Insects To Welcome In Your Garden

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Gardeners often clump insects together, viewing them all as pests. Yet there are plenty of beneficial insects that can help crops thrive and turn any garden into a well functioning ecosystem.

Plant health depends on beneficial insects that are often mistaken for pests. Be sure not to spray harmful insecticides, or you will be doing more harm than good. Not only are these beneficial insects good for your garden, but they also help take care of pest problems for you.

 

Syrphid or Hover Flies

HOver Flies_tnThese little insects are often mistaken for bees, but they are actually flies. The easiest way to tell the difference is by looking at their wings. Syrphid flies only have 2. The adults can often be seen hovering in mid-air, before darting off. The larvae of these creatures feast on aphids, while the adults spend their time darting from flower to flower, aiding in pollination.

 

 

Lady Beetles or Ladybugs

ladyBug_tnThese beetles and their larvae thoroughly enjoy feasting on aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites. Ladybugs are attracted to fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot, yarrow, and dandelion. The ladybug in the photo is a Spotted Pink Lady Beetle. They can often be found munching on pest larvae such as Colorado potato beetle eggs.

 

 

Parasitic Wasps

ParasiticWasps_tnThere are several species of parasitic wasps, and although their name may sound scary, they have no interest in hurt humans. The amount of pests that can be controlled by parasitic wasps is nothing short of amazing. They can effectively control aphids, scale, whiteflies, sawfly larvae, ants, leaf miners, and many types of caterpillars. This bugs also parasitize the larvae of several pests, including tomato hornworms, codling moths, cabbage loopers, and cabbageworms.

These pest eating wasps are attracted to dill, cilantro, fennel, and many more flowering plants and shrubs.

Green Lacewing

GreenLacewing_tnThis is one of the prettiest beneficial insects you will find in your garden. This delicate little insect has large translucent wings and it can devour a deceptively large amount of soft bodied pests, like aphids, scale, and thrips. The larvae of these insects can also help keep caterpillar populations down in your garden.

 

 

Ground Beetles

Ground Beatle_tnGround beetles are wonderful for any garden! They generally come out at night and forage through the soil, eating cutworms, caterpillars, maggots, and slug eggs. These beetles will patrol your soil and keep your plants safe.


 

 

 

Source: via health freedoms alliance

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Homegrown Superfood-Super Cheap!

Grow Your Own Broccoli

broccoli

Broccoli is very high in the master antioxidant glutathione and other important nutrients. Like all amino acids glutathione is very heat sensitive and on average is seventy-five percent destroyed by the cooking process. Therefore, broccoli is best eaten raw.

Broccoli is a cool weather plant and does best in zones 3-7. Plant in the early spring, late summer or, in warmer climates, over the winter. Here is how to grow broccoli right in your own yard:

  • Start your spring crop indoors 7 to 9 weeks before the last expected frost. Fill 4” round Fertile pots with 100% organic potting mix and place in a drain pan. Plant two seeds per pot. Water and keep the soil moist but not wet. Seeds should germinate in 4 to 5 days. After the seeds germinate, place pots in a sunny area or under lights
  • Once the seedlings are about 6 inches tall, with 2 to 4 true leaves it is time to harden the plants. Harden by putting the young plants outdoors in a protected area (out of direct sun and wind) for one hour the first day adding two hours to the time spent outside each subsequent day for a week. Keep well-watered.
  • Choose a place in the yard that receives full sun. If you live in a warmer climate partial shade can help prevent the plants from bolting (going to seed.) Prepare a bed of rich, well-drained soil, with plenty of compost.
  • Set the young plants 1 to 2 inches deeper in the garden than they grew in the pots or flats. Space them 2 feet apart in rows 3 feet apart. Firm the soil and water well.
  • Water regularly. At least once every three days if it is not raining.
  • Two weeks after planting fertilize with compost tea or side dress with compost. Repeat once a month.
  • Spray once a week alternating between insecticidal soap and home-made plant pepper spray.
  • It is time to harvest before the florets start to open and turn yellow. Cut just below the point where the stems begin to separate. Once you’ve harvested the main head, tender side shoots will form in the leaf axial all along the lower stalk. Keep cutting, and broccoli will keep producing until the weather turns too hot or too cold.

 

Fresh-picked garden broccoli tastes much better and is more nutritious than store bought. Enjoy!

Source: HHI Hippocrates Health Institute