The Last May Morning

by - May 31, 2011

We may be another 21 days off from the official first day of summer, but here in Raleigh, NC it will be a balmy 98 degrees today, which tells me that summer is already upon us! Were the air not thick enough to cut with a butter knife, we'd make it a day to fill up the kiddie pool, but all I can handle is a couple snapshots this morning. It was so humid, I had to wipe condensation off my camera at least three times until the camera warmed up. Not even a shady garden house can abate that clammy torture.

Maybe some of my readers can help me out on this dilemma: me bean vines are covered in large holes, which seems to be slowing their growth. I'm assuming aphids are to blame, but could it be something else? While I have a canister of Sevin in the garage, I haven't used any pesticides because the Baby likes to crawl around pulling off leaves and tasting them, and no, the holes are not from him. I was happy to see this ladybug on a sunflower this morning because ladybugs help with aphid control, but she sure does have a lot of work to do!

While tomatoes are my favorite garden crop to consume, sunflowers are my favorite to watch grow and photograph. The go through such an amazing transformation! The first summer I went to Romania, I rode on a train from Bucureşti to Braşov that pass through field after field of sunflowers. That summer shaped me in so many ways from my world view, to the foods I enjoy to what I like to grow in the garden.

It's funny how certain seasons and even certain plants can bring on a flood of memories from the past. What plant takes you back somewhere special?

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  1. I feel your pain here in TX, where every day has been around 98 or so for a few weeks and our A/C will be out for the second week in a row in our car. And no, it is not a "dry" frickin heat. But I wanted to let you know what caused holes in my bean plant leaves in Raleigh: caterpillars. The big green ones. My mother-in-law squishes their guts out between her fingers because it makes her feel better about the damage they do to her garden. Look out there at varying times of day and turn the leaves over to hopefully find the culprit. Then encourage spiders to come to your place with plenty of mulch and moisture. They make quick work of these pests. As do lizards and small garden snakes, I believe.

  2. Upper 90's here in Memphis, too -- I guess this is it until late September! The highs would be bearable if it would get below upper 70's at night!

    The holes in your beans might be from beetles (Japanese beetle). Aphid just suck on plants, they don't chew holes. Picking by hand (whether caterpillar or beetle) or washing off with a forceful spray of water are the least toxic methods of control, also spraying with a soapy water. You could also try insecticidal vinegar or neem oil.

  3. Caterpillar and japanese beetles... I'll be on the lookout for those! I've seen cucumber beetles all over the garden, but I've never caught anyone in act of munching on bean leaves. The same demolition happens to my black and blue salvia at the front of the house.



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