Monthly Archives: December 2013

Urban Gardening-Ron Finley-New Year Thoughts

Urban gardening is becoming the in thing to do.  Have you ever heard of a “food desert”?  A food desert is defined by Wikipedia as  “an area where affordable healthy food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to an automobile”. In our inner cities people suffer from a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. I discovered the Youtube video below about Urban Gardening and Food Deserts. Watch it! Ron Finley is very inspiring and entertaining.  He says  “Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do!”

People in our inner cities want fresh vegetables and “growing” experiences. Community gardens in vacant lots can provide lots of fruits and vegetables for everyone. Besides the food, the gardening provides exercise and the opportunity to build communities. Master Gardeners are helping wherever they can to get these gardens started.

Make an Urban Gardening Commitment for the New Year

If you live in a city contact the local Master Gardeners to find out what opportunities exist in urban gardening. Then volunteer to help. Here is link to find  Master Gardeners  in California.  It will be an enriching experience in more ways than one! If you have your own yard make a commitment to plant some Urban Gardening-Grow Flowersflowers, bushes or vegetables this year. If it feels overwhelming start off small.  Learn all about what you decide to plant.  Ask any question to the Ask An Expert of the University of Maryland Extension Service and they will send you an answer.  As time goes on you will learn more about what you plant.  Hopefully you will decide to plant more! Get out there this spring and dig in the dirt and plant seeds! Beautify your environment and enhance your dining experiences with fresh vegetables. And be sure to watch this youtube video. Ron Finley is amazing!

Soybean Looper Moth

A soybean looper moth has emerged from my caterpillar eating sage! See my post on the caterpillar eating sage for the beginning of this story.

I checked on the chrysalis almost every day to see when the moth/butterfly would emerge.  I was hoping that once it emerged I would be able to identify the caterpillar that had eaten a lot of my sage that I was growing indoors.  You might ask why I was growing sage indoors?  We were trying to eat more kale because it is so healthy.  I found a great recipe for kale soup that has a lot of sage in it.  So I decided to grow sage indoors so that I have it available for this recipe.

Soybean Looper Moth Emerges!

One day I checked under the leaf and there was a hole in the chrysalis!  Oh no–it has emerged and is somewhere flying in our house.  I was so disappointed to have missed it.  Then I noticed something black under another leaf and there it was! It must have recently emerged because it seemed its wings were still stretching out after having been crammed into the small space.

Now I Wanted to Identify It

Soybean Looper MothI realized that it was a moth.  It had some iridescent gold on its wings and some very interesting markings on its wings that were silvery/gold.  They were small but very beautiful.  One marking was shaped like an upside down question mark.  That mark enabled me to fully identify the moth.  Unfortunately you can’t see the iridescent gold in the picture.  And the markings look white instead of silvery/gold.  It happened to be a warm day so I put him outside on the arugula in my cold frame.  I will know later how he survived if I find inchworm caterpillars eating my arugula!

Here is another image of the soybean looper moth.  And here is a link to that delicious kale-sage soup.

Finished Planting Tulip Bulbs

I am so excited.  I just finished planting my tulip bulbs. I had a few tulip bulbs left after planting over 100 bulbs.  At the beginning of December I was busy planting daffodil bulbs.  I had over 300 daffodil bulbs to plant because I had dug up some of my bulbs and separated them out so they would grow better.  All together I have planted over 400 bulbs.  That was a big job!

Finished Planting Tulip Bulbs in the Snow

Finished Planting Tulip BulbsThis morning it was snowing so I tried digging anyway just in case the ground had not frozen.  Sure enough it was fine and I planted my last 4 tulip bulbs while it was snowing!  You can see the snow is already covering the dirt where I dug the hole for the tulips.

400 Bulbs is a Bit Overwhelming!

Most of the time when I was planting it was cold outside.  Except for last weekend when it was in the high sixties.  I managed to plant over 100 bulbs that day.  But, I must admit, when I started I was planting one bulb per hole.  Then I started digging the hole a little bit bigger and I put 2 bulbs per hole.  Last weekend when it was warm I dug the holes even wider and put 5-6 bulbs per hole.  That is why I was able to accomplish planting over 100 in one day!

Daffodil Bulb EmergingI was becoming intimidated by the cold so I started planting bulbs in the house.  I found all my available pots and now have 46 bulbs growing in the house.  Hopefully I will have beautiful flowers in the house in February or March.  Just like the ones you can buy at Trader Joe’s in the late winter.  Three have already emerged. Here is a picture of one of them.

I read an article online from The Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center.  It says that if you have bulbs and it is late go ahead and plant them.  Even if you are really late because bulbs are great survivors and they might come up anyway.  So that is the advice that I followed while I planted tulips in late December in the snow!