Friday, December 27, 2019

December Garden Beneficials

As you enjoy your holidays, I thought I would share a little of what those of us in the moderate part of California can find in our garden in December. While adult mantids are most often seen between August and September in the northern hemisphere, females can often live longer in moderate climates. I found this girl on a bush in the courtyard of a school that I work at.

 Mantids often find both food and refuge on bushes with flowers. This is because the bushes provide cover from predators while flowers attract the mantid's prey. Additionally, depending upon the mantis and their preference for egg laying surfaces, a bush can provide a perfect place for a female to lay her egg case or ootheca.

Mantids live much of their lives upside down

Friday, December 13, 2019

Taste Comparison of the Striped Carosello Leccese Cucumber with the Carosello Spuredda Tarantino

It can be difficult for me to fully compare two of my cucumber-melon varieties. Each variety has its own unique qualities - its benefits and drawbacks. One variety may keep critters away better and not taste as well while another variety may taste incredibly good but have critter problems. One variety of cucumber-melon could be very fast but more prone to disease while a slower variety could be incredibly disease resistant. So in short: Here are a few things I discovered that distinguish the Striped Carosello Leccese from the Carosello Spuredda (or half-long) of Tarantino:

Striped Leccese on the left compared with younger Carosello Tarantino

1. The Striped Leccese begin light in color while the Spuredda Tarantino begin dark.

2. As they grow, the striped Leccese develop dark stripes on its ridges while the Spuredda Tarantino develops light bands between the ridge grooves.

3. The Striped Leccese has a mildly bumpy tender skin while the Spuredda Tarantino has a smooth slightly more firm skin.

4. The Striped Leccese has consistent high water content as soon as the fruit become over an inch wide while the water content of the Spuredda Tarantino is a little more variable.

5. The Striped Leccese grow out their foliage quickly and their fruit at a moderate pace while the Spuredda Tarantino produce a heavy crop from early to late.

6. The Striped Leccese has an extraordinarily smooth flesh texture while the Carosello Tarantino has a regular cucumber-melon flesh texture. 

7. The Striped Leccese produces almost no when mature while the Carosello Tarantino smells a lot like Mango when growing to seed.

If I think of anything else that distinguishes these two carosello varieties from each other, I'll be sure to add it to the list. Until then, I hope you enjoy my little video on the differences between these two carosello cucumber varieties: