Category Archives: Pollinators

When Ladybugs Might Bug You

When spring arrives and the air warms up, Korean ladybugs awaken and try to get back outside. For some folks, finding what might feel like an invading army of redcoats on the windows can trigger attempts to get rid of them. However, hungry ladybugs eat their weight daily in pests like aphids and whitefly eggs, and these little ladybirds can be terrific garden helpers. Put outside too soon, they’ll simply die for the lack of edible insects. Instead, tuck these beneficials away until spring is truly here. Continue reading

Posted in Gardening With Children, Moss, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | 4 Comments

Restoring Habitat For Birds, Bees, and Butterflies

So are we, and so are a host of small creatures that lived in those woods. Birds and bats, raccoons and foxes, insects and snakes, slugs and salamanders, all displaced if not killed outright. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of space to house many of these beings. The bad news is that they need a bit of the wild, and any touch of wild is in danger these days. When I work with homeowners, I often hear that they want to welcome birds and nurture bees, yet the first thing they want to get rid of is the messy tangle of blackberries and salal, huckleberries and wild roses that so often edge the property. Even when I point out that such tangles are home and buffet for the very creatures they want to welcome, it’s clear that many folks can’t live with that lack of controlled appearance. Leaving some wild can be a hard sell, since our ideas about tidiness can be deeply rooted. Thus, it’s hugely important to equally deeply consider why we may think that the appearance of control is more important than a healthy, intact habitat environment. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Garden Prep, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Planting & Transplanting, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Plants To Lust After

Last summer I got to try out a new sauce tomato called ‘Saucy Lady’, a cuore di bue type that “melts” into robust sauces when cooked, skins and all. The flavor is just about perfect for a sauce tomato; full bodied and rich with just enough tartness to keep it tasting lively even when cooked and canned. A rather amazing tomato called ‘Get Stuffed!’ has no guts; the stippled red-and-tawny-gold skin covers a sturdy, cup-shaped container for your favorite stuffing mixtures. Slice the top off, fill ‘em up with what have you and bake them until bubbly, or stuff them with salad (pasta or chickpea) for a very pretty brunch dish. As an ardent gardener with very little space these days, I’m especially intrigued by a new category of tomato, the 3-4 foot dwarf indeterminates. Any of this new Super Dwarf series will thrive even in large containers and as we saw last year, they really do continue fruiting well into autumn. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, fall/winter crops, Growing Berry Crops, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backyard Permaculture

One important consideration for all who are thinking about creating a more natural garden where insects and critters are welcome is the fact that all critters need water, food and shelter. Unless we have natural ponds or streams, we may need to provide shallow bathing bowls and keep them clean and full of fresh water. Food will be abundant wherever we offer a diversity of plants but providing food and shelter means allowing some visible “damage” to plants we may hold dear. It also means leaving much of the garden undisturbed in winter, when butterflies, frogs, toads and other creatures are hibernating. If you tend toward neatness over the natural, this may be painfully difficult, so one way to ease into a new way of caring for your garden might be to allow sweet disorder to reign in areas you don’t have to look at every day. Keep you entry and walkway as neat as you please and comfort your tidy self with the knowledge that letting go of a little control now will pay a dividend of flourishing garden life in the future Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Growing Berry Crops, Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment