Longmont's Oldest Organic Community Garden
Releasing ladybugs in the garden every couple weeks helps all gardeners.
CRITTERS OF THE GARDEN
In many gardens, allowing ground beetles, ladybugs, spiders, birds, lacewings, hover flies and dragonflies to flourish will naturally curb garden pests.
All food chains start with plants.
Snakes in the garden are our friend. Please dont kill them! They are part of the whole ecosystem, eating a variety of things including insects, frogs, gophers, small rodents, amphibians, earthworms, eggs, slugs, birds, mice, chipmunks, and other small animals.
What a fierce name! Dragonflies aren't just beautiful, they eat mosquitoes and other insects. They're helpers for the organic gardener.
Now, mostly they eat other flying insects, particularly midges and mosquitoes. But they'll also eat butterflies, moths and smaller dragonflies. Ouch! But that's nature folks...
The hives of bees are a group project, and all our gardens will benefit from the pollinating activity of these friends. Some things to note:
We have a select few members in charge of managing and handling the hive. Do not handle the hive without permission from someone on the Board of Directors.
Be respectful of the bee’s space by not crowding within 8 foot of the front of the hive. In this way the bees won’t accidentally bump into you and get surprised.
Do not block the door to the hive.
Do not open or sit on or spray water into the hive box.
If you know you are allergic to bee sting carry proper aid to deal with stings, such as an Epi-pen. If you do get a sting follow the first aid instructions found in each shed.
If you want to learn more about bees and working with them, contact Tim Towns, Garden Beekeeper
Plants are the only living thing that can make their own
INSECTS & PESTS
The first step is to assess the insect situation. Predatory insects will only populate our gardens if there are prey insects. Aphids and beetles may damage some of your plants, but a plant can lose up to one quarter of its leaves before fruit yield is affected. The insects that are attacking your plants will often identify the weak ones that suffer from being root bound, transplant shock, inconsistent watering, etc. With that in mind:
Step 1: Gather information. Is it a good bug, or a bad bug? Is your entire crop weak, or just individual plants? Is this a problem bug in our bioregion? Will this bug destroy others’ plots? How does it spread? What is its life cycle? What predatory insects will this one attract? How much damage are you willing to tolerate before you do something?
Step 2: Use your energy. Become a predator yourself - pull and squish pests. Leaving their guts on the plants is a strong deterrent to other pests of the same family.
Step 3: Nourish & stimulate.Add compost and manure to the soil, sprinkle azomitefor trace minerals. Foliar feed affected plants. Use fish emulsion, a tea of manure or compost either at the root zone or as a foliar feed.
Step 4: Introduce your own beneficial bugs.Good examples are ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, praying mantis, nematodes.
Step 5a: Use organic repellants. Homemade sprays of garlic & cayenne, anti-bacterial soap, bug tea, plantings of marigolds and mints confuse the bug’s sense of smell. A milk/water (30/70%) combination can be used on powdery mildew (squash, etc.).
Step 5b: Use organic “terminators.” Spray with pyrethrums, sapodilla or Bt. Use copper or sulfur dust, diatomaceous earth, dormant or summer oils.
Step 6: “Surgery.” Remove affected plants. Do not add these plants to the SSCG compost bins and risk infesting other areas of the garden with pests and disease. Instead, puts these plants in the City composting bins. See our Compost and Soil Care pages for more information.
Inorganic or chemical insecticides are forbidden. Use of these items is a violation of the garden agreement. Use of synthetic insecticides will result in the removal of both plants and gardener. You will forfeit any rights to harvest your plants and lose your future rights as a community gardener.
Animals are linked to each other when they eat something that ate something else.
Ladybugs, also known as lady beetles, are beneficial bugs which feed on crop-damaging aphids, mealybugs and other destructive insect pests. Also, they lay their eggs among the aphids or other prey so the emerging larvae can feed on the insects, too. Prepare the menu for the babies, milady!
Butterflies are beneficial for the organic garden, through the symbiotic relationship they maintain with the plants they visit and their preferences for organic, native habitats. Although the larval caterpillar feeds on its host plant, this minimal damage is often worth the benefits that come from the adult butterfly. Also, gorgeous!