Thursday, February 17, 2011
It's going to be a sunny, mild day today with temperatures rising above freezing! I love a good February thaw, although with all this snow, I doubt we'll get much of a thaw.. still, I'll take what I can get at this point! The beautiful sunshine is making me think of summer and one of our favourite garden helpers.. the ladybug. We have a ladybug breeding factory in our mint patch - which is located about a hundred yards from the veggie garden (if you've grown mint before you know why!)
They just love the mint and the kids (and us grown up's) love to spend endless summer afternoons watching the antics of the ladybugs on the shaded mint leaves. All stages of their life cycle are present and we often take handfuls of the larvae and adults up to the veggie garden to control a wide variety of pests like aphids.
Last summer, our sunflower house was beset by aphids - who were being herded and guarded by ants. When we brought up the ladybugs to help control the aphids, the ants would immediately (and aggressively) eject the ladybugs from the plants. It was amazing to watch nature at work and see how these small creatures interact. Don't worry, we rescued the ladybugs and put them in a safer part of the garden! :)
Anyway, here are some photos of our ladybug factory and various stages in their lifecycle.. as well, I included a shot of them on our sweet peas - a very aphid-prone plant, but so essential in a garden..