30 April 2020


Most of my latest set of seedlings are up. What didn't sprout yet: one basil tray, the sunberry, and the peppers. I did some reading- my pepper seeds might be too old after all. They usually only last two to five years, twenty is really good if kept in perfect conditions. Which means perfectly dry. You're supposed to let the container come to room temperature before opening it, because sudden influx of warm air the seeds get humidity and don't keep. I have probably many times opened a seed storage box out of my fridge without letting it sit first. And most of my pepper packets are more than two years old.

I was out cleaning up some of the back perennial bed yesterday. Trimming down the old liriope foliage, it had lots of rusty looking spots with paler edges. I had thrown everything into the compost pile (also trimmed out older cold-damaged leaves from base of hellebores) and then looked up info about it. Could be anthracnose. A soil-dwelling fungal disease. Which probably won't be killed in my compost pile. So I went back out this morning to pull all that material off top of the compost pile and throw in the trash.

Also saw lots of damage on my echinacea plants- holes everywhere. Some of the leaves completely skeletonized. Rudbeckia too. I thought slugs at first, but found little black spiky caterpillars. At first I guessed the larvae of leopard moth (that would be cool to see again!) but more looked it up, they're probably silver checkerspot butterflies. Which yes, tend to eat echinacea but don't grow very large before they pupate (an inch). I left them all alone. My echinacea patch sure is thick enough, I don't mind loosing some of the plants there will always be more at this point.

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