Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Random Stuff

Let me start by saying... "Where did March go?" I can not believe how fast it went by.

Did you know in the month of March the Painted Lady Butterfly migrates from the Southern California desert areas northward? It just so happens this migration path is running right past my window at work and through my backyard. I have guesstimated the fight path in my area to be about 15 to 20 miles wide. It is amazing to see hundreds of butterflies within minutes fly past you.

Over the weekend while I was in the garden they would fly by 2 to 5 at a time every 10 seconds or so. You can tell they are on a mission and can almost feel the sense of urgency as they fly by.
The photo below is my attempt to catch them in flight over my house going north...
Click on photo for a larger view...

For more information on the Painted Lady Butterfly migration check out these two links...

Art Shapiro's Butterfly Site "This website describes over 34 years of data collected by Dr. Arthur Shapiro, professor of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California UC Davis"

San Mateo County Times

And since we are on the topic of things that fly I found this little guy hanging out on a raspberry leaf.

Then he took off to check out the nectarine tree and play hide-n-seek with me..

Now if he could make his way to the bell peppers and snack on this...
Click on the photo... can you see it? It's right there on the bud... can you see it now?

Random photos taken Sunday March 29th...

Corn in bed 2


Sunday afternoon I started working on the sun shades. I have three sets of wires running from the back fence to the eve of the house to hang the sun screens. The old one's were starting to fall apart and blocked 90 to 95 % of the sun which would not work out well for a vegetable garden. So it's time to replace them.

I'm using Sun Screen Fabric. It blocks out about 75 % of the sun which will come in handy July through Sept. The way my back yard is setup it can hold a lot of heat during the day. This should help to cool things off a bit when needed for both plants and people.

Two sets of wires will have three 6 foot panels and the third one will have two 6 foot and one 4 foot. This will make it easier to shade only the areas I want to shade unlike the old panels that were one single piece.

The cut edge will have a 1 1/2 inch hem to give them a finished look and to ensure a better hold for the clips.

I thought of a few ways to secure the hem, but in the end sewing them was the best method.

The clips are held in place by a small screw

I've completed all the cutting and sewing. I just need to add the clips and they will be ready to install.


  1. I always enjoyed watching the migration of the Painted Ladies at our AZ property. I missed them this year, as we came back home so soon.

    I actually had a cabbage moth flying around in my plant window this week! That's where I have several of my brassicas growing, so I got it out fast...no photos!

    I love shade cloth. Living in AZ, I'm quite familiar with its benefits. It's unbelievable how cool it can be behind/under it.

  2. engineeredgardenApril 1, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    Liisa, have you determined what that bug is on your bell pepper? It's hard to tell from the photo, but baby cucumber beetles and also baby squashbugs are gray in color - just like that. Let me know if you need some photos of each. I had both last year, and took plenty of photos.


  3. Your ladybug looks like a Japanese import known as Harmonia axyridis it's used for bio-control and is pretty common in the US these days.

    I grew up on the California coast and used to love to watch the Monarchs migrate every year. It's amazing!

  4. Granny,

    Good thing you saw that moth before it could do any damage. I think the shade cloth will do the trick this summer.


  5. Hi EG,

    No I have not determined what that bug is. In fact I didn't even see it when I was taking the photo. It wasn't until I was looking at the photos on the computer that I saw it. I went back out to see if it was still there, but couldn't find it... I even used a magnifying glass.

    I would love to see the photos you have of the cucumber beetles and baby squash bugs. It would be very helpful. Thanks. Do you still have my email address?


  6. Jenn,

    Thanks for the ID on the ladybug. You saved me some time from having to look it up myself.

    This now makes two different kinds of ladybugs I have seen in my yard. I didn't get a photo of the first I saw.


  7. Do you put that sun shade stuff over your vegetable garden in the summer??? Everything I had last summer got cooked in the heat and I just assumed that vegetable gardening in the summer was impossible... is this shade something you can use on a garden??? (Great blog BTW)

  8. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for reading my blog! Yes this type of shade can be used in the garden. They have different types of shade cloth that will block the sun by different percentage . The old shade I had would block out 95 % of the sun‘s rays. This new cloth will block 75%. I’ve seen it in three colors the tan color I have as well as green and black. You should be able to find this at any big box garden center.

    This is my first year planting a vegetable garden so I'm hoping the sun shade will do the trick and keep the garden a little cooler on those really hot days.

    The shades will be installed on wires that run from my back fence to the eve of my house and will be about 9 feet over head covering the entire garden (growing area). I’ll post photos of the install once it’s done.

    I currently use the shade cloth over my tomato bed. Though it’s only been the 70’s it gets really hot in that bed since it is against a fence. By 1:00 my poor tomatoes are starting to wilt. I put up the shade cloth and they are very happy now.