Joining Sara at Farmama for a looksie around the Garden.
The garden is a busy place these days. We're harvesting and infill planting, mulching and weeding. We're not the only busy ones, the garden is full of busy bugs, too!
Our Praying Mantids finally hatched! We've ordered these pest-eating monsters in years past from the folks at Arbico Organics and they definitely help keep unwanted bugs under control. This is the first year that we've seen the mantids as babies. Instead of nesting the eggs in a tree branch, we made a little basket and hung them on our bean poles, hoping we'd get to see them hatch.
They're barely a half inch long right now.
But soon they'll grow to be this BIG!
By the end of summer they'll grow to be around 5-7 inches long.
The mantids are fierce hunters, and we have plenty for them to eat with the droves of grasshoppers this year. In general I don't mind the grasshoppers so long as they don't eat more than their share, but my goodness, do we have a ton of them this year - ranging in size from teeny tiny to down right huge.
The Ladybugs are hanging around too. They're a mixed blessing because they only come around if they have something to eat, and unfortunately they do...we've spotted a few colonies of aphids.
There is nothing to like about aphids. Nothing. They are nasty little things that will suck the life right out of a plant, and make a mess while doing it. We found some on one of my sunflowers and we quickly removed those leaves. I'm hoping they don't find our brassicas or chiles (again!).
The flea beetles are annoying, munching holes in just about everything (they especially love the arugula and mustard greens) but they're mostly harmless. We don't mind eating lattice-hole greens.
Looks they're busy eating and... multiplying.
And they're not the only ones who are enjoying some summer-time Afternoon Delight!
This lucky spider found a nice morning snack on one of my sunflowers.
And a shout-out to some of our favorite pollinators! Thank you, friends.
Now check out this dude: pest or beneficial? I'm not sure, but there aren't many around. I will be keeping an eye out for what (or who) he's eating.
When I snapped this picture of the fella below, I didn't know what he was. Steve and I have been doing some research and now we're pretty sure he's a Tamarisk Beetle, Stripped Cucumber Beetle Three Lined Potato Beetle, which is not good. He and a few buddies could devastate a garden. Looks like we'll be beetle hunting later.
Last but not least are the Worms - quite possibly the most important garden helpers we have!
We would never.ever.ever spray chemical pesticides or herbicides on our sweet little garden plot. We deal with pests using natural methods such as applying Neem oil, using natural bacterial spray and introducing Beneficials like lady bugs, praying mantids, green lacewings and nematodes. If necessary, Steve and I will take on the role of Pest Slashers by squashing or literally slashing the bad guys with scissors. It's a nasty job, but someone's got to do it. I mean, some of these pests can take down a tomato plant over night, and that's just not acceptable, now is it?
So, who's hanging out in your garden?