Wednesday, May 24, 2023

May Snaps.

 Mays days are fleeting and the suns rays feel stronger by the day. 

The no seeums and biting flies are joining the party as the landscape awakens and the various songbirds migrate their way back into the ecosystem filing the air with their distinct songs and behaviors. A resident skunk appears to be devouring grubs at a rapid pace and hopefully their persistence will ease up any Japanese beetle impact come summer. Cycles of nature have a way of balancing themselves out if we just spend the time to observe rather than react, we can learn so much. We always try to take those reflective moments while performing the monotonous tasks like watering and mulching. The more you see the more you learn and the more time you spend in the garden the more observations and changes are noticed. Noticing is the first step to gaining knowledge from experience.

Watering seedlings is a daily chore that is now requiring more observing and planning as we supplement them with the occasional compost tea and foliar seaweed spray as they anxiously await being transplanted into their forever homes. Along with these feedings we are introducing our cellar dwellers to the golden sun and leaving them out overnight when the temps do not dip under 50... this method is referred to as "hardening off" and strengthens the seedlings resilience in hopes that the transplant process is as stress free as possible.

Mallow is emerging in the native perennial bed along with wild ginger.

Wild Ginger (pictured here next to some lovely cup fungus) has these unique lil ground flowers that attract a type of fly to pollinate it, then it produces a nutrient dense seed that ants love to haul underground propagating it further and allowing it to flourish. I picked this stock up last summer from Edgewood Nursery among many others and all of them have flourished and returned which is always a rewarding feeling of accomplishment!

Along with perennial success we have also been observing lots of native wildlife emerging and flourishing throughout the garden. I spotted 3 different species of frogs in just an hour of garden pick up including this lil Eastern Gray Tree Frog. Hopefully he is enjoying a nightly feast of slugs as we have already been seeing some pressure on a few of our cold hardy seedlings that have been placed in our beds!

And of course Phoebe our resident Eastern Phoebe has finished her nest and spends most of her days roosting on her eggs or hunting bugs in the garden. She has been pretty chill with our shared use of the shed and seeing as we have been coinhabiting our spaces for the last 4-5 years I think she is aware that we are on her side and mean her no harm. 

As May temps warm more cold crops like these Asian greens are getting into the beds.
Here we are planting Tokyo Bekana & Beni Houshi Mizuna!

After a good soaking rain this past weekend... up popped a slew of Pink Lady Slippers!

Along with keeping an eye on our local flora we have also been gently monitoring the bees. Cassi took the reigns on our most recent hive inspection and it appears all our suspicions were correct!
Our queen and her supporting colony have been hard at work after a cold rainy start to the season. As soon as the warmer temps and sunshine appeared for a good stretch we monitored lots of pollen being  collected and pulled the sugar water from the hive.  After this inspection it was clear that the colony was running out of room and we quickly spent a evening constructing a stack of new frames that we added to the hive so they can continue to grow and flourish. 

In my downtime I have been growing out more mushroom spawn and finding time to inoculate logs and substrates, learning more mycological skills as time allows. Above you can see some sawdust spawn of shiitake (miss happiness strain) as I inoculate a red maple trunk I chopped down a few weeks prior. I got 5 logs done this evening and have 15 more to go when I find the time.

Speaking of timing... as we approach the end of May and our zones last frost date. We begin preparing for a prolific memorial day weekend by getting the last of our garden planted with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and of course a slew of flower starts along with our dahlia tubers and ranunculus that have been pre-sprouting in our windowsill. 

Once we free up the grow light space and the window sill it will be time to start round two of seeds so that our cut flower options and salad green supply will be steady throughout the growing season!

Till then, happy planting, sowing and observing!

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