Monday, August 31, 2015

My Organic Garden

The summer of 2015 in our area has been perfect for my garden's health and growth. Several days of beautiful sun followed by a day or two of heavy rain seems to have been what my garden needed to produce its bounty of fruits, vegetables and flowers. 

Every spring I add to the earth, the compost from my kitchen waste, but this spring, I sprinkled a
50-pound bag of compost from Cedar Row Farm over the yard.
It made a huge difference. 

Cedar Row Farm is a place of hope for animals that have been rescued from the abuse, neglect, and slaughter found on farms. Hundreds of farm animals, including pigs, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese have been rescued since the sanctuary began in 1999. Located just ten minutes from my home, it's a little piece of heaven on earth.

My garden is entirely organic, which means it's full of insect activity.
 If you look carefully, you will find the good, the bad, the beautiful,
the scary and the slimy.

Not a huge mosquito, as I use to think. They are harmless, just clumsy flyers.

So delicate and pretty. A good one.

Gorgeous and a must in one's garden. Got to plant more milkweed and butterfly bushes.

These slow and slimy ones are voracious eaters; my poor hostas look like colanders. The slugs left their marks in almost everything. Sprinkling broken eggshells around the plant kills the mature slugs, but does nothing to the larvae that have hatched in the plant.

This fancy, goth-looking fly is an important pollinator and has a proboscis, just like a butterfly. It's the larvae of the tiger bee fly that feeds on carpenter bees. I'll let mother nature
decide if this one is good or bad.

Wasps look very elegant to me, but they also scare me a lot. I'm particularly allergic to their sting.

The annoying ones! But at least they don't damage the goods.

I love bumble bees, they are so cute and work so hard. I wasn't able to photograph a honey bee though - very worrying.

At this early stage of life, it has no wings, but boy can it jump. It's gone in a flash.

A cutie, if you ask me.

Millions! I see them hopping out of the way as I walk in my yard. 
They are the sound of summer in the country.

The giant ichneumon was not in my garden, but in my house. It measured approximately 8" from the tip of its antennas to the end of its ovipositor. I had never seen this insect up close except in a photo and was shocked by its size. I found out that it's a beneficial insect, so it was captured in a glass bowl and out it went.

Last, but not least, my favourite. I noticed it after it had just come out of its shell. Beautiful, but bittersweet as her song marks the beginning of the end for summer and 
for the cicada's short winged life. 

I'm always amazed that if you leave mother nature alone, things will balance out; it's called bio-control. But sometimes, a little help is needed with natural homemade products. Next season, I'm thinking of introducing some live praying mantises and attracting more birds.

A few seasons ago, we lost a tree to the emerald ash beetle.
In this cases, drastic measures are needed. I was so glad to read recently that scientists have high hopes in the introduction of predatory bark-foraging birds and predatory wasps to keep the noxious beetle in check. Woodpeckers, nuthatches and Chinese parasitic wasps
could be our new superheroes.

The Dusty Victorian has its own little superhero in our dog Chaz.
He patrols the yard like a little soldier making sure the wild rabbits, the squirrels and the skunks are kept at bay. Unfortunately, he won't tolerate birds either.

Must enjoy every moment, while the garden is lush and alive.


Roger Allen said...

"[Crane fly] are harmless, just clumsy flyers."...but their larvae -leatherjackets - aren't.

It may not be possible in the USA, but in Europe you can get packets of nematode worms to kill slugs. They don't fuss about their age.

Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Oh my goodness Anyes, what an insect tutorial you gave us! You definitely know your bugs! Not many honey bees around here either. :(
Nice garden you have, so glad it is producing well for you. Your guard dog is so cute!
Cedar Row Farm seems like a wonderful place, I have never heard of a place rescuing all farm animals, usually just horses, so that is great. Farm animals are just so cute and sweet, well most of the time. winks
Have a great week,

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Roger,
Thanks for the tip. Yes, most larvae are voracious eaters, unfortunately. You can get nematodes in Canada. I used this method once since we moved to The Dusty Victorian. I think next season will be time for another application.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Gina,
Insects are fascinating to me, they appeal to my sense of detail. I almost find it disappointing when I take a shot of a flower and there's no little creature on it. So pleased you enjoyed a close-up view of my garden😊 .

Mark Ruffner said...

Dear Anyes,

Your garden is gorgeous, as that last photograph attests. I'm so glad you have milkweed in your garden for the Monarchs — are you by chance on one of the famous routes that they take to Mexico?

The Dusty Victorian said...

Thank you so much Mark,
Yes, we are in the Monarchs travelling zone. When I was a kid, Monarchs were very common, therefore not that special. Now, I feel so lucky to see one or two in the summer. I intend to purchase some butterfly houses for them to rest safely, they're made of bamboo - very cute.
Always a pleasure,