Sunday, August 25, 2013

DIY Organic Gardening Bugs Edition

I keep finding caterpillars on my food. Organic gardening is all about pulling these guys off by hand before they eat your food, but they are almost impossible to see.

My rule of thumb is that if you see droppings, which resemble tiny brown pellets, clustered together on a leaf, caterpillar(s) are there. Just keep looking. Do not give up until you see one. I like to pick them off and place them gently on a plant that I don't like and hope they can adapt to their new surroundings and carry on with their lives.

Speaking of bugs, I just purchased worms from the farmer's market, yesterday and welcomed them to their new home. Just like the cat, and the dog, they are now part of our family.

I promise to take good care of these guys and do everything I can to assist them in feasting on our food and paper waste in hopes that they start creating some "worm gold" for our garden.

The worm bin was handmade by my hubby and his sister. We found the perfect spot for it under the shady pine trees. We filled it up with shredded paper (old paperwork) and some old fruits and veggies from the kitchen. 

I have to keep a good eye on the bin to make sure it is not getting too much sun, and I plan on adding to it every day. I really hope this is not another one of our DIY fails where things die as a result of our lack of experience and education. I have no idea what I am doing.

I tried educating myself on WHY OUR VEGGIES DO NOT GROW. Sorry I'm a little bitter. It is just not fair that we do all this work and then get like 2 wimpy vegetables. 

From what I read, a lack of bees or proper growing conditions could cause our zucchinis not to mature. I don't see a lot of bees when I'm hanging around my vegetable garden. Plenty of butterflies visit and drop their very hungry green caterpillar offspring all over the place, but no bees. Unfortunately, I think that since we are very close to a lot of farmland, we may be suffering from bee colony die-offs in my neighborhood. What a bummer.

So, to try to act like a bee, I got pollen from the male flower on the upper left (males are without a zucchini under the flower), this morning. I put some pollen on a paintbrush next to the female flower (with the baby zucchini under it), which should open in the morning. 

I also collected some pollen from the male on a Q-tip in the kitchen, so I will be trying several different ways (wishing and hoping are two of the ways), to pollinate this female flower. Wish me luck. I will need that, too. 

DISCLAIMER: I really have no idea what I'm doing.

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