Spring comes early in Florida. February is a good time to check the garden for signs of butterfly eggs and newly hatched caterpillars.
Swallowtails Laying Eggs
I noticed the black swallowtail butterfly laying her eggs all over my little dill plants. Now the black caterpillars are crawling around, eating and growing.
Monarchs on the Milkweed
Over Christmas we had a good freeze here in central Florida. Just in case my milkweed plants didn’t make it, I took some cuttings. Happily the cuttings grew roots and I now have a new milkweed plant!
So a few days ago I took more cuttings, not realizing there were eggs, or small caterpillars, on the leaves. The next day when I went to change the water in the pitcher, I found three tiny caterpillars on the cuttings!
The caterpillars eat and poop… so they began dropping little black turds everywhere. I didn’t want this. If I had known there were eggs on the leaves, I would not have cut the plant.
Every day I looked to make sure I could see all three.
Then, one morning the little caterpillar was nowhere! Finally I turned the vase around and there he was, on the side of the pitcher!
It was time to try to put these guys outside on the growing milkweed. Well, that was not as easy as you may think. I set the pitcher next to the milkweed, but they stuck to their original places. The tiny guy I picked up with a leaf from the new plant. When I went back later, all I could find was one big caterpillar who was still on the cutting! This is where he remains, although I leave the vase outside in a raised bed.
The cuttings are doing well, so hopefully I will have another new milkweed for the yard. I’m watching the one remaining caterpillar to see what happens.
That’s about it for the creatures, except for the unwanted white bugs. I hand-picked / squashed a bunch of these that were hiding in the tiny new growth on my eggplant. I’m not sure what they are, but probably some kind of aphid.
Vegetables That Love February
Many of these vegetables were planted late last Fall. They survived the winter and are now beginning to love the warmer nights and not-too-hot days. I like February temperatures also. The humidity is lower and the days are sometimes hot, but bearable. A bit like a summer days in the north.
The pineapple had a lot of brown leaves. I had to cover some of these gardens when the temps dropped to near, or below, freezing.
The plants themselves are looking much better, but I’m not getting to eat from them. I have picked a few cherry tomatoes, a hot pepper here and there, and had some kale chips, which I made from my kale. I use the parsley and dill to cook, but all my basil died.
It won’t be long before the weather is too hot for the gardens to do well. I’m letting my lettuce to go seed so I can plant more next Fall. I do expect to continue to get peppers and also some eggplant soon.
Art Class: Simple Pencil Drawings
Sharing some photos of my nature pencil drawings done through an online course.
Yellow Flowering Weed: Walter’s Groundcherry
Putting a name to this yellow flowering weed in my landscape. Walter’s ground cherry is an interesting little plant.
Saving Seeds: Lettuce and Arugula
How to go about saving seeds from lettuce and arugula plants.