You wish you had flood lights so you could work at night, but watch out if you smell good! This interesting creature (below) is new to my garden- a good sign that our ecosystem is changing for the better. Balance is being restored, slowly. The more I get out of the way, except with continued efforts to make our yard as close to a natural area/forest, the better things will grow and give us sustenance! Even though this little guy is the moth to the famous tomato horn worm- will I kill them? No. I'll just keep an eye out for the horn worms and give them to the jays if found.
When man gets their little fingers into things too much...most of the time we end up ruining it. Creating a small water feature has attracted the frogs, and bats I've heard at night too.
Praying mantises in the greenhouse, laying their eggs- now we have babies.
Adding misters in there helped with that and not annihilating all the earwigs in the yard- yeah, right. I'm just waited for the balance to come. Mulching to ensure a consistently moist soil, protected from the sun assured the worms would come- and they are there in great numbers now. Like a forest, no soil is turned, only added to. The organic matter is growing and the creatures are finding it a nice place to hang out, have babies, and live.
The imbalance is still here. I've been overrun with earwigs this year as I said- actually they've been around in great numbers for a couple years, which is really since starting on this yard. I'm hoping to bring toads in too- they love them! In the meantime I've been putting out oil traps, and, well, as you can see it works! I purchased cheap 5 pks of small, plastic containers (with lids) at the dollar store. Poke holes in them all the way around about 1/2 way up, put oil in and lid on- top with a rock. I used cheap vegetable oil. Nothing else seems to be attracted to it- so no good bugs are harmed. And speaking of good bugs. Earwigs aren't really a bad bug, unless they are hanging out in your garden in these numbers- then it's on! They have taken out entire plants in a night. I even sprayed the plants with neem, garlic/cayenne pepper spray and they still ate it. Which brings me to living vicariously through you- so please post links to your gardens!
So a couple months back as I was wishing I had flood lights and was getting kamikazed by the beautiful insect, and I thought, what a wonderful (easy) thing it is to just play along with what God has already laid out...no need to go against anything as it just means more work! So even though I'm being crushed this year with earwigs, and it is disappointing, I'll continue to use the least harmful solutions I can, and try to get out of the way.
My goal for this yard is to have it become and behave as close to a forest as I can. Striking up bargains with creatures (ones already here and ones we'll bring in), that quite frankly are much better at bug hunting, soil improvement, composting, and more than I will ever be! Chickens will hopefully be coming soon- found this on Craigslist for $120 delivered! That will really help with earwigs!
I want to use as many Permaculture solutions as I can and use ones that make sense for the space- not just because it's Permaculture. Things like guilds (using the trees already here as a starting point) and creating beds similar to Mandalas (fitting the space).
Darker areas are the beds within the rocks
Thinking and designing along these lines makes sense and requires more thought than I'm used to- or should I say more observation. Some solutions will be obvious, and some not. Working with what we have and keeping my eye on future fertility is the goal.
This was a year for soil improvement- adding soil that was blended with worm castings (jury is still out on the quality of that 5 yards we purchased!) and then covering that soil to protect it. If I get any produce at all it will only be a plus. There is still a lot of wood chips to move around- so most of the rest of the summer and into fall I'll be doing that. I'm hoping I'll have enough energy left to sow my fall/winter crops- or else there will be no winter greens this year and you will have to wait until next fall/winter to see what I do. I'll post as I can and as usual...
Take back your food!