What Did You Do In The Garden?

Zeedman

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The Honeys are back! Very late to appear this year, but glad to see they are still around. I allow this flower (Malva sylvestris) to self-seed in my vegetable gardens as a long-term pollen source for the bees.
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Cosmo spring garden

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I found this really cool bee on the lettuce flower.

And one of my favorite crops, winter squash!

I mowed some in the garden and watered the corn. I'll harvest tomatoes later today.
 

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Zeedman

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One of the more unusual members of the gourd family was desperately in need of renewal this year - after two previous failures. Fortunately, it is thriving this year, and setting a lot of... pods?
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Cyclanthera explodens (a.k.a C. brachystachya). The tiny fruits can be eaten raw when young; cucumber-like, but bland. The thorns are soft. That odd question-mark shape is part of the plant's seed dispersal mechanism. When ripe, the pod turns yellowish... and at the slightest touch, "uncoils" and expels seeds violently. They will easily travel 6' or more. I harvest seed by firing the pods into a box or bag; some shoot out so hard that they bounce back out! The Grandson will probably have a lot of fun with them - while wearing safety glasses.

These plants do NOT like alkaline soil splashed on their leaves; they were yellow & sickly until I mulched around them. I have no idea what pollinates them. I never see bees on the tiny flowers, but there are over a hundred pods set on these vines already. The first seeds should begin to ripen in a week or two.
 
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flowerbug

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The Honeys are back! Very late to appear this year, but glad to see they are still around. I allow this flower (Malva sylvestris) to self-seed in my vegetable gardens as a long-term pollen source for the bees.
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we have a darker purple version of this plant too, but i will no longer let them grow near any vegetable garden because not only do they drop a lot of seeds that persist for a long time but they also attract groundhogs, rabbits and other herbivores. as much as i like purple flowers i just do not want to deal with the eternal weeding they bring on in a vegetable garden.
 

Zeedman

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we have a darker purple version of this plant too, but i will no longer let them grow near any vegetable garden because not only do they drop a lot of seeds that persist for a long time but they also attract groundhogs, rabbits and other herbivores. as much as i like purple flowers i just do not want to deal with the eternal weeding they bring on in a vegetable garden.
You left out one significant leaf eater - Japanese beetles. They too really like the "Zebrina" flowering mallow, so I allow some to grow on the garden borders as a trap crop. I just patrolled the garden - spray bottle in hand - and there was a beetle or two on almost every plant.

@flowerbug I hear you about the seed production & persistence. To me, that is a feature, not a bug. Believe it or not, quite a few local gardeners who saw my gardens wanted seed for Zebrina, even after I warned them about how it could spread. Personally, as "weeds" go, this one is pretty easy to deal with; better than the wild mallow it is gradually replacing. A consistent pollen source for the local bee population, pretty in the garden, a deep tap root that opens up the hard pan, and a good JB trap crop... I like to choose my weeds for their redeeming qualities. ;)

Oh, and have you ever noticed the metamorphosis that the plants go through later in the season? The later plants have much larger leaves than those which sprout in the Spring. The flowers on those plants will be darker purple too. I've read that the leaves of all mallows are edible; and although I already have plenty of greens, I'm tempted to test the leaves of Zebrina. Some of those leaves are 5-6" across now.
 

flowerbug

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You left out one significant leaf eater - Japanese beetles. They too really like the "Zebrina" flowering mallow, so I allow some to grow on the garden borders as a trap crop. I just patrolled the garden - spray bottle in hand - and there was a beetle or two on almost every plant.

@flowerbug I hear you about the seed production & persistence. To me, that is a feature, not a bug. Believe it or not, quite a few local gardeners who saw my gardens wanted seed for Zebrina, even after I warned them about how it could spread. Personally, as "weeds" go, this one is pretty easy to deal with; better than the wild mallow it is gradually replacing. A consistent pollen source for the local bee population, pretty in the garden, a deep tap root that opens up the hard pan, and a good JB trap crop... I like to choose my weeds for their redeeming qualities. ;)

Oh, and have you ever noticed the metamorphosis that the plants go through later in the season? The later plants have much larger leaves than those which sprout in the Spring. The flowers on those plants will be darker purple too. I've read that the leaves of all mallows are edible; and although I already have plenty of greens, I'm tempted to test the leaves of Zebrina. Some of those leaves are 5-6" across now.

i've noticed them being a JB magnet too. :)
 
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