Sunday, May 30, 2010

Garden Day 68

I haven't posted a progress report since day 7? I guess I've been busy! The garden is going fairly well. We've gotten some spinach and holey arugula (flea beetles!) The biggest success so far has been the lettuce. The fresh seed of mixed varieties has done spectacularly. I'm eating salads like a rabbit!

Of the butterhead type lettuces it looks like we'll get three heads of Merveille de Quatre Saisons, a red variety and two of the green one, Tom Thumb. I'm thinking spring rolls for the Tom Thumb.

Bean germination has been great for Lina Cisco's Birdsegg but the Jacob's Cattle Gasless is either very low or uneven. I'll give them another week and then plant something in the gaps if there's no progress. I've planted marigolds all around the beans to keep away Mexican bean beetles. I hope it works.

In the upper right corner of the whole-garden image you can see a section where I've planted under a floating row cover. The idea is to keep flea beetles and other pests off some crops including another planting of arugula. There are also sections of bok choy, mustard greens and kohlrabi under there.

Three tomato plants have gone in along with some bell peppers and a jalpeno. I have some roma tomatoes waiting for a free space. Hopefully the peas will bloom soon. We've eaten the one strawberry that ripened so far. The "greens" on the Bull's Blood" beet look beautiful. All my sunflower seedlings tanked before I could transplant them. There is now basil where the holey arugula was ripped out.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Bird in the Hand

This morning I got to do something I've wanted to for some time now. I went up to the Biocore Prairie Bird Observatory to observe and help out, to the extent a novice can, with bird banding.

To catch the birds, nearly invisible nets are erected at points around the prairie. Birds captured in the nets get a small, lightweight band attached to their leg. This band carries a unique identifying number so in the event a bird is seen again, the data collected from the previous capture can be compared to its current condition. This data includes various measurements of its size, health condition and breeding/nesting indicators.

While the bird itself may not enjoy the data collection very much what with being kept in a paper bag and suffering the indignity of having its nether regions blown on with a straw, it's contributing to a body of knowledge that helps us understand the life cycles and statuses of different bird populations and their habitats.