Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Waiting for the hummers to arrive

All the hummingbird feeders are ready and waiting.......

The bottlebrush buckeye is in full bloom

Columbine is happy, happy, happy!

The coral honeysuckle is on a quest to take over the front porch!

Surely they will be here soon.


The many faces of weeding

I'm not exactly sure how much of a gardener's time is spent weeding, but I think it's a large percentage of the time spent in the garden.  This year, in the veggie gardens, I used leaves as mulch and it is working wonders!  Sure, there are places where the crabgrass is attempting to take over and I have to pull a weed or three now and then, but percentage of time in the garden spent weeding?---I'd say less than 10%.  Another big perk is that as the leaves rot away they are feeding the soil, which has a large percentage of clay in it anyway. 

The flower beds around the house are another story.  Last fall and winter were spent working on house things--cabinets, floors, and a couple of landscape beds around the house.  The one in the front got more attention than the side garden, and I was able to get most of the plants in that I wanted to, and spread a layer of leaves before growing season hit.  I've enjoyed watching the bed come alive with hummingbirds on the coral honeysuckle, columbine,  and bee balm, hummingbird moths and a myriad of butterflies and goldfinches on the anise hyssop, and butterflies galore on the purple coneflower, black-eyed susans and coreopsis.  Also, it's one of those beds that has gotten so full, that weeds don't take over and aren't really so noticeable.   As a matter of fact, a HUGE clump of millet came up on its own on the corner and the goldfinches and Indigo Buntings have been wearing it out!

The side garden is another story.  It's a sort of a rock garden in that I used a bunch of big flagstones to cover areas and left cracks and spaces between them for plants.  I did get a few Black Eyed Susans and a few native shrubs in before garden season hit, but no mulch.   The weeds stayed pretty low as long as it was hot and dry out,


 but we got a few showers, and today, after a few days of regular showers, I noticed the beginnings of a forest--a ragweed forest!   Ragweed can get REALLY tall, like 8 feet plus.  Crab grass nicely covers the rest of the ground in this ragweed forest.  I've always heard that "Mother Nature" abhors bare ground.   Being a CSA farmer consumes all daylight hours during the summer, so when garden season hit, the "pretty beds" were "pretty much" on their own. 

Today I couldn't stand it any more.  It's too wet to work in the veggie gardens, so I went to the shop, picked up my trusty loppers and cut all the ragweed to ground level.  Hey, at least it isn't hampering my vision any more, and I did catch it before it set seed.   One can actually see across the bed now. 

I won't say that using loppers is the most efficient way to weed, but it will at least keep the bed down to a "dull roar" until it reaches a higher priority on my list.


Something is pooping on the porch.......

The farmhouse has big wide wrap-around porches which are great for sleeping dogs, porch swings, and the occasional break from gardening. 

To hide the empty space between the ground and the bottom of the porch, last year I planted native coral honeysuckle and am training it to climb up a wire fence that has been nailed in place.  The honeysuckle is doing great, is climbing up the wire fence and the porch rails, and there is an almost constant showing of hummers and butterflies visiting the everblooming honeysuckle.

Yesterday I noticed little black specks on the porch underneath the railing--technically speaking, I think it's called "frass", but to me, it's just bug poop.  I got to looking around and sure enough, there were telltale signs of leafless twigs and bites out of leaves, and I found the culprit.......(actually about 4 of them)

Being the inquisitive person that I am, I came in and "Googled" what I saw.  It's the caterpillar for a really cool bug called a Hummingbird Moth or a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth.  The first time I ever saw one I wondered if it was a bee, bird, or what.  They are really cool, and I'll let these guys munch on the honeysuckle until, well, they sprout wings and fly, of course!

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