Friday, June 5, 2009

Sunflowers and Frogs: Apples and Peas

Back sometime in the middle of winter I signed up for the Great Sunflower Project. I forgot all about this sunflower project until my free seeds arrived in todays mail. The project is sponsored by the Department of Biology at San Fransisco State University.
They send the seeds, free, then I in turn plant and tend them, along with thousands of other volunteers across the country. Once the sunflowers bloom,taking note of how many are blooming and the time of day, one counts the number of bees which visit, stopping at five or after a half hour. The data is then sent twice a month to their Web site.
I thought this would be a responsible, educational and fun project and already have a couple of friends interested in counting. There were about thirty seeds in the package, called Lemon Queen Sunflower. I planted the first ten along the pea fence after planting a short row of Italian Pole beans. I'll keep a post going live here on the Sunflower Project. Tomorrow or Sunday I should be ready to plant the rest. Check out the project on a google search, there is a lot of other information.
The Alaska peas for the most part were a disaster this year. In a ten foot row only two sprouted and the other rows was sparse. Along another fence at the opposite side of the garden, the Little Marvels did pretty good, but not excellent. Usually, I have peas by Memorial Day but they are just now beginning to bloom.
Weather is the likely culprit. We had a cold and rainy spring. It was so cold last week it appears that the apples will be non-existent. The neighbor down the road says his thermometer dropped to 23 degrees F two mornings last week in a row. I had some scattered frost here on top of the hill but even so I am not seeing any apples though I haven't spent a lot of time looking just yet.
While planting the sunflowers, I snapped a photograph of the frogs in the small pond adjacent to the veggie garden. I am pretty certain they are called leopard frogs.
I never saw the second frog in the water until I download the picture. “Jump in, the water is fine,” the frog in the water seems to be saying to the one of the log. Someplace back there the bullfrogs were croakingthis afternoon; hope that is a good sign for the sunflowers and the bees.
For more information on how to attract the bees in the garden click on the title or here Thanks.
UPDATE: A good site I found after posting is the Xerces Society.
For some additional valuable information on the honeybees, check out Maarec. It's really worth the time and effort.

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