Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Animals on the urban terrace

Oscar is coming along, fatly. I named him Oscar. Why not anthropomorphise that which spells doom to my flat leaf parsley?

As I mentioned in a previous post, his tiny black brethren, hatched days after he was, are nowhere to be seen - blown away by wind? Drowned by rain? Eaten by a bird? Don't know. Several times I have seen the Black Tiger Swallowtail flitting about the terrace, and it may not have been the same butterfly every time. So I expect more caterpillars.

I ate two of the last figs yesterday, and only one is left on the tree. Of the 105 we counted months ago, on June 21st, I would say that two thirds made it to ripeness. It seems a long, long time since I picked that first fig exactly one month later, on the 21st of July...I missed a dozen or so while we were in Rockport last week, but I dried them, and then ate them almost all at once. I know, I'm a pig.

So. The point is, what is wrong with the leaves? They have a mottled shadow that echoes the shape of each leaf, and it looks as though it may happen to every leaf. Do I blame it on the marmalade, ameliorated marmorate stinkbugs, though I have seen neither hide nor carapace of them since that last hatching? Anyway, it does not look good.

Any ideas?

Today: a story to write about fall flower alternatives (perennial) to the ubiquitous mums (that's chrysanthemums to non-American readers); then, cucumbers on the roof farm out; upland cress in, mesclun mix in, garlic in, too, though that will be a late season experiment. Interestingly, that garlic I pulled was also on June 21st, the summer's solstice.

September is five days away. One of the very best New York months.


  1. Well, if you ever figure out the problem with your fig, please let me know. My Brown Turkey is suffering from the same leaf yuck as yours. On top of that, I never got another crop of figs after the first; despite the fact I got two last year.

    I'm leaning towards high heat and humidity as a cause which is also causing a terrible case of black spot on my roses.

    I guess I'll save what I can and start over again next spring.

  2. I *just* posted about a caterpillar who destroyed my very healthy flat leaf parsley plant! I'm not sure what kind he is or where he came from, but he and his four friends devoured the whole thing! Any suggestions for preventing them?

  3. Karen - I'll do some more research on the figs...

    little owl - probably Tiger Swallowtail children...

  4. Without seeing your fig...I'm with Karen on the problem being to do with your terrible summer. High humidity (especially when plants have been heat-stressed) will knock a fig sideways.
    If it's not really sick, just leave the leaves to drop naturally, but if they don't do that de-leafing might be the answer.
    The brave little tree poured so much energy into producing the fruit it needs its rest now!

  5. Hope it's nothing serious with your fig tree. She's a sweet little girl. (I'm guessing ...)

    Love the photo of the Tiger Swallowtail child. Reminds me -- colorwise -- of the lovely Monarch caterpillars I played with as a child. Very smooth and slinky!


  6. Good afternoon!

    First off I must tell you how much I love your blog. Hope you win the award! I'd like to ask a bit of advice. Recently I purchased a packet of Burpee seed and would like your advice or results if you have planted before. It is named "gourd-Luffa" like the loofah's you purchase in shops for bathtime. Very unique seed. I scanned the packet but am not sure if I can attach files to this comment area. If I am not able to attach I will type in the directions if that is alright.

  7. Sure sounds like a fungal infection of some kind, which isn't surprising given our hot and humid summer. I found this site and would guess that your leaf resembles the description for cercospora leaf spot.

  8. dinahmow - you are probably right. I just want it to rest healthily...Leaf drop is not a huge problem as long as that is all that happens.

    Ikaika, oops, I mean Keli'i - did they squirt you?

    Hi Vanessa - thank you. I have never planted those gourds, and am just coming to terms with the fact that I have gourds on the roof, accidentally...It sounds as though you will need an arbour or trellis to support them. I take it you are in the southern hemisphere if you are planting now?

    QC, as usual, you are an excellent detective; I bookmarked that page, lots of interesting stuff there. Thanks very much.

  9. The Monarchs weren't very squirty, but the tomato hornworms are another story ...

  10. Thanks for the info. I reside in Southern California and we are just now getting into our summer. The weather has been odd this year. Normally it's hot the beginning of July along with sunshine.

    The seed says when picked young they can be sauteed or steamed, or you can harvest dry and create the bath loofahs. Harvest time is 120 days and they must be picked before frost. Maybe my growing season will extend past the holidays :0 We'll see how it goes!

    Thanks again for the beautiful photos!


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