Monday, October 27, 2014
- In late spring, large adult moths lay eggs on the undersides of foliage, which will hatch within a week.
- Caterpillar larvae will feed from 4–6 weeks before creating a cocoon for overwintering in the soil. If the weather is warm enough, larvae may only burrow for as little as 2–3 weeks.
- Moths will emerge in the spring, and can be identified by their orange markings. They will then lay eggs once again. More than one generation a year may be possible in warmer climates.
- Look closely at the TOP of your tomato leafs for dark green droppings left by the larva feeding on the leaves. Then look at the underside of leaves and you'll find a hornworm.
- Look for stems missing some leaves and wilted leaves hanging down. You may find white cocoons and their hornworm hosts nearby.
- Look for an entire tomato plant disappearing while you are at work. These guys are voracious.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantis lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.
Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.
Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents.
We had an egg case hatch the day of a summer party and watched in awe as hundreds of tiny translucent baby mantis raced up the side of the garage to the roof. An egg case is a little bigger than an acorn and looks like it's made from Styrofoam. This picture was taken in the pots where we grow our vegetables.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) is a top butterfly garden plant and host plant for the Monarch butterfly. It's only one of the Asclepias that can be grown in a midwestern garden. It's very easy to grow, hardy to zone 3 and native in all but 7 states. It's a neat, attractive, bush-like plant loaded with fragrant, attractive rose pink flowers and a favorite nectar plant of many insects. It blooms from June to August and thrives in sun to partial sun. You can start this plant from seed but you need to refrigerate the seeds for 1 month or plant in your garden in the fall. This perennial takes a while to mature into a full grown plant. Swamp milkweed can be transplanted while other forms of this plant have a taproot that cannot be disturbed after the plant reaches maturity. This photo was taken in our backyard where we have both the yellow and rose milkweed growing.
Friday, October 17, 2014
At this time of year we are putting the garden to bed. We'll cut down plants that the birds won't use as food, mulch our leaves and cover our beds with the mulched leaves. The leaves enhance the soil, cut down on the weeds and we don't have to burn them. My husband picks them up with a lawnmower that has a bag on it. Since we live in a wooded area, leaves are plentiful and cheaper than mulch.