Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pests welcome!

Attention all cabbage loopers, army worms, webworms, diamond back moths, grasshoppers, slugs, aphids, fungal gnats, and all other damaging insects! Available vacancy at The Fox Den Garden; dining accommodations included.

I don't know which got here first (us or them), but anything chewing up our garden will either be food for praying mantises and ladybugs, or disposed of organically. Also, my 4-year old son, Rigel, likes adding new caterpillars to his bug jar...he's got quite the collection of cabbage worms and loopers.
When I think about it, nearly each and every plant in our vegetable garden was selected by myself or the kids for its enticing seed packet, then nurtured, obsessed over and observed every day since. We deserve to be a bit overprotective, right?
In other words, bring it on, bugs and worms.
Exception: Monarch caterpillars. Ever since our milkweed has bloomed, we've been keeping an eye out for those tiny monarch caterpillar eggs found hidden on the bottom of of the leaves. We finally found a few this morning! Last year we raised about 15 monarchs from caterpillar to butterfly outside our kid's window, and it was fascinating.
Adult caterpillars left behind only the stems of each plant--I had to buy more milkweed just to accommodate their voracious appetite!
This year we'll just be observers
(and hope we planted enough milkweed).
The best part of the project was releasing the butterflies...after their wings dried out (and after Mommy put down the camera).

I tried not to pay attention to the lovely black swallowtail butterfly that was laying eggs in our carrot greens this month, but of course--our carrot bed has now become a swallowtail butterfly habitat. I've counted 2 caterpillars, so far.

P.S. check out this charming Monarch butterfly on Etsy... it's handmade wool felt and can be a pin or a hair clip. I'm trying hard not to buy it, but I don't know how long that's going to last.

photo of felt butterfly credit: Etsy


Little Town Tea said...

It looks like from the top picture your garden is coming along nicely. I can't wait to start mine!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful felt butterfly !