Friday, January 26, 2024

2022 Insects throughout the Season

So here are a few pictures of insects that I found throughout the season. The first picture is of a mantid ootheca I found while walking at a nearby creek on New Year’s Day. The next is some ladybugs I found on a walk. Then are some pictures of a mantid on some flowers and some mantids I found nearby.






















It looks like one of the mantids made it to adulthood, as I later found this girl molting into an adult. I also happened to find a brown adult female mantid and found another green adult female.



























Finally, I had a chance encounter with a large jumping spider in my garage carrying babies on her back.










Friday, January 19, 2024

The Late Season Tumin Krai

A friend in Indonesia told me about a striped cucumber that appeared to be some kind of pickling melon. I asked him to try growing it to see if it was bitter at all. After trying it out and assuring me of the cucumber’s lack of bitterness, he sent me some seeds.


I decided to try out growing the variety in late 2022 in my greenhouse. This is the Timun Krai. It is a striped Indonesian cucumber variety from the small village in East Java called Krai.The flavor and texture were good and I looked forward to growing the variety out more in 2023.

Friday, January 12, 2024

The 2022 Speckled Carosello

In 2020 I discovered a speckled carosello cucumber from a packet of seeds I grew in the greenhouse. My friend Giuseppe grew it again in 2021. Then with our combined seeds, I transplanted some seedlings of the specked cucumber into a 1-yard tote full of professional potting mix in Fairfield, California in July of 2022.


While the first planting that I did performed well in the tote, the second planting did not do as well. Part of the issue was likely due to planting later in the season as well as, I found out at the end of the season, that the soaker hose had cracked and was only watering in one area of the tote. While many people believe that water is a good thing, it sometimes causes more problems than it solves. The plants with the most insect pressure were those that were being overwatered, while the plants that were further from the leak performed much better.

















Despite the challenges that I encountered while growing this carosello variety, I was able to grow out several speckled cucumber-melons. And near the end of the season, my little carosello patch was graced with a visitor. An adult female praying mantis decided to visit my little garden area. Since giving up raising praying mantids for gardening, I rarely interact with mantids, but between August and October each year, I usually see at least a couple.

























While I would have preferred to have grown more of the speckled carosello, given too much or insufficient watering, I am grateful to have harvested anything at all. I was able to harvest seed and, having done so, I was looking forward to growing this variety out in 2023.