*note: in the process of replacing images*

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Ladybugs

Although I'm not a big fan of buying live beasts bred for profit, the warm winter weather brought a massive onslaught of aphids to the raised beds this year. Heaving clusters of ashy grey aphids, ruining all in their path. Kale, bok choy... only my purple broccoli seems to have remained untouched. Last year I nearly lost one of my key heirloom tomato plants to a smaller wave of aphids around March and it did not make me happy.

Although I'm not starting from seed this year (too much attention required, I'll get back to that next spring), I didn't want to lose the seedlings (tomatoes, peppers and beans) we bought to supplement our summer garden either.  So, $9 for a hundreds of ladybugs that will be a lot happier in our yard than in a plastic tub at the store? That felt like a good deal when they'll be saving hours of work and at least $30 of plants. Go ladybugs go!

Plus, it was super fun releasing them and watching them swarm over the worst affected plants. It was like releasing doves at a wedding, only far more productive. My spinach in particular seems to be a favorite - which is ace, because I'm hoping (with a bit of luck and ingenuity) that I can keep it going through the summer. I chose thicker, larger varieties (Giant Noble and Gigante d'Inverno) that grew pretty large unassisted by fertiliser and managed not to bolt in 85-90F weather. So we'll see what happens there when summer gets down to doing it's thing, because that clock is definitely ticking.

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