Friday, June 3, 2011

Pest Control

"At four o'clock
it encountered
an elephant.
'Hey you,' said
the grouchy ladybug.
'Want to fight?'
'If you insist,' said the elephant,
raising its trunk and
showing its big tusks.
'Oh, you're not big enough,'
said the grouchy ladybug
and flew off."
-The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

2011 garden plot (carrot box is cut out at the bottom) 

We have many pest problems in the garden to contend with and sometimes it feels like a constant battle.  Ants, scab bugs, worms, stink bugs and aphids are a just a few of those problems.  We have put up smaller fencing to keep the groundhogs out and may or may not have drowned a few in the canal.  Unfortunately we can't do that to the unattended children who wander through, but that is blog post that will never be written (I must maintain some sort of grace after all). As an organic garden we have to come up with creative and earth friendly ways to dispose of these unhelpful bugs so our delicious eats might survive the growing season.

So I mail ordered 1500 ladybugs.  Who knew that you could get a bucket of ladybugs from for a mere $10 and they will be waiting on your doorstep 4 days later, ready to eat your aphids away? I am excited.  

I released my little friends into the plot last night at dusk.  Supposedly ladybugs will not fly in the dark so if you release them at dusk on the plants they will make their home there over night and stay forever on your plot.  Let's hope this is the case and they won't want to be like the Grouchy Ladybug and fly around the world fighting larger animals.

Their traveling home

Getting comfortable on my pepper plant

Not pests, but the ducks and chickens live in our garden

This one is the boss

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A New Season

Since the only thing I do on a regular basis besides going to work everyday is gardening and canning, I thought this would be a great place to show off my small accomplishments in those areas. Last year was my first year of canning and gardening and I must say I caught the bug. 

This year I am going to try and become a little more adventurous in my canning exploits.  I have already started the season out pickling asparagus and radishes (only three pints each, so if you get some count yourself lucky!). Of course there will be the required 20 or so jars of blueberry jam, my favorite, and 40 or so pints of crushed tomatoes to fill my shelves. I might explore a couple different kinds of mustard too which means that I will have to stock up on seeds at Your Dekalb Farmers Market when we go to Atlanta in 3 weeks.

On the gardening side of things, there is much more variety in the plot this year.  I held back and only planted three tomato plants this year (different varieties of course).  I've also planted carrots, red beets, golden beets, hot and sweet banana peppers, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, cabbage, lettuce, watermelon, cucumber, and bush beans. Plus all the herbs on the porch. Looking at this list, now that I have typed it all out, I might have gone a bit overboard.

I'll post photos, recipes, and most likely pleas for help frequently, so be sure to stop by often!
Radishes on the left, Asparagus on the right