The garden continues to come along nicely. I had to do some watering this week as its been hot, which in Massachusetts translates to out of the 70's, and there hasn't been any rain. I've been battling the flea beetles in earnest in a couple parts of the garden. Between yesterday and today I've squished over twelve dozen. It takes a great deal of patience, and good hand eye coordination but is extremely satisfying. The best 'kill' was actually one that managed to leap away from me. It flew right into the web of a spider that was even smaller than it. The spider ran out to it and ran away. At first I thought it was scared of the 'larger' beetle, but as I watched the flea beetle slow down over the course of a minute or so I realized the spider had bit the beetle and then retreated to wait for it to die.
I also found my first tomato hornworm egg today. It was black as night, which means it was parasitized. I've noticed the wasps patrolling the tomatoes fairly regularly and it keeps me from worrying to much about hornworm damage. With avoiding insecticides I have had a fair amount of damage on the leaves of all my plants, but none of it has been enough to kill the plants. I'm also rewarded with the site of hunting spiders all over the garden, tons of wasps and bees, and of course the dragonflies.
When I go out into the garden in the morning, nearly every single stake has a dragonfly sitting on top of it sunning. They usually let me get really close before they fly away, so I've been able to take a few good pictures of them.
I wasn't able to capture it, but I saw a green dragonfly take of an snatch a lightning bug out of the air. He landed and starting munching, but flew away before I could get close enough to snap a picture. It was really neat to see one of them in action, it is hard to remember sometimes that they are hunters. I wish they'd eat more of the Oriental Beetles. They're showing up more often now and I'm being kept pretty busy taking them out of action.
The tallest of the tomatoes, which are some Black Cheeries, have just about passed Michelle in height. It is covered in little green tomatoes that I check every day for signs of blushing. It was the first plant to set fruit, and being a cherry I'm almost certain it'll be the first to ripen. I am starting to enter into my own personal hell as I wait for my first tomato. It has been so much work and I want a tasty reward! Still, looking at a picture I took on July 8th of last year has calmed me down quite a bit.
We took possession of our house on July 1st of 2007. By July 8th of 2007 we had a sad crooked little row with Basil, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, and Cucumbers. We ended up getting a little out of this plot, but not a whole bunch since we started so late in the year. When I look at that picture, and then the picture of the garden today I smile. We've come a long way in one year!