Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lots of Ladybugs, and one Neighbor Boy to Garden With

This first photo, showing a ladybug larva on a potato plant in my garden at the neighbors', is from June 4th.

The rest of the photos were taken today, some this morning, and some in the evening.  The neighbor boy, who lives where I garden and I have been seeing lots of the larvae.  Lately there have been changes in the little creatures.  I did some research online, and re-learned that the larvae latch onto a plant and turn into pupa, and in a few weeks emerge as ladybugs.

I was amazed today at how many there were, and not all were at the same stage.  They were on all kinds of plants, mostly weeds, but also the potatoes, and even a couple onions!

This evening, when we were going to weed, we even saw a bunch on fences!  I don't think I've seen any here in my yard.  I guess there are benefits of having weeds.  (Last year, it was overgrown with sumac and other volunteer trees and weeds.  They are attempting a return, but I am winning the battle so far.)

I had read where a person should build their stick pile in a criss cross pattern, so we did that this evening.

We decided to put a "roof" on the pile, from a couple branches my husband had trimmed from the tree in the front, where I have some tomatoes and marigolds.  (That's our yard across the street.  My (other) vegetable garden is behind the fence.)

We did pull some weeds, but were careful not to pick the ones the ladybugs were on.  When they are finished with them, we'll get the rest pulled.

I loved the look of anticipation as he was checking the onions to see if they were ready.

My husband carried the alfalfa hay over that I had purchased after remembering to look at the link in my sidebar to Marnie's post about using alfalfa tea on her blog, Lilacs and Roses.  I may have gotten the wrong thing, as this was dehydrated alfalfa hay.  It was to feed horses, though. It should still be good for the plants. 

We just spread it around the pepper and tomato plants so far.  When I said something about people making a tea from the alfalfa, my friend said he could make a "T".  Can you see it?  LOL  It was a fun evening, even if the ladybugs prevented us from getting many of the weeds out.


  1. The best way to get some wonderful shots of bugs is to follow a little curious boy in the garden.

    Wonderful photos... the bugs are fun and the little one is adorable. Looks like he had as much fun as the bugs.

    Happy Gardening on this fabulous day in June.

  2. Sue, This little guy is SO lucky to have a neighbor like you--an adult who is taking a genuine interest in revealing to him the secrets of nature. Just think, in ten, twenty years he'll reminisce with his children about how he learned to garden by working with the neighbor lady. This beats Play Station any day! Kudos to you Sue.

    Nice family of lady bugs you've got there. Your garden across the street is looking mighty happy.

  3. Sue, I agree with Grace - that boy is lucky to have you as a neighbor, but I will add that you are lucky to have your own ladybugs! One year, I bought ladybugs in HD. I think they didn't like my garden, because they were gone the next day!

  4. Great shots of the lady bugs and your neighbor friend/helper. He looks engrossed and like he's having fun. He'll remember you and the good times you've shared when he's older.

    The way I've heard to make alfalfa tea is with the pellets you buy at the feed store, for horses. It seems like the product you bought would work too. The tea 'stinks' to high heaven so be prepared. It makes me gag, but the plants love it. I need to make some more actually.

    Enjoy your lovely gardens and wonderful produce.


  5. I can only echo Grace's post -- that boy is lucky to know you!

  6. The boy has learned a lot from a person who has seen it all....

    ~ bangchik

  7. Hi Sue, what you have should work prefectly for tea and also to top dress as you are doing. The meal which you have and the pellets are basically the same. I broadcast it all over the garden in March and then cover it with chopped leaf mulch.

    When I was a kid I followed my Grandma and my Dad around the gardens just like the boy is following you.

  8. What great ladybug pictures. I read that the larvae are the ones that eat the most aphids. Looks like your neighbor boy is learning a lot about gardening and nature from you.

  9. Love the info on the Ladybugs! Cute neighbor gardener!

  10. I am being inundated by aphids on my basil seedlings. I wouldn't mind some Ladybug visitors. Well, good luck with the Ruth Stout mulching, I am going to try some of her ideas too. Did you read that funny post on Lilac and Roses(Marnie) blog about Ruth gardening in the nude?

  11. Thanks for the nice comments everyone. There are other people who have gardened with the boy, and I think he has a grandma who does still. I know the other neighbor lady let him cut flowers, and I am not letting him do it as often as he'd like to. I told them I don't cut many, but like to leave them in the garden until they fade, then I cut them back.

    I also told him I don't need help when I'm in my garden. Honestly, I don't like others walking in my veggie garden or my flower beds. There's plenty of space at their place for us to work together. Also, I have cages where cucumber, cantaloup, summer and winter squash seedlings are coming up.

    Thanks for the info Flowerlady and Marnie. Rosey, I don't think I read that about Ruth Stout. I am glad that I recently figured out it was her book that I read when I was in my 20s, and my husband would give me looks when I would laugh about something, such as her gardening in the nude. As much as a saver I am, I think I got rid of it, and now, how am I going to get rid of the clutter I have, as I may regret it some day!

  12. I missed this post at the time you put it up. Too, too cute, having a boy to 'hep' in the garden. He'll remember, too, years from now.


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