Friday, July 23, 2010

Stippling, pecking, growing

Have you ever read that feeding by a specific insect causes "stippling" on a leaf, and wondered what was meant? This usually is the result of tiny insects with piercing/sucking mouthparts. This bean leaf is stippled to the point that there are so many tiny white spots where an insect has pierced the leaf and sucked out the juices there is little green leaf left for photosynthesis. I have not been able to catch and identify the culprit, but thought you might want to know that this type of damage might come from a tiny insect.

The next photo is of Lena, puffing herself up to look big and mean, right before she got me with two good pecks! Lena has gone broody: she has been sitting on the nest, trying to hatch eggs that are not fertilized. Because I don't want the eggs to go bad, and they, of course, are not going to hatch, I have been reaching under her every day to remove the eggs. (The other hens are climbing in with her to lay their eggs in that nest, despite the empty nest right beside it!). I was able to fool Lena for quite a few days by reaching under the straw from the edge of the nest, but she is on to me now, and showed me how unhappy she was that I was taking her cherished eggs. I am hoping she will snap out of it soon. Having a broody hen is a real pain when you aren't looking to hatch eggs.

Finally, look how the tomatoes finally are growing now that I have both bird netting and a little rain over the last week. They have been delicious!