16 Bugs Gardeners Should Love

Predatory Wasp
Predatory Wasp – Lays eggs inside bad bug larvae (such as the moth larvae above in our sunflowers). The wasp’s young hatch inside and explode the pests  from the inside out!

My daughter shared this news article and slideshow with me, and I just had to share it with you!

Their presence is a gardener’s gift. Repay it by avoiding nonorganic pesticides, says W.M. Hood, professor of entomology at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Spring is afoot here in Southern California, and you’ll be seeing (hopefully) some of these ‘beauties’ in your yard & garden.

Beneficial insects are key to a healthy organic garden and you can do much to attract them and keep them in your yard.

By keeping your yard beneficial insect friendly, these good bugs will keep coming back year after year!

Read more: http://realestate.msn.com/16-bugs-gardeners-should-love

16 Bugs Gardeners Should Love

Garden Frustrations Abound, But Plenty of Positive Going On

After my “I hate my garden” hissy-fit the other day, I just spent 6 hours manicuring our strawberry beds. Loving them! They look like they are going for round two. It’s times like these that I have to remember all the positive going on so these problems don’t get the better of me. It IS My Garden Haven after all.

First, the bad that is driving me crazy:

  • Root Knot Nematodes are still in our salsa garden. They are affecting our tomatoes. That, coupled with very cool, overcast conditions so far this summer = tomato harvest at risk!
  • Bolting: Arugula, mustard, tatsoi, cilantro, spinach (see “bolting” in positive things below)
  • Container veggies  (tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans): They hate the potting mix I concocted. Creativity and penny-pinching turned around and bit me.
  • Ants and aphids in the artichokes. I spray them off every day, then they are back. It is the black aphids.
  • Bagrada bug: Southern California’s latest organic gardening menace! It has decimated our radishes, arugula, and alyssum.

    Bagrada Bug
    Bagrada Bug
  • Not enough time or energy to do everything needed
  • Tomatoes have escaped their staking
  • Tomato leaves have spotted white mildew on them
  • Heirloom tomato plants are big, but all blossoms have dropped thus far
  • The over-watering dilemma
  • The planted-too-close-together dilemma
  • Blueberries aren’t producing
  • Snap peas not well. They got all covered in white (powdery mildew?) and stopped producing. Good while they lasted, though.
  • Our crazy kitten chases insects and lands on plants, damaging them. I know it’s her.

Things making me happy:

  • Giant sunflowers are giving needed afternoon shade to plants in all day sun, plus welcoming butterflies :D

    Butterfly on sunflower – took me 30 minutes to get this shot
  • Bolting (see above): Actually also positive because the flowers are attracting beneficial insects and will give seeds to use this winter!
  • We harvested our first garlic crop and it is hanging to cure!

    Garlic Harvest
  • We planted peppers where the garlic was, and they seem to like it there so far.

    Peppers!
  • Thanks to my husband, we now have two additional water faucets in the back yard, making my job much easier
  • Strawberries really put out this year and they look like they are going for round two!
  • We have blackberries!
  • Our Anna Apple Treehas produced so many apples, there are plenty to share. Several people have said they are the best apples they have ever had. I need to make applesauce!
    Micah reaches for an anna apple

    Oh yeah!
  • We are growing kale for the first time and it’s going well! We have made several homegrown kale green smoothies.
  • Basil has turned the corner and is doing well! We have Genovia, Lemon, Thai, and Italian
  • We have learned how to use our new dehydrator and are dehydrating a lot of our own fruit and herbs
  • Raspberry patch: One cane has baby berries :)
  • The bees are very very happy workers in our garden

    Image courtesy Ken Shortridge
    Honey bee in our succulents
  • Planted tomatoes in the ground from their containers and they are coming around
  • The Sungold cherry tomatoes are delicious!
  • NO tomato hornworms (thanks to borage)
  • Jalapeños are coming on
  • I found a perfect place for planting dill. It really loves the semi-shade spot.
  • We had our first BLT with our own tomatoes (Pastured bacon of course)
  • It smells herbalicious everywhere! Oregano, rosemary, basil, cilantro… Love working the soil and smelling those smells!

Ok, so that is enough positive to shut my mouth!

What do you do when your garden is driving you crazy?

-Anya

PS: A lot more is happening over at facebook.com/mygardenhaven – it’s so quick and easy to post photos and such… Have you “Liked” yet?

Garden Frustrations Abound, But Plenty of Positive Going On

10 foot sunflower!

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10 foot sunflower!

Complete Destruction of a Sunflower!

Well, one of our sunflowers is playing trap crop to a host of caterpillars. It looks like the mother butterfly layed all her eggs in one basket, as it were. We haven’t found any caterpillars on the surrounding plants except one. 


I noticed the leaves of the sunflower had all turned brown, and upon closer inspection found the following. The question is, to let them continue as is, or uproot the stalk? On the one hand, since they seem so happy there, perhaps they will leave the other plants alone. On the other hand, the destruction is so complete, could this affect the other plants in our garden?


What do YOU think?







Nom.

 
Unaffected Sunflower just 2 feet away



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Complete Destruction of a Sunflower!