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Welcome To Summer
June 29, 2015

We had our annual toadlet invasion this past week.

(Toadlets on sidewalk.)

Around six or seven weeks after the toads mate in the ponds, lakes and other waterways, we experience a baby toad invasion for a couple of days.

Thousands upon thousands of baby toads (no exaggerating on my part), as they embark on a journey to hopefully establish a feeding ground.

For another week or so, the lawn grass almost looks as if it is moving as I walk through it.

Sidewalks and streets were in motion for a couple of days.

You literally have to watch where you are stepping.

Nature will thin the masses over time.

This past Wednesday, Yolanda had her stitches removed from the spinal incision.

One step closer.

Pray with us, that we may have her home by this weekend.

We can't wait.

Also pictured is my Cup Plant (native).

Well over six feet tall, this monster is a wildlife workhorse.

The leaves form cups (pictured) that hold water for birds and small critters to drink and bathe.

Later, the yellow flowers provide for pollinators.

Still later, the seed heads provide seed for the Goldfinches and other birds.

If you get one, put it in a permanent location, and one that can handle its growth (I didn't).

It has a large taproot and the clump grows larger each year.

This is my third year and I love it, even if it is too large where it is.

It should get all of 10 feet tall in full bloom.

(Cup Plant)

The first week of summer has come and gone, rather uneventful I must say.

Daylight now begins to shrink ever so slowly :-(

The year reaches its halfway point later this week, as we start a new month.

Happy Birthday Canada on July 1st.

Happy Birthday America on July 4th.

May you humble yourselves and turn back to the living God.

A new month also means it is time to deep clean your feeders and water sources.

If you have water sources (birdbaths and dishes) located where mosquitoes are an issue, maybe you should relocate them to a more friendly location, and one where the water gets used.

Mosquito larvae don't have a chance to grow when the water is constantly being cleaned or refilled.

A deep cleaning of your feeders is a must too.

Too busy to clean your feeders?

A good spray of rubbing alcohol on the feeder will kill the outside cooties.

Alcohol dries fast and leaves no harmful residue for your birds and other wildlife.

It won't get the insides of your feeder where other things grow (including bird seed).

(Cup Plant Cup with water.)

As summer heats up, be sure to keep your flowers and plants hydrated.

Do not feed your plants a full meal, however.

Especially the instant fertilizers, whether synthetic or natural.

When air temperatures rise, it puts more stress on your flowers and other plants.

When you decide to feed your while the sun is beating down, you simply add more stress to a stressful situation.

Some plants thrive in the heat.

Your job is to know which ones are drought tolerant, and which ones require daily drinks.

Add plant food and the need for growth spurts to the mix, and your plants can get all messed up.

True experts (not the guy in the garden center making a sale), will suggest you don't feed in stressful conditions.

Experts will also suggest you don't feed your lawn four times a year like the Scotts commercials suggest.

A fall/winter feeding is the most important, and a spring feeding (maybe).

That is all you really need for those that have lawns.

Once again, summer feedings add stress and force growth, when plants should be resting.

Besides, who wants to mow three times a week in the middle of summer.

Again, I know this from my young and dumb years.

(Mom hairy feeding a fledgling.)

Forcing issues:

Messing with Mother Nature is a lot like 'Messing with Sasquatch'.

You may think you fooled nature.

You may think you pulled a fast one.

Until your plants start showing signs of stress.

Too much growth and no flowers.

Plants showing brown edges.

Fruits and vegetables are hollow, mushy, or no taste.

Stressful plants may show signs of illness.

Fungus and viruses attack weak and stressed plants.

Throw in heat, humidity, cool nights, and rain.

You now have the makings for a full blown attack.

I'm not saying that all this happens just because you decided to feed your gardens.

There are times to feed, but make sure you feed lightly.

You know how it is on some of those hot, lazy days where nothing sounds good.

You have little appetite.

Your gardens are the same way.

Right about now, a little goes a long way.

Especially if you have fed and cared for your gardens throughout spring.

(Butterfly weed, there aren't many true orange flowers.)

There is a slight exception to this.

Hanging baskets and potted plants.

Because you may spend a portion of everyday watering and keeping these hydrated, something happens.

The nutrients leach out of the soil/potting mix.

And they leach out rather quick.

If you haven't used a time release fertilizer like 'Osmocote' you will want to feed your pots and baskets a 50% less dose once, maybe twice a week (liquid fertilizers), instead of the once every two weeks.

This keeps enough for them to grow, and not stress out.

(A corner of the backyard.)


My first zucchinis of the summer.

We've had plenty of leaf lettuce.

Erbs are doing well.

Tomatoes are blooming.

I haven't seen much in the way of pollinators this year, so I am sure tap and shake the plants for pollination.

You can do that too Bumble Bees are the primary pollinator for tomatoes, other bees aren't strong enough to open the tight flowers.

This is where tapping comes into play.

You can also play pollinator with your melons, squash and other plants that have both male and female flowers.

Have patience with me now.

I know many of you know this, but we do have new readers that may not have your expertise.

Early in the day, take a cotton swab (Q Tip), rub the pollen from the Stamen/Anther (boy parts) of male flower and roll it around on the Stigma (girl part) of the female flower

If in doubt, there are usually more male flowers, and the female flower will show a tiny cucumber, squash, melon, etc. below the flower.

You can do you part to encourage pollinators,simply be not using pesticides.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"We must combine the toughness of the serpent
and the softness of the dove,
a tough mind and a tender heart."

Martin Luther King Jr.

A tough mind and tender heart.

Words to live by.

Similar words were spoken nearly 2,000 years ago by Jesus Christ.

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.
Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

Matthew 10:16

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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