We walk the potatoes every morning and evening, patrolling for potato beetles. Luckily we don't have too many. Maybe 3 - 7 plants per row will be infected. We squish the little ones and put the adults or huge larvae in a jar with soapy water. I don't want to spray these plants. They're supporting a nice bunch of flea beetles but they won't kill the plants. If the potato beetles take over, they will completely defoliate the plants. But, I see many many daddy long legs, lady beetles, hover flies, and predatory beetles. These are beneficial and we need to protect them to have balance in the garden. There's an occasional toad or tree frog. I even saw a lace wing today - a first. So I do everything I can not to spray or interfere chemically or even with neem oil or diatamaceous earth.
That said, I'm getting ready to pull out something for the okra - it's getting attacked again by flea beetles and aphids and this is the second planting so if the seedlings take a dive again, it might be too late to re-plant so that will mean a lost crop. It's a balancing act.
If you can see it, this is a ladybug larvae eating an aphid. They look like mini-alligators. Note the orange spot on the back.
Sheryl joined me about a week and a half ago as our first employee. I am so pleased to welcome her and have her working with us. She's a student at Washtenaw and is thinking about pursuing a degree in nutrition at EMU. She has taken the Organic Gardening Certification classes offered through Washtenaw Community College and also has worked for a greenhouse for a few years. This is her first job working in the field and I think she likes it so far. It's tough work - sometimes tedious, often hard and hot and buggy. So if you have a chance to meet her, please thank her for her help.
I have also been lucky to have the help of Ana - a volunteer that has been working regularly over the past 6 or 7 weeks. She recently retired from UofM and is volunteering at a number of places. She is originally from Romania so she brings perspective that I do not have and that I appreciate. She helped us plant potatoes, weed the onions, harvest the veggies Friday, and much more. She takes the bus to Scio Church and Maple, walks here, works for 4 - 6 hours, walks back to the bus stop, and goes home to, presumably, melt in the tub. She says she does it for selfish reasons - a work out - but I really appreciate it! Again, if you have a chance to meet her, please say thanks.
More later. Please think about the wasps in your garden and household. They're voracious consumers of mosquitoes and other pests. Many lay their eggs into worms (parasitize worms) in order to reproduce. If you kill all of the "bad" bugs, the "good" bugs won't have anything to eat or a way to reproduce. Makes you wonder who the "other' is.