Mothra

Surely, dear readers, by now you know how much POD loves to play the identify that bug/disease game (please refer to the summer of 2010).

tiny, but destructiveThis time, though, who knows? There are a lot of caterpillars out there. This one seems to be particularly fond of Swiss chard. POD’s thinking Virginian Tiger Moth — because days after this photo was snapped a much larger, yellower, fuzzier caterpillar got inspected, discussed upon, and then stomped upon by POD’s partner in crime (and we’re pretty sure we’ve seen the actual moths buzzing about) — but alternative identification suggestions welcomed!

Cauliflower, Broccoli and Kale, Oh My!

Fancy hunts loopers

This year’s summer garden was a little, oh, neglected. But even with a couple week-long (plus) absences during 100 degree (plus) heatwaves, the tomatoes fared well enough and the cucumbers continue to limp along. Which, really, is all we need.

But now that the lonely melon has fallen, all the pots left barren after the summer’s neglect are hopping with cheddar cauliflower, Russian kale, Bright Lights chard, Pacman broccoli, and Jade Cross, a relatively fast-maturing (80-90 days, according to the tag) Brussels sprout variety. In the past, POD’s fall garden efforts have been pretty spotty (kale and parsnips, success, everything else? Not so much.) But in the past, POD planted weeks later (and, to be honest, may still be a few weeks too late) and attempted to start things from seed.

As starting from seed just isn’t happening right now, $21-worth of starts from Greensgrow are taking root. Buyer beware: cabbage loopers love these brassicas and the starts at Greensgrow were a’crawlin’! Look for starts without nibble holes in the leaves and then very, very carefully look at the undersides of the leaves for teeny, tiny, itty-bitty young loopers. If you find any, squish them. Do this daily.

Melon Balls

On Friday, the lone French hybrid melon dropped from the vine. Surely there are better ways of ascertaining a melon’s ripe lusciousness, but POD hasn’t found a particularly reliable method just yet. So, we here at the little blue deck go for the slipping and sit method. Which basically means we let the thing fall right on off the vine (“slipping,” in gardening parlance), and then let it rest for  few days in the kitchen, until that melon musk is just too irresistible.