Putting the garden to bed

This years vegetable garden was mostly flowers. I knew at the beginning of the year that I was not going to have much free time. The only vegetables I planted were potatoes…

Much of the garden was filled with sunflowers. I cut the heads several weeks ago to dry the seeds and left the stalks. This week I attempted to put the garden to bed for the year and found nature was not finished with them yet.

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I pulled about half a dozen stalks when I noticed wasps… and not just a couple

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Now your thinking… how could I have missed them… there are always bees and bugs in the garden… for the most part I just ignore them. This time I could not as there were hundreds.

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They seemed to ignore me but not wanting to temp fate I left the stalks for another time and grabbed the nearest thing to a macro camera I have, my Sony A77 and an old Minotla 70-210 f4.0 lens. A nice macro lens is something I really want to get but for now this worked pretty well.

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Watching the wasps it was obvious there were several “factions” and they would tussle at times.

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The fights would only last seconds and the parties would go their separate ways. Its my understanding that certain types of sunflowers are among those plants that have Extrafloral Nectaries — little glands on the plant’s surface (on stems, leaf nodes) which secrete nectar even when the plant isn’t blooming. So I guess that is what the wasps were after.

In the end I left them to have the stalks. I will wait until after the first hard frost to remove them without risking being stung

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