But, let's start with the bunnies. They're not so much of an issue now that we have a secure fence, but before we got that together, they had a daily feast. Bunnies have munched our kale, lettuce, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, and blackberries. Don't get me wrong, I love the bunnies. I even have a holland lop bunny named Alonso residing in my home... and he eats a lot of organic produce too, come to think of it. Thankfully, the fencing has eliminated any sort of internal struggle I might have in the battle of bunny vs. sustenance. Hopefully, we can now have some of those 'spring greens' in fall.
|this one was so cute, i actually *tried* to feed him.|
The terror of the garden now is the cucumber beetle & his friend, the squash bug. Their first victim was the lone cucumber plant. We'd just harvested our first cucumber, and several more were in progress, when I started noticing wilted leaves. After some research, I identified the "yellow ladybug" and tried to save the plant, but to no avail. I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but it looked like bacterial wilt.
|we have the striped & the spotted ones. we're lucky that way.|
|squash bug laying eggs on our summer squash plant.|
We hoped to have some praying mantids in the garden, but we were late to the beneficial bug party this year, so it's at the top of the list for next spring. We did, however, order some ladybugs from amazon.com (further proof you can get anything at amazon.com). They arrived in great shape and with clear instructions on how to release them. Having no experience with keeping bugs instead of getting rid of them, I was surprised to find that you should store them in the refrigerator until release. Though I was concerned they'd die in there next to the soy milk, it actually helped to make them less alert and slow-moving for release. Once you take them out of the fridge, it takes a few minutes for them to become active again, so it's a good time to open the lid and put them in the garden without having them all rush the top at once.
The most recent visitor to wreak havoc was actually enjoyable to watch, which is always a plus. These are black swallowtail caterpillars and grow up to be very beautiful butterflies.
|fat swallowtail caterpillars in the parsley|
|what the caterpillars become|
Granted, they devoured every last bit of the parsley in the span of a day, but they were so stunning to watch, I must admit that I really didn't mind. Maybe in their next life they'll return the favor by coming back to pollinate.