Insectorium

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Insectorium

Post  Blossom on Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:27 pm

We have a nice area next to the compost bin and a bed where we took out the pine trees, which I will turn into an "Insectorium" this coming spring. This will be a permanent feature of the garden as most of what I plant will self seed. I will plant seeds of flowers that are hosts for friendly predatory insects. This should service the entire veggie garden as well as provide a pretty outlook from my bedroom window! I'll be randomly planting from a selection of :
Alyssum, Amaranthus, Dill, Angelica, Candytuft, Carnation, Cosmos, Digitalis, Mullein, Queen Anne's Lace, Bronze Fennel, Helianthus, Lupins, Lemon Balm, Shasta Dairy, Sunflowers, Yarrow. This should provide low and taller growing plants for all the lovely Lacewings, Hoverflies, Predatory Wasps, Pirate Buds, Mites, Ladybugs, Aphidius, Beetles etc that will help keep my garden free of pests. You'll notice most of the flowers are composite flowers, each little flowerette providing food pollen and nectar for the insects.

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Re: Insectorium

Post  Fran on Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:55 pm

Wonderful idea. Would Veronica, caraway, statice, solidago grow there ? - buckwheat ? - which is a honey crop

Love to see what happens Smile
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Re: Insectorium

Post  Scarecrow on Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:08 am

Ooo Blossom
I do love this idea.I love you

I try to include these sorts of plants in my edge beds here and last year with little water didn't plant annuals in them. The lack of beneficial insects (even bees) around was noticeable. I will be planting them this year! Wink

The use of perennials is vital too. I've noticed lots of lady birds and hoverflies over-wintering on the larger Lavender bushes and even the Wormwood 'hedge' I have growing for wind protection. These shelter many good bugs.
The inclusion of a small pond gives habitat to a wider range of insectivores too. Neat rock 'piles' provides lizard habitat too. All part of getting the 'balance' right in the garden! flower

I have a question please Blossom...What are Pirate Buds?? I'm always happy to learn which are the 'good' guys in the garden.
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Re: Insectorium

Post  Blossom on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:57 pm

Hi Scarecrow - Pirate Bugs are tiny tiny insects that actually can bite you, so it's likely that you've swatted one or two, especially near your green beans. They are black and white but you'd be hard pressed to see that they are so small. Here's a pic from a website showing one eating an aphid, gives you some idea of size. But they can eat up to 20 a day and are voracious eaters of thrips too. The larvae are orange in colour and they live on nectar while growing. I think that the more we learn about beneficial insects the more we can start to encourage them. I beleive in the USA they release pirate bugs in the cotton crops.


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Re: Insectorium

Post  Scarecrow on Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:55 pm

Thanks Blossom
Won't say I'll keep an eye out for them coz it sounds like I'd need more than my glasses on to see them...but I won't swat anything near the beans, just in case. Shocked

They look about 2-3 times bigger than an aphid so I might be able to see them. Laughing
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Re: Insectorium

Post  Blossom on Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:25 am

Well, the area is prepared, weeded and some seeds sown - I don't know why but the fennel and yarrow seeds I SWORE I had, have gone walkabout, unless they are in the shed. I'll get some more, plenty of time to sow more. I also put a teepee in the same area for sweet peas, for added colour. I've edged the bed with Nerines - they have multiple heads and might add a touch of permanency to the bed. This is the first sunny day we've had for 10 days, the ground is boggy and I was pleased to find my own compost that was spread in this area has been taken down by the worms and we have a nice free draining section. We also added some mushroom compost to the rose garden and will spread some pine bark this afternoon.

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