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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Some to give away

This young lady has appeared among the blackberries a month ahead of schedule, along with the blackberries, which attract protein to her web: symbiotic. The ladybug was also after the prey insects but blundered into the threads and became prey as well. It's an opportunistic world out there.

I suspected the ladybug would give the babies something to eat when they hatched out; and, sure enough a week later, there they were, arrayed in a rough circle around the edges of mom's prey-garden, each waiting for a gnat or cranefly for school lunchies.

We try to leave well enough alone round here, which can entail slowing down so as not to intrude on unseen activities too much. The gopher snakes have arrived, about two years behind the gophers. The wasps along our eaves are busy in the garden collecting pests; the barn spiders are roping in the flies that breed in the chicken bedding. So we don't mess with cobwebs, yellow-jacket ground nests, snake burrows and such unless we have to. And I do think we're seeing a reduction in aphids, cucumber beetles, cabbage loopers, and codling moth worms.

The Himalaya berries that provide bug juice for garden spiders and ladybugs grow on second-year canes that were runners the year before. All our runners were killed down to the roots by the freeze of December 2013 (minus ten below!) and made no fruit last year; but last year's bushes were all runners and so this year it looks like it will be a bumper crop. Most are not ready for picking yet but the trick with these so early in the season is to look for the tip one of each bunch, which takes the lead in making sugars.

Zukes, cucumbers and tomatoes look like they will have a long season, and the winter squashes have set fruit. We've eaten green beans all month but will now refrain, so as to collect seed for next year. It's not a terrible hardship but does require more forethought than the harvesting of sweet corn. A fifty foot by three foot bed planted with over 150 stalks of corn (maize) can all be eaten except for one good ear. That one should be air dried -- we hang ours in the kitchen -- and will provide much more than enough seeds to repeat the performance. You will have enough to give away.

There's not much point in living as if the air I breathe was put there just for me, now is there? So whatever you do, consider doing it in such a fashion that you have some for you and yours, some for your "pests" (on whom your predators depend), some to put by, and some to give away.


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