sapling, now in its second year, re-emerge with leaves, even though it seemed late, and the leaves were slow to expand.

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