Birds, bees and butterflies
Updated: Aug 8
Buzzy bees and butterflies are delighting in what the Garden of Earthly Delights currently has to offer. Tithonia (Mexican sunflowers) seem to be a favourite.
As noted earlier in the season, the butterflies seem a little ragged of wing this year.
Yesterday, after farmers market, I cleaned and weighed the Dutch Yellow Moon shallots . From a half pound planted, the harvest is around 2 lbs. Not as impressive as garlic but I didn’t think they were doing all that well, hot dry spring and all. I battled to keep them damp.
The French Grey, though smaller, produced way more in division so have proven a better return on investment to plant. They also did well at farmers market in half pound mesh bags. Considering I spent around $50 investing in planting sets of 3 varieties of shallot, I am still a long way from breaking even. I do have 5 or 6 pounds of cured French Grey on hand though (not weighed yet so that could prove inaccurate estimate.)
The research which I did claimed shallots were a better return on investment than garlic. My experience so far, admittedly over only a few seasons of one variety of garlic and one season of three varieties of shallots, is saying the contrary. Before giving up completely on shallots, next season I thinking to try only one variety: Dutch Red in different area of the garden and probably plant no onions. Because skunks (later post)
I am thinking that, with such a small harvest, I will not be offering any Dutch shallots at the market, but rather, curing them all for my own kitchen. Which is going to disappoint one customer who is waiting for Dutch shallots but my primary aim is to supply my kitchen, and only sell excess to my needs.
While I was out at farmers market in the morning yesterday, birds had a field day in the grape vines. There are zero black grapes left but I wasn’t keen on them anyway because they are not as sweet as the green and have a seed inside.
There are. still a few less-than-premium bunches of green grapes left. I brought one bunch in for Sunday morning breakfast. I am debating whether I want to harvest more for myself or let the birds continue their feasting.
It has been a good season for green grapes - my first. The backyard birds and I have been well nourished while I have, to date, managed to eat all the ripe figs myself, not a single indication of bird interest there. A desert garden can certainly provide fruit - with a bit of supplemental water, of course.