We were lucky enough to spot two Monarch butterfly caterpillars in our butterfly garden last month.
There may have been more, but we knew of two.
We nurtured them along. kept them safe and once they formed chrysalises we moved them into a netted butterfly house to watch them mature.
Yesterday, one emerged as the gorgeous butterfly you see here. The other should follow any day now.
As many of you know, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens became a certified Monarch Waystation last winter. This means we provide the plants and habitat Monarch butterflies need to complete their lifecycle from egg to butterfly.
Looks like we did well.
Thank you to Judy. our butterfly foster mother who cared for them.
This big, beautiful watermelon was successfully grown in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens by two of our gardeners.
If you’re interested in having a plot in the gardens next season, put your name on the waiting list now. Applications go out early in 2019.
If you want to know more, come visit the gardens or get in touch by commenting here.
Hope to see you in the gardens, Natalie
I was in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens very early today and picked two eggplants for the Franklin Community Center food pantry from a plot with permission.
One was quite hefty and I think together they weigh at least a pound, maybe more.
It being early and Labor Day, no one was at FCC when I left them on Carolyn’s Bench outside the entrance.
But I hope they find them when they come in because I believe it will put us over the 100 pounds of donated fresh, organically grown vegetables for the season.
We are only a half pound from this milestone. Abby, Julie….let me know!
This morning Jacob S. harvested 9.1 lbs. of tomatoes and cucumbers for the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry.
That brings the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens total to 99.5 lbs. of donated produce this season.
Thank you to all the gardeners who gave us permission to harvest from their plots while they are away.
UPDATE: Our farm director donated an additional 33 pounds from the farm garden!
The Navy is good to us and willing to help in so many ways.
Today, volunteers painted Bill’s Barn and worked on some of the colorful face boards that will be displayed September 22 at the Fairy Gathering.
They also harvested vegetables and started scraping the horse barn.
A lot was going on. And that was all before noon!
Thank you all. We couldn’t do it without you.
This is the second crop of buckwheat growing in the area where we will likely add new garden plots next season. Soon, this field will be blooming in white and buzzing with honeybees.
Gardeners have asked what does buckwheat do for us?
It improves it by providing quick cover and suppressing weeds, it attracts good insects, and it makes otherwise unavailable phosphorus available.
“The roots of the plants produce mild acids that release nutrients from the soil. These acids also activate slow-releasing, organic fertilizers, such as rock phosphate. Buckwheat’s dense, fibrous roots cluster in the top 10 inches of soil, providing a large root surface area for nutrient uptake,” a publication of the Cooperative Extension system. Complete article: https://articles.extension.org/pages/18572/buckwheat-for-cover-cropping-in-organic-farming
We will be tilling the buckwheat into our soil to add organic matter. The nutrients will enrich and enhance what we have. In the meantime, honeybees and other beneficial insects such as hover flies, predatory wasps, lady beetles visit the buckwheat and help maintain the garden’s health.
The day was dawning, the air was calm with a bit of a chill foreshadowing what is to come as we approach September.
As the sun rose, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens were a peaceful sanctuary abundant with vegetables and rows upon rows of blooming sunflowers.
I watered the spinach seeds planted yesterday for a fall harvest, tidied up the pathways and looked over the crops being grown in every plot. There is so much variety including kale, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, watermelons, zinnias and herbs. The gardens look amazing, the harvest has been wonderful, and the butterflies breathtaking.
Thank you great gardeners who grow here for your helpfulness and your attention to your plots.
I am grateful, Natalie
This is a photo of a milkweed tussock moth.
It looks like tufting from an oriental rug.
This is this caterpillar’s pretty stage. When it matures, it is a brown gray tiger moth. Dull and uninteresting.
What is interesting about this hairy caterpillar is that, like a Monarch, it feeds on milkweed. And the cardiac glycosides in the milkweed make it an unappealing meal to its primary predator, the bat.
But the really curious part is the milkweed tiger moth emits an ultrasonic signal that is readily picked up by bats. The bats have learned to associate that sound with a bad taste in their mouths and avoid the tiger moth as a meal.
Thanks, Jess for finding this beauty and sharing its picture.
What are those white ovals on this tomato hornworm found in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens?
They are the pupating cocoons of braconid wasps and a welcome sight in the garden. The wasp is a beneficial parasite that lays its eggs on the hornworm.
As they grow, they feed on the hornworm. Once the wasps emerge, the hornworm dies and the wasps look for another hornworm to repeat the cycle.
It is good to see our gardens are a good habitat for the wasp, which will help us keep tomato hornworms out of the garden.
The Navy has consistently been a big help in the community gardens and we thank them for all that they do.
Today, we painted the barn, raked the pathways. edged the grandmother’s gardens, weeded and artistically painted a monarch face-cut-out-board for the Fairy Gathering on Sept. 22. There’s no challenge they can’t take on.
Note in the photo above how they wore their sunflower yellow shirts. It doesn’t get better. Thank you.