December 5, 2015 - Garland Community Garden - Monthly Work Day
Once a month members of Loving Garland Green gather in force to work in the Garland Community Garden. Yesterday we combined our monthly workday with our pecan sale drive for a fun and successful day. Even though the garden is winding down for the winter, it is still producing and that is the word we would like to get out to Garland residents. Just Friday we were were able to deliver twenty one-gallon bags to the Good Samaritans of Garland. Currently, over November and December alone we have delivered 98 one-gallon bags of greens. In Garland, even in the winter you can grow edibles--most notably are winter greens such as kale, mustard and turnip greens. In addition, broccoli and Brussels sprouts also thrive in our area. Growing your own greens can save you and your family up to a $1,000 a year. Furthermore, you don't need a large lot for growing them. You can garden in containers from a patio or deck.
In addition to pulling out stalks of finished plants such as okra and tomatoes, we converted one of our large beds to a hugelkulter. To do this we dug out a center trench in the log bed, installed rotting logs, and then recovered with the already rich garden soil from the bed. Normally we don't disturb the soil of our beds with digging, but we made an exception in this instance and consider this remedial work. We plan to do the same in many of the beds over the winter. One of the best things that a gardener can to to help conserve water is to engineer beds so that damp rotting logs are at the bottom of the bed with organic matter and then garden soil on top of that. Depending on the size of the rotting logs, they will furnish water and other nutrients to plants growing in the bed for several years with little or no water.
December 6, 2015--The Christmas Monarch - Found December 5 in the Garland Community Garden
While we were cleaning out one of the flower beds, a Loving Garland Green member discovered a healthy-looking Monarch Caterpillar. It appeared to be trying to obtain nourishment from a dead leaf. December 5 and a Monarch caterpillar? There are no healthy milkweed left in the Garland Community Garden. I took the caterpillar home where I have milkweed growing inside--waiting for a home somewhere in a greenhouse for the winter. I'm calling it "The Christmas Monarch" because it should eclose 3 to 4 days after the 25th of December. The caterpillar has a Monarch Condo all to itself. He is now busy doing the healthy caterpillar thing: eating and defecating.
December 6, 2015 - Garland Texas --Monarch Condo with Four Pupas in the sun.
As for the other four monarch pupas, they are reaching the outer limits of time allotted for being a monarch pupa. I will admit that I'm a little concerned but I haven't given up hope. Saturday, December 5 marked their 14th day. Some references say this time can last up to 21 days. They have all moved from their lovely green color to the dark stage which indicates they are just about ready to eclose.