Ladybug larvae in the garden!!!!
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):
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).