Organic Gardening. At one time that was how everyone gardened. Spraying poisons about is not something I want to do so I look to nature for solutions.
The Praying Mantis family help eat the beetle population and leaf hoppers here on the dahlia farm. Their diet includes a variety of insects and caterpillars. Mostly the Mantis eat, the flower-petal-consuming, insects that we don’t throw out the welcome mat for.
When mowing I’ve often seen Mantis crawl up onto the shrubbery looking at me with their large-Irish-green eyes. I really can’t tell where they are looking but their heads are pointed toward me so I assume they are sizing me up so they can determine if I am a friend or foe. It is said they can turn their heads 180 degrees. One mantis even caught a ride on my shoulder (unknown to me) into the house so I guess it decided I was a friend. I went back outside with the hitchhiker and it flew off. It liked it’s sky-high-roofless-home better. I do, too, on nice weather days.
A Praying Mantis egg sack is often mistaken for the start of a hornet’s nest, at least I did and I always left them alone, fearing a hornet would fly out, when trimming shrubs in the Fall. That proved to be beneficial since we see baby Praying Mantis every Summer. Anywhere from one hundred to three hundred miniature Mantis will crawl out when warm weather arrives and stays awhile. It wonderfully coincides with planting out the dahlia tubers in the field.
So many things go into successful organic farming. Flower farming is not all weather and soil issues. There is always something to stop and admire, something new to learn. What is that “something” for you this year?
It’s almost August and we’ve been waiting since January for this month of stunning, dahlia flowers! A lot of work until now and more work to follow, but soon we will be awestruck.
Until tomorrow…The farm is striving for balance, beauty and abundance. A continual tweaking. Hopefully always for the better.