Cabbage Patch “Weeds” & Pollinators

We have been harvesting and eating cabbage for over a month.  We still have several cabbages growing in the first garden bed.  The cauliflower plants haven’t started making heads yet, but the kale is growing well.  We’ll eat kale in the fall; a frost is supposed to improve the flavor.

kale, cabbage (napa and pak choi), and cauliflower

kale, cabbage (napa and pak choi), and cauliflower

At the other end of the bed, the cabbage greens and roots that grew (some didn’t) are long gone.  We pulled most of them out after they started to form flower heads.  Many “volunteer” plants are growing there now:  dill, cilantro, morning glory, shiso, and marigolds all grew from seeds left by plants that grew there in previous years.  A couple of mustard greens are flowering too.

I put some bamboo poles in the bed for the morning glory vines to climb.

I put some bamboo poles in the bed for the morning glory vines to climb.

I untangled the morning glory vines from the dill and put them on the bamboo pole.

I untangled the morning glory vines from the dill and put them on the bamboo pole.

The dill and cilantro flowers (like many herb flowers) attract many pollinators.

dill (yellow) and cilantro (white) flowers

dill (yellow) and cilantro (white) flowers

There are probably some bees in the mix, but I mostly saw wasps and a few ants.  All of those insects are in the order Hymenoptera.  Butterflies sometimes visit these flowers too, and the black swallowtail butterfly feeds on dill as a caterpillar.

black wasp on dill flower

black wasp on dill flower

This wasp is fairly large, perhaps an inch (25 mm) long, and was flying around the entire area.  I’ve also seen these wasps visit other flowers in my garden, such as onion flowers.

black wasp and ant on dill flowers

black wasp and ant on dill flowers

Look at how the hooks on the wasp’s legs help it cling to the flower!  The ant in the background was also busily visiting dill flowers.

white-striped black wasp on dill flower

white-striped black wasp on dill flower

This wasp is a little smaller than the all-black wasp above, perhaps 2/3 inch (16 mm) long.

white-striped black wasp on dill flower (again)

white-striped black wasp on dill flower (again)

This wasp spent a lot of time on this clump of dill flowers and didn’t seem to mind having my camera lens so close to it.  There were many smaller insects visiting the flowers that I didn’t photograph.  This may be a mason or potter wasp, similar to  Monobia quadridens.

white-striped black wasp on cilantro flower

white-striped black wasp on cilantro flower

The dill flowers seemed to attract the largest number of pollinators, but in the adjacent garden bed (number two) that has mostly dill flowers and few cilantro or other flowers, there weren’t very many pollinators.

 

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About brianbreczinski

work: chemist, NMR manager; hobbies: gardening, reading, photography, electronics, biking, woodworking
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9 Responses to Cabbage Patch “Weeds” & Pollinators

  1. Diane G. says:

    What wonderful pictures!

    “Look at how the hooks on the wasp’s legs help it cling to the flower!”

    I’d been going to comment on that, till I found that you’d done it for me. 🙂 (Perhaps you should send these shots/this post to Jerry Coyne.)

    • Thanks! At first, I wasn’t going to use that photo because the wasp’s eye isn’t in focus (a big no-no), but I thought the legs looked pretty cool. I’m pretty sure promoting one’s own bl*g is against “Da Roolz” and my photos aren’t really up to the standards of most of JC’s contributors.

      • Diane G. says:

        Well, I know, it can be a ticklish matter. But your writing would serve as text he could appropriate, as he likes to do…

        *Edits out slightly snarky comment just in case….* 😀

        I love the way those flowers & wasps have evolved to mesh like hand-in-glove.

  2. Diane G. says:

    And sub….

  3. Pingback: Morning Glory & Bees | gardenblog2013

  4. Update: Replaced 2nd photo, added a new photo after that, and tentative ID of the wasp that is black with white markings

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