Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Transformations Are Beginning

Marcus Aurelius, my Polydamas Swallowtail caterpillar has been acting strangely. I thought he might be dying on me. When I purchased him, I was told that he likely wouldn't form his chrysalis for several weeks. The first two days I had him, he ate voraciously and defecated copiously. I was thrilled. I had a very active caterpillar.

But then, for two days he did hardly anything. He seemed to be moping around the top of his plexi glass cube. I put a new stick and some fresh leaves in with him and he ignored them. I wondered if the stress of several car rides had just been too much for him.

Yesterday he did nothing at all. I was convinced he was dead. He was just hanging from the top of the cube by a few webby threads. I checked on him again this morning before heading to work and he definitely appeared dead. I felt awful. Somehow, I had killed him.

I came home from work at lunch, however and discovered that over the course of the morning, Marcus Aurelius had transformed! He had entered his chrysalis phase. Currently, he is a beautiful Spring green chrysalis, and I am so happy that I have not yet killed him.

But the transformations did not stop at Marcus. My Carbon tomatoes have also just begun to sprout! So far I have sprouts emerging from three of the four soil pods I had sown. It is getting near freezing tonight and tomorrow night, so I moved the seed tray into the house for the nights. I am hoping that the Black Cherry tomatoes will soon be sprouting as well.

I had some herb seeds that do not transplant well, so I scrounged up some aged pots and used the last of my bag of potting soil to get them started. I now have Thyme, Dill, and Cilantro seeds sown in these pots. I also have small plants of Rosemary, Mint, and Catnip growing in pots as well.

This weekend I plan to clean up the balcony and get the layout set. I am not sure it will be a good time to plant the zucchini, melons, beans, or onions yet. It's still pretty early in the year, and I don't want a surprise freeze to destroy the growing plants.  But I will at least purchase the window boxes, tomato cages, and soil that I am going to need. And of course I will post pictures of my progress.

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