haricot vert

Another really fun plant has been Emerite Pole Filet Beans (Phaseolus valgaris ‘Emerite’). They all germinated beautifully with cute little trios of heart shaped leaves, and then leaped up the provided trellis. They have provided a handful of green beans about every other day, even from my small garden box. They probably would have been even more plentiful, but I coplanted them with the poppies, which are out competing them a bit. These are the delicate purple flowers they grow, before the beans develop. (http://info.reneesgarden.com/seeds/vegetables/bean-pole-filet-emerite/)

poppies panel2

Open flowers of Papaver somniferum. inside one of them, you can see the seed pod forming, the petals drop off as the pods mature.


Now that it’s summer and things are blooming, I’m going to spend a little time here sharing my recent gardening adventures. I planted a variety of edible plants in raised beds. The most spectacular so far is poppies, for edible poppy seeds. These Hungarian Blue Breadseed poppies (Papaver somniferum) are huge. They are just over four feet tall. The bright purple flowers are nearly as big as my hand, and the seed pods are balls with a two inch diameter. While mostly purple, we’ve had a few flowers open up red, or purple-red. I love how spiny the leaves and stems are, and the way the bend over sharply just before the flowers open up. They are very cheerful. They aren’t quite ready to harvest yet, but so far they’ve been lots of fun. (http://www.bountifulgardens.org/Poppy-Hungarian-Blue-Breadseed/productinfo/GPO-7349/)

Sharifa spore

Unidentified fungal spore picture taken with a scanning electron microscope, redwood forest habitat in Santa Cruz by Sharifa Crandall.

My friend, Sharifa, is working on her a PhD in Environmental Science, she also has a one year old daughter. We were watching the kids play together one night and she commented that that she sees spores everywhere now, especially in all of the variations of toy balls. Unadorned spores, adorned spores, cylindrical, and oblong spores, big and little spores… So many toy spores to play with.

culex 6 small

Mosquito control districts in the U.S. work with state public health departments to ensure that if West Nile virus is detected, the public is notified and efforts are made to control the mosquito population. Nevertheless, it’s still important to use some common sense practices for keeping mosquitoes out of your home and reduce the number of bites that you get. No one likes mosquito bites, right? Clear standing water, such as that found in old tires and outdoor potted plant saucers,  use screens on windows and use mosquito repellant, especially at dawn and dusk, even if there is no current outbreak.

Check out the CDC’s recommendations here: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html