Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sex on the farm

It's high noon on the farm and the plants and animals are propagating wildly. I've just been harvesting dill, oregano and arugula for seed stock. All of the books and blogs say to wait until the flowers are beginning to die back to harvest for seeds. I want a LOT more herbs next season so I am interested in trying different methods; saving seed and re-sowing, and propagating cuttings this year too. The squash, tomatoes and peas are blooming! Soon baby veggies will abound.

While tooling around in the back .25 today, Chuck and I noticed a gorgeous black swallowtail butterfly in the herb bed. It was flitting and floating from leaf to leaf in a kind of erratic way, and I thought "that doesn't seem right". Leaning in closer to take a look, I noticed that the butterfly would alight upon a leaf, quickly extend it's ovipositer onto the leaf and then flit off again. Each time it flew away to another leaf it left behind a tiny, yellowish-white egg (looks like a grain of couscous or a tapioca pearl).

My parsley, which finally JUST started taking off, is now dotted with tapioca-like black swallowtail eggs. Oddly, the dill that I bought particularly for the butterflies, remains remarkably egg free. Time to start watching out for caterpillars again.

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