I grow much more than food in my garden. I also garden for my soul. I love to sit on our back deck in the morning with a cup of coffee (several cups in succession, actually) and watch the action in my back garden.
This is the sitting area on our deck. My favorite chair is the one on the right, still in shadow and hard to see. It stays cool there until about noon.
From my comfy chair, I can watch the parade of butterflies, bees, paper wasps, and birds go by. I can see the huge non-native Green Fig Beetles circling my tomatoes, looking for a spot to get in under the netting. And if they happen to get their legs tangled in the netting, I whap them with my shoe. That is called “mechanical control” in the parlance of an organic gardener. 🙂 I have dispatched three so far. I think there is only one left in the neighborhood, and I hope it gets tangled up soon enough.
This is the view from my chair, looking to the west. This is a great place to enjoy the cool mornings before the sun heats things up.
The herb garden with bird bath in the center is to the left (south) of the veggie beds. It has only sage and sorrel in it at present. I feed the sorrel to the chickens.
The chicken coop is to the left (south) of the herb garden. Fruit trees grow beyond.
We are down to three hens, but two of them are laying, so we are good in the egg department. The girls are enjoying a new layer of pine shavings in their outdoor run. They love to dig in the dirt, looking for the scratch that I scatter for them as a treat.
I like watching my veggies grow. This bed is the most recently planted one. I have nets over all three beds to keep the birds out. They had been eating my lettuce, peas, green beans, and even the cucumber leaves.
This is bed #2, the first one I planted this summer. It is looking lush, but is not producing anything ready to harvest yet. Later.
Bed #1 was planted after bed #2, and is coming along nicely. It had room for a row of beans, so I planted some pole beans.
This is a bean called Ojo de Capra, Eye of Goat. I got the seeds from Native Seed Search. I haven’t grown them before. I planted them late in the season, so who knows if I will get a crop or not. It’s an experiment, like much of my gardening.
I planted a row of Frijol Chivita (Little Goat Beans) in bed #3. Again, it’s late in the season, and the seeds were old, so who knows if they will even sprout.
See those dirty hands? Those are the hands of a happy gardener. The outside of a garden is good for the inside of a gardener.
I have four Butternut squash that have set fruit. Three were hand-pollinated. There were male flowers open on the same day as the female flower for the fourth squash, so I let nature take its course. It appears to be pollinated, but I’m not positive yet. I don’t see any more female flowers, so this may be my entire harvest, four Butternut squash.
The three zucchini plants have a lot of male flower buds, and I can see one female bud. I have my fingers crossed for getting some summer squash before summer is over.
This is just some of the damage that the birds did before I got netting over bed #3. I transplanted 8 cucumber vines, but the birds seem to have eaten the growth end off of about five of them. VBS.
I had some spider plants that weren’t doing well in pots in this west-facing sunny spot, so I replaced them with pots of Penta, marigolds, and Lantana. That’s right, a mini-garden for butterflies and bees.
I also put some pots of coneflower and Rudbeckia on the deck, and planted more bloodflower milkweed, all for the butterflies. I now get a colorful parade of butterflies in back: Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, Cloudless Sulfurs, Mourning Cloaks, Fiery Skippers, White Cabbage Butterflies (a non-native pest, but still pretty), and an occasional Tiger Swallowtail.
I think this is a Funeral Duskywing, but it might be a dark Fiery Skipper.
A Gulf Fritillary on a marigold in my new hanging basket pollinator garden.
One of the many Monarchs in our yard.
And here is a Monarch with its wings a bit more spread.
I like to do “yard patrol,” looking at what has sprouted. This time it is radishes and carrots.
I don’t know if this will show up or not, but it is supposed to be a picture of a female Western Fence lizard on the rock to the right. We also have males in the yard, and I assume that they are reproducing. At this point, they outnumber the Southern Alligator Lizards in our yard, which is a National Wildlife Federation certified backyard habitat.
The hummingbirds are very happy that I have finally cleaned and refilled the feeders for them. The male Allen’s hummingbirds fight over the feeders. “Mine!” “No, mine, get away!” Silly birds. There are three feeders, enough for everyone. Apparently they aren’t into sharing.
We get a daily visitation from House Sparrows and House Finches. A family of Mourning Doves nested nearby, as did a family of Hooded Orioles, and we see them frequently. We get visits from Common Bushtits, Common Yellowthroats, and Black Phoebes. Gulls fly overhead, soaring in lazy circles. Crows fly purposefully from one spot to another. We get occasional Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Double-crested Cormorants, and Canada Geese traveling over our house.
There is always something to see and hear, always something to enjoy from our back deck, even if there is very little to harvest in the way of vegetables.