Friday, May 7, 2010

A bit about bugs

A responsible gardener will make sure to be informed about how to keep their garden healthy. If that gardener is also wanting to stick with organic, they will need to learn many of the tricks of the organic trade. One of these tricks is knowing bugs. What not nearly enough people know is that there are many creepy-crawlies that actually do your garden a lot of good.
First off is the common earthworm. Not only good for fish bait (although I have never caught a fish with one), these little critters can make your soil incredibly healthy. You don't even have to pay any money for them. All you need to do to have these beauties working hard on your soil is toss vegetable and lawn cuttings on your garden and keep it wet. The moisture will attract the worms and they will munch those cuttings and turn them into rich soil. So keep your garden moist!

Another little guy that is good for your garden is actually referred to as a gal. It is the ladybug, sometimes called the ladybird. You know the kind. They are small, have rounded bodies that are usually some shade of red and polka-dotted, and they are good luck! These tiny, tickling bugs eat whiteflies and aphids like mad. To attract ladybugs to your garden, be sure to keep cup-shaped flowers and plants around. If ladybugs don't come to your garden, you can go to a nursery and pick some up! They're actually quite cheap. 

The third crawly that is good for your garden is truly creepy. It is the spider. We are not talking about black widows or brown recluses. Just your regular spider. Let them make their home in the leaves of your garden and they will eat just about any other bug around! The little pill-bugs (wood lice) don't stand a chance! Just take care to not harvest at night! Sticking your hand into a lush tomato plant and having a spider drop on your fingers will just about turn your hair white!
A final bug that will do your garden some good is the praying mantis. Yes, they offend us because the female eats its mate's head, but let's get past that, shall we? These long, unusual-looking bugs will chow down on regular meals of garden pests. So every time you see a mantis, pick it up and give it a comfy home in your squash plants or flowers.
Enjoy your bugs.

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