This rosy maple moth was holding on to the broccoli today for dear life. I wanted to pick that vegetable, but none of my bluff and bluster fazed the little critter – it didn’t budge. I gently moved it to my finger and huffed and puffed to get it to fly away, but only its wings moved with my breath:
It eventually was coaxed into leaving my finger for a sugarberry leaf. It is Dryocampa rubicunda, a member of the Wild Silk Moth family, the Saturniidae, and was named by Fabricius in 1793. The species is said to irrupt (have a population explosion) occasionally and defoliate trees, so evidently it was important enough to be noticed early in the English colonization of the New World. Its caterpillars feed on maples, oaks, beech and butternut, while adults do not feed. The one pictured probably overwintered in a shallow underground chamber.
I don’t see too many insects in my vegetable garden, so I jumped at the opportunity to photograph this one. I suspect part of the reason for so few insects is this green treefrog, Hyla cinerea, on the Brussels’ sprouts:
The vegetable garden haul today was 28 oz broccoli (no stems, all food, and that may be the last of the broccoli for the year), two cabbages and a handful of buttercrunch leaf lettuce. Yum! Again, I say, if you are a Floridian wanting a veg garden, plant using the IFAS schedule: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021. If you’re not a Floridian, I bet your state’s land grant university has something comparable. I harvest something almost every day – lately being English peas, scallions, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce. The tomatoes and bell peppers are mostly just sitting there, waiting for more warmth. I think they dislike 50°F at night, but the 80°F+ by day is awakening them, slowly – Big Boys, Better Girls and a Tommy Toe. The red (new) potatoes are growing like gangbusters, radishes are out of the ground and are basing for a flush, garlic and both red and yellow onions continue to grow steadily larger, newly planted scallions are leaping up even though it is late for them, remaining cabbages will need to be harvested over the coming very few weeks, peas will soon wilt and be replaced by blue lake pole beans that are already hesitantly coming up out of the ground (need more warmth), and herbs just keep on producing spice whenever the palate calls for it, rosemary, oregano, dill and cilantro.