Hi Everyone! Happy Sunday. Olivia and I thought we would share a little garden advice and introduce everyone to some good friends of ours, “Mr. and Missis Ladybug” This time of year when things get warmer and humid, the ants come about, especially quick in greenhouse production or gardening. More so in the fall in the outside garden, but our starts greenhouses tend to boost this dilemma. The Aphids thrive, the aphids are actually being raise or farmed by the ants.
The Ants take the eggs of the Aphids & raise them in their own nursery’s along with their own young! They attend the same classes, play together on the playground, the whole nine yards! Then they relocate them to their favorite food “Our Produce, Your favorite food!” then the now young adult aphids produce a sweet nectar from their abdomen, in gratitude of this symbiotic relationship. This nectar feeds the ants.
So with this understanding its important to attempt to control the Ants which is very hard, but we can have an significant impact on their population. Baits are a key for control. Boric acid or diatomaceous earth may be mixed with an attractant like sugar-water or honey to make your own. Ants carry it back to the nest and feed it to others in the colony. “Safer Company” offers an off the shelf organic version.
Now for the Aphids we prefer Ladybugs, Ladybugs sure love to munch on aphids their larvae do as well. Ladybug larva look like little red and black lizards. We introduce over 10,000 ladybugs to our greenhouse and farm every month. We also encourage their natural reproduction here on the farm and entice them to stay. Here’s how…We order them off the web, they arrive by mail. Then we spray a Ladybug Nectar that is a specially formulated nutritional supplement.
This feeds them sweets and keeps them around as well as-stimulates reproduction. Also we plant a mix of windflowers which they prefer to lay eggs on. When we come across their eggs while harvesting we keep them around by relocating them to ornamental plants to hatch out. In organic gardening its all about understanding the small things. Attached you will find photos of most of this.
Happy Gardening! Grow good food!