• 16Jul

    Yeah, the first monarch has arrived! And she was a beauty. She visited the lantana, butterfly bush, butterfly weed and a couple of other things, and she was fairly friendly. My monarchs have almost become like pets to me. They brighten my mood, no matter what.

    I hope she laid some eggs.

    Then I saw THE BIGGEST ladybug ever. She was huge. Those oleander aphids must be good eating.

    Unfortunately last night I saw a cucumber beetle, on the melons. (Not watermelons, but some kind of Israeli melon and some other round melon I’ve forgotten. I misplaced my ananas melon seeds from last year darnit.) He was too fast for me (and I even tried to catch him barehanded) and flew away. I searched and searched but never did find him. I hope he hasn’t given wilt to my melons and cucumbers. My county fair cukes are the only cuke resistant to that wilt, which cucumber beetles transmit. If it wasn’t for that disease, I wouldn’t be so terrified of these bugs. But with one dirty bite they can wipe out a crop, and I’ve had it happen several times.

    So today I’m spraying things with Kaolin Clay, which is a clay used in makeup and other things. Very safe stuff. It makes a barrier on the plants and the bugs find it bad tasting and sticks to their little feet. However, reading the instructions, I should have sprayed a couple of weeks ago. Bummer. So we’ll just see how it all goes and hope I’m not too late.

    I had to water, so I’m waiting for the water to dry off a bit before spraying. The company says it’s totally safe for bees, but I worry that if I spray any blooms, will it make it distasteful for them? Actually this stuff doesn’t kill anything, just makes it taste bad and difficult to eat. They apparently have been using it quite successfully in orchards.

    It’s hard to find in smaller sizes since it’s made for orchards. But GardensAlive.com has it in five-pound bags. That’s the only place I know of where you don’t have to spend a hundred bucks and buy 25 pounds. However, with shipping, it’s about 35 bucks, but if you search around the net, you can find coupons for your first order at Gardens Alive, and they have other great things too. That’s what I did last year, and then didn’t even use the product. (Didn’t need it, but so glad I’ve got it now!)

    I’m not spraying any of the butterfly plants. They don’t need it, plus I keep everything pristine on those plants, for my monarchs. I just wipe off some aphids now and then with a gloved hand (it’s gross and the aphid guts stain your fingers).

    Oh, and I had two more Japanese beetles having sex on the butterfly bush. Got em. They’re now floating in the coffee can of Japanese beetle bodies. As it turns out, it’s better to catch them coupling because they’re too busy with that to see me coming. The good news is even though I’m finding two or three a day, they aren’t doing any major damage.

    Filed under: Organic Gardening
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    Posted: July 16, 2008 at 12:57 pm

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