Very excited to see...

Ladybug larvae in the garden!!!!

If there's one, there must be more.

If there's one, there must be more.

This is something I have waited for years to see. Ladybug larvae is the single best hunter of aphids out there, and I have lots of aphids, always (we have a lot of ants, too, so I suspect that is somehow related, since ants farm aphids for their nectar). In order to try to control my aphid problem, I've done several things. I've bought live ladybugs, with the same result all of you have probably experienced - they just fly away. I've bought lacewing eggs; I've seen very little evidence of lacewings in the yard even so. And, I used to spray aphids pretty heavily with garlic and soap, which kills the aphids, yes - but it also makes the plant droop and of course, deters ladybugs (as well as other good insects) too. Not to mention you can't spray a soapy garlic mixture on things you eventually want to EAT. This year, I realized my error and stopped spraying.  I realized I had to let the aphids BE in order to attract ladybugs. And funnily enough, on this same plant (I think it's either a scabiosa or a galliardia, it hasn't bloomed yet so I'm not sure) I recently noticed a few aphids. Then just this morning I noticed a ladybug in that same place. And then this afternoon, larvae. I'm just tickled. 

Here's some other things I noticed as I was out working (re-seeding half the corn bed because of you-know-who, yes, Joe the dog, argh):

Sweet potato vines coming up in the winter squash bed, where we had planted them last year. Now I don't have to worry about making new slips. I forgot that these can be perennial, if you want them to be (or if you leave a couple of roots in the ground by accident, ahem). 

Sweet potato vines coming up in the winter squash bed, where we had planted them last year. Now I don't have to worry about making new slips. I forgot that these can be perennial, if you want them to be (or if you leave a couple of roots in the ground by accident, ahem). 

All five kinds of potatoes are sprouting. This is Yukon Gold. 

All five kinds of potatoes are sprouting. This is Yukon Gold. 

Pretty white Yarrow in the North Pollinator bed.

Pretty white Yarrow in the North Pollinator bed.

One of our honeybees stripping the last drops of nectar from a dying Galliardia.

One of our honeybees stripping the last drops of nectar from a dying Galliardia.

Santa Rosa plum.

Santa Rosa plum.

The peaches are starting to look really pretty.

The peaches are starting to look really pretty.

Pink Buddleia...

Pink Buddleia...

... and yellow.

... and yellow.

Thought you'd like to see how the strawberry wall looks after its first winter. Each row is a different kind of berry. They tend to ripen at different times. As you can see, I lost a few plants. I will again reiterate that these pallet planters dry out very, very quickly. If you don't stay on top of water, you'll lose plants. (Like me.)

Thought you'd like to see how the strawberry wall looks after its first winter. Each row is a different kind of berry. They tend to ripen at different times. As you can see, I lost a few plants. I will again reiterate that these pallet planters dry out very, very quickly. If you don't stay on top of water, you'll lose plants. (Like me.)

I finally finished braiding all the garlic. All told, we had just over 100 bulbs. We figure we use between 3-4 bulbs per month, so that leaves plenty to give away after storing our share for the year. I'm very pleased with the flavor, the size of the bulbs, the yield - everything about this crop. I will plant this again (and will save a pound or two to plant out next year, if I can). 

Some of the braids, waiting for hanging. This variety was Inchelium Red, an heirloom.

Some of the braids, waiting for hanging. This variety was Inchelium Red, an heirloom.