caterpillars, leafhoppers, other bugs, aphids
Some favorite plants:
caraway, fennel, goldenrod, dill, coriander, Queen Anne's lace, buckwheat, alfalfa, and parsley
Assassin bugs are long slender bugs with a narrow head and a long beak they use to feed on their prey. They can be black, gray, green, red or brown. The nymphs are only about 1/4 inch growing to 3/4 inch or larger as adults. Some species of assassin bugs also feed on mammals such as rodents or bats.
I can feel the energy of spring pushing through the surface of my mind. Like the first leaves unfurling from the dormant plant, my being seems to be awakening. It's been a long winter, lasting several seasons for me but I feel this excitement about life that hasn't been there for a long time.
Think about feeding the soil. Some techniques such as lasagna gardening and sheet composting work on the idea of feeding the soil microbes. Rather than building a compost pile on the side of the garden, the items are composted in place.
Last year we built an outdoor bin for composting by worms and black soldier flies. Both can be fed to fish and chickens and, in our case, would be fed to the tilapia in our aquaponics system as well as our chickens.
I spent this past weekend visiting my Mother and daughter. The last morning the three of us enjoyed a walk through my Mother's garden. She has almost a half an acre of yard, part in a small orchard and the rest in lush gardens.
Last spring, my Mother decided she could no longer maintain her small garden pond. With the help of friends and some family members, they emptied the pond and pulled out the liner and other associated parts. They then filled the hole with a combination of compost and soil scraped off the orchard area in an effort to level it some.
What is soil? Most people call it dirt. It brings to mind pictures of children's dirty faces or dirty floors or worse yet, germs and bugs and other nasties. And, in some ways those pictures are correct. But soil is so much more.
Soil is comprised of minerals, organic matter, microorganisms, space and water
The minerals are what we normally think of when we consider "dirt". It is really broken down rock. The type of rock determines the type of minerals available in the soil. The texture can be very fine clay, slightly larger silt, gritty sand or even rocks of various sizes.
Two years ago we built a solar greenhouse. The beauty of the greenhouse has been fresh tomatoes in January, a quiet place to escape and a learning space for gardening and nature. This year we decided we would add an aquaponics system to the greenhouse.
Harvesting natures bounty
Imagine with me for a moment... a walk in the forest during a rainstorm. The ground beneath your feet is wet and soft. You can hear the rain as it falls gently upon the trees above and slowly falls down to caress your cheek. The leaves and other debris on the ground soak up the new fallen rain and the excess sinks slowly down through the layers of the forest floor.