June 4: planting. Most seeds took less than a week to germinate/sprout.
The left bed is 8'x8' and the right is 8'x9'. We planted:
beefsteak tomatoes - fair production, but turning out sortof hard and mottled, slow to ripen
yellow tomatoes - fair production, take a while to ripen but get nice and soft and golden, nice flavor
cherry tomatoes - lots of perfect, tiny, sweet fruit - we're definitely planting these again next year
yellow bell peppers - there are lots of peppers on the plants but none ripe so far, they take forever!
green beans - lots of beans, the first crop was very sweet and crisp but then the rest were slow to grow and got tough. I suspect that the problem was lack of water, we haven't had much rain and we forget to go out and water the garden.
thyme - smells great but I keep forgetting to use it
kale - starting to get bigger, might try it in a chickpea dish this week
basil - big beautiful plants, the Japanese beetles loved them but didn't destroy them. Bitter taste, is this normal?
zinnias - one bed has really gorgeous big ones that lasted more than a month and are putting out more blooms. The butterflies and bees have loved them. The beetles got to them early but then the flowers seemed to rally. The other bed has smaller ones which bear more blooms but aren't quite as pretty as the big ones. The bugs don't seem to mind.
sunflowers - about 3/4 germinated, 1/3 survived, only a handful bloomed. They came out shorter and smaller than expected. Bummer. Still cute.
watermelon - only one tiny melon so far and it isn't getting bigger, maybe it needs more water?
pumpkin - never sprouted
cucumber - lots of small ones but not many are maturing. Those that have are very firm and sweet.
summer squash - only two squash so far, but they were delicious
zucchini - only two squash, waiting to be made into zuke bread
all of our squash are low-producers so far, which is bizarre, don't squash normally take over and produce a ton?
More flora and fauna:
Hemaris diffinis, AKA Snowberry Clearwing, AKA Bumblebee Moth - it's a member of the hummingbird sphinx moth family. Very neat bug. It startled me when I first saw it but once I realized it was harmless (deduced from mothlike body and proboscis) I was fascinated with it. Since then I have seen them at the botanical gardens, and there are tons of them on the What's That Bug site. July and August must be their time of year. For what it's worth, I didn't use WTB to find out what I had...I googled "bee moth", going by the beelike wings and mothlike body, and very quickly found out what I had. The Google Queen retains her crown. ;)
His and hers: female (left) and male (right) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, Papilio glaucus. Interesting facts: the larvae often feed on sycamore trees, two of which are in our front yard, and there are two female forms: a black form and a yellow form more similar to the male.