Gardening Newbie-Learning so much this year!
I discovered that:
1. Sphinx moths are the adults of tomato and tobacco hornworms, and that the big, shiny, beautiful, maroonish-brown pupas I found while digging this spring were the future hornworms of 2007. I did step on most of them (bright green stuff squished out of them!), and now I don't feel so bad that I did.
2. Planting a host plant for butterflies means they are going to CHOW IT DOWN! I had no clue before. But that still makes me happy. Now I know to allow enough room for my Butterfly Weed to get bigger (and to WS more next year). I have three Monarch catepillars on my Butterfly Weed this year (three that are visible to me). I'm so happy!! :-)
4. I CAN grow vegetables and eat them! This year I went beyond Tomatoes and Lettuce and we have some healthy eggplant, zucchini, carrots, and sweet and hot pepper plants this year (All but the peppers were WSed). Not to mention a bounty of Basil (WSed and Spring Sowed). Zucchini fresh picked from the garden is SO SWEET. My husband, the non-gardener, is even excited about it.
The raised bed is working like a charm. I have to break the news to DH that, now, I need two more, so I can rotate crop.
5. Resist the urge to spray! I was almost ready to break out with chemicals when the spider mites (or whatever they were) deciminated the Lupine this year. But I held my hands behind my back, tightly. Glad I did. The armies came in-- the dragonflies, the predator wasps, the lady bugs, the grasshoppers...etc. Although it didn't save my Lupine blooms, it did make me feel better, that the good bugs are still around and I didn't spread anything that would kill them. Sure, the grasshoppers munch on everything, but who cares! We all gotta eat (and they really don't eat much)!
6. And last, but not least, because of the change in the weather pattern over the last four years, our Hydrangeas now need cover for the winter in order for them to leaf out and bloom. For three years, they've done nothing. I finally figured out it was because of there being no snow cover when temps went down to windchills of 20 below. Cover them this past year is yielding us a plethora of blooms.
I love gardening. And a big hug to Trudi, because if I didn't WS, I certainly wouldn't have all these plants (I couldn't afford it, otherwise!)
So where have you all "gained" on the learning curve (particularly gardening newbies)?