The green corn is starting to turn brown and dry and the sky has become gray more often than not. Fall is here and I expect the trees to start turning quickly in the next few weeks. The grass in the photo above will become a pollinator meadow and several garden plots: I’ve already laid out the borders and will be removing sod soon to prepare the beds.
In late October or early November, I’ll plant the quarter-acre pollinator meadow with carefully selected perennial seeds and a nurse crop of sterile wheat. More delicate species will need to be started inside and transplanted and still others will be sown in spring. In a few years, with some luck and a lot of work, I’ll have a fully established meadow habitat to host pollinator insects and other creatures (and have less grass to mow).
Each of the six garden plots covers 500 square feet. One plot will be planted with smaller garden vegetables and the other five will be put into rotation with space-consuming crops like potatoes, squash, and sunflowers. Other plots will be given over to blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and lavender and a small orchard of six apple trees will round out the harvest. Herbs and salad greens will grow somewhere yet to be determined.
Here’s hoping that gardening books and magazines and thoughts of fresh, ripe, homegrown tomatoes will help me get through my first long, snowy Michigan winter.
During the second week of July, I planted a handful of New England pie pumpkin seeds. Realizing this was almost too late in the year, my hopes were not high for these plants. The five vines did well at first but powdery mildew eventually set in and I couldn’t keep up with fighting it. These two pumpkins were the only ones to make it to harvest.
On this summer solstice, I’m reflecting on all the wildlife that lives in and around our small patch of earth in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been amazed by how many species live with us—or do we live with them?
Below is a list of creatures I’ve observed over two years. These are just from memory and are animals I could identify. There have been many other unidentified insects.
Red fox (1)
Bluejays Canada geese Cardinals Chickadees Crows Great blue heron (1) Hawks House finches Hummingbirds Goldfinches Grackles Mourning doves Nuthatches Robins Sparrows Turkey vulture (1)
Ants Aphids Bumble bees Carpenter bees Centipedes Common house spiders Crickets Daddy longlegs Dragonflies Earthworms Flies Honey bees Hornets Jumping spiders June bugs Lady beetles Lightning bugs Milkweed bugs Mosquitoes Moths Monarch butterflies Pill bugs Praying mantis (1) Red milkweed beetles
Silverfish Slugs Stink bugs Wasps Wolf spiders