Thursday, June 22, 2017

Putting An Ecosystem Back Together = Diverse Life = Endless Inspiration

Friends, it's so wild and crazy here in many ways (plant nursery, vegetable garden, homesteading projects, soil consulting, etc.) and is why I've not taken time to sit down and write, but what's important to share is the multitudinous life now calling this 3.5 acres home.

We logically comprehend what happens when an ecosystem that grew together for millenia is put back together, but to witness it happen - so quickly - is way beyond what we expected and even dreamed. Here's a quick glimpse at some very recent sightings, all on this little patch of ground we call home with a backlog of videos tucked in here and there.

Happy Summer!

Golden-backed Snipe Flies on woodland/grassland trail:


Bristly Cutworm Moth found under some pots I used:


Gray Treefrog on Cup Plant:


Carolina Buckthorn in bloom:


Monarch Caterpillar on Common Milkweed:


American Bullfrog:
WETLAND VIDEO


American Toads:


Painted Turtle:


Crazy-colored Green Frog:


Twelve-spotted Skimmer:


Staghorn Sumac in full bloom (a pollinator favorite, for sure):
VIDEO


Foxglove Beardtongue in full bloom (another pollinator favorite):
VIDEO


Dogwood in bloom (ID confirmation as soon as it sets fruit) with Spring Azure nectaring:
VIDEO


Spiderlings:



American Woodcock juvenile (we flushed Mama on our nature trail and found this little fluff ball):


Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar (2nd/3rd instar) on Tulip Poplar:


Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar (5th instar) on Tulip Poplar:


American Carrion Beetle and Garden Carrion Beetle on dead Garter Snake (from our basement...poor bugger):


We used to seek wilderness like fish to water and will always continue to do so because we love to venture out into this big, beautiful world, but find creating wilderness on our homeland makes access a little easier and a lot more frequent. 😃

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cover Cropping Tomatoes plus a Stream Video

Late last summer we sowed Crimson Clover as a cover crop for the soil over the winter and this spring it bloomed offering great nectar to oodles of bees.


We don't till here nor do much to the soil other than add organic matter whenever we can. We also mulch our plants so this year we thought we would combine the efforts.


I pulled apart little gaps in the crimson clover for easy planting and dug in to find fantastic soil thanks to the plant roots and all the invertebrates hard at work. (I had to dig so carefully there were so many critters!)


I planted our peppers directly into crimson clover that I cut off with hand trimmers:



When I got to planting the tomatoes though, I thought I would try just laying flat the crimson clover and swirling it around the tomatoes and it was so much easier. It also still allowed the crimson clover to hold their blooms offering nectar to pollinators.




We are now several weeks into this mulch and it is fantastic! The peppers and tomatoes are growing and the clover is going to seed so I imagine it will self sow and we may have a self perpetuating cover crop for our Solanaceae. We will keep you posted, but so far this technique is a winner.


P.S. For those of you interested in our native plant nursery, the plant babies are growing and many will be ready soon. I will do a nursery update here, on our website and via our email list as soon as we are open. It's our favorite time of year. 😄

P.P.S Steve made a video of our little stream restoration at The Common Milkweed and it's pretty cool!