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Sometimes I let things grow to FEED the bugs.

Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at 10:02 PM

(Photo)
Neighborhood Mom sent in this swallowtail picture from her garden. Nice combination of flower and butterfly
I accept that I am a little strange at time, but I bet there are many of you out there that do the same thing. You want butterflies or other types of entertaining insects so you either plant with them in mind or allow things to grow that will feed them.

Attracting beneficial insects has always been a part of my gardening philosophy, so my wildflower garden feels that need but sometimes an herb or otherwise culinary plant serves several purposes in my garden. Cilantro (coriander) can be used in several culinary ways but the flowers are great for beneficials.

So is Dill but it also is a great food source for some of our beautiful flying flowers called butterflies. It is a shame that the developing Black Swallowtail butterfly has such a voracious appetite for dill, but plant some extra and all seems to work out. You can have your dill for flavoring, dill flowers for the beneficial insects, seed for next year and food for some great butterflies.

http://butterflies.heuristron.net/butter...


Comments
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[Show most recent comments first]

Steve I want to email you, but not sure how to do it. I clicked on the email button at the top of the page and it saids - (To: Your email friends address required). Am I in the right area to send you an email? If so how do I get your email address? Sorry to interrupt on this blog, it was the most current one. I'm not sure which one of the bloggers to be emailing, so I'll start with you and maybe you can send me in the direction of interest. But it could be on a "Topic that begs to be explored."

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Wed, Jun 30, 2010, at 5:12 AM

I am begging all the time mom, so Steve@bedfordtradingpost.com will work just fine.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 30, 2010, at 8:35 AM

I've been getting just a few Japanese beetles this year but what really surprises me is that I have a VERY large section of squash and very few squash bugs. Many of them are winter or oriental squash but even my zukes are not being bothered. (probably should not have said that, but...)

Espoontoon, my peppers from the Bolivian plant you gave me last year have lots of peppers on them this year. All started out purple but they are starting to go through stages so I decided to pick one to see how hot they were.

I squashed one in my fingers to check the smell and could not sense anything so I touched my tongue to it. Holy hot peppers! The sensation was immediate! Those puppies are intense!

I am not into intense heat, but just one of those suckers (maybe the size of the first digit of your pinky finger could flavor a whole meal. I popped it in my bug spray bottle so the bugs can enjoy as much as I did.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 30, 2010, at 1:13 PM

Yeah, I found out the hard way about those Bolivian peppers a loooong time ago.

I mainly grow them for their ornamental appearance, but I may try to use them sparingly in a few dishes. Just make sure to wear gloves...

-- Posted by espoontoon on Wed, Jun 30, 2010, at 5:21 PM

I have a different sort of garden question, actually a fish pond question. We have re-installed the fish pond back down at my mom's house, but the water is not clear. What products are safe in it for the gold fish to help keep it clear. It does have a filter with a fountain.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Wed, Jun 30, 2010, at 11:26 PM

Certainly anyone can chime in here so please offer suggestions. With that said please remember that these are suggestions and may need to be double checked. Here are some thoughts:

It might do well to test your water for nitrate and ammonia, but being a new pond I would not think this is the problem. New ponds are often going through a settling in period.

The filter may not be established yet and therefore not trapping and removing tiny particles or the filter may not be large enough for the body of water.

My first guess would be algae growth. Hot warm, sunny weather can enhance the algae flush that occurs naturally in a pond but is being fed my the nutrients in the water.

Nutrients are added by the fish themselves (check for the maximum number of fish per volume of water), it could also be run-off from surrounding lawn, or overfeeding. Too much food just settles in and is wasted. Back off the feeding during the cold months.

An ultra violet treatment bulb can be used in the filter, but that is too high tech for me, so I look at other solutions. There are chemicals that can be added and we have some club members who use them with success.

I don't feel comfortable with chemicals. I bought some, treated my pond for about a month with little success, would not increase the dosage and ended up giving the product to one of our members.

I may have resolved it by giving half of our fish away, (We keep having babies anyway) and by shading the pond with water plants which also consume some of the nutrients.

During the spring when water temperature was just right for algae growth, I happened to cover the pond with slats of wood. Not for the algae but to keep one of our dogs out of the pond after she had surgery. For one of these reasons, we did not have the algae growth and our water has stayed clear.

If you use plants (I love this, as you might expect) research them to be sure you are not creating another problem. Some grow VERY well and will soon spread throughout the pond. Others are more controllable and you can share the extra growth with friends. A lot depends on your pond size.

OK, I'll stop and hope others will add their thoughts. Don't worry if they contradict miine. I am not a pond expert.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 6:59 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. One more question, Where might I buy plants for the pond. Right now I have 2 artificial lillies in the pond and thats it. The little frog that has adopted the pond likes the lillies.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 9:09 AM

Locally I am not sure. I have found some water lilies and other misc bulbs in Lowe's several tears ago but they may be sold out. I would try calling a few nurseries. The farmer's co-op has surprised me at times also.

Cathy, if you are out there, what about the nursery you worked for in Tullahoma area?

Here is a full scale water plant nursery in Fairview. http://www.greenandhagstrom.com/

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 10:18 AM

I think it rocks that you are growing plants for other bugs.. that is sooooo beautiful.

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 6:51 PM

Some think it is weird, but thanks.

I happen to enjoy most of nature, except chiggers, ticks and fleas. And maybe potato beetles, bean beetles, squash bugs, vine borers, love bugs on my car windshield......well, I guess there are some things that BUG me.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 7:42 PM

1 of my ponds is still green due to the algae. (And I've got plenty of plants in also to help.) I'm hoping these cooler nights help to clear it. My other 2 ponds are clear. I think it's just a combination of the warm water/heat. Even though my other 2 are shallower. I used to use Pond Clear/AccuClear natural bacteria to clear my ponds and it worked great. Just can't afford anything extra this year. (You can get it at Petsmart or Animal House on Broad St in M'boro). I ordered all my plants/lilies thru lilyblooms.com out of Canton, Ohio and they were fast and reasonable. You can buy water lilies at lowes and petsmart, but I'm not had too much luck with those.

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 9:19 PM

BTW Steve, I think your swallowtails have come to my butterfly bushes. Have taken some nice pic's of them this past week.

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 9:25 PM

Send me one and I will swap out pictures.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 1, 2010, at 10:46 PM

My caterpillars are all gone and you are right neighborhood mom, they must have gone to you. I can't find them anywhere. Maybe they are still doing their thing in the cocoon stage, but I don't find them either.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jul 6, 2010, at 3:14 PM

We were walking a riverbed on the 4th, down from Rutledge Falls and came upon 6-7 of them and also 3-4 of the black/blue ones right in 1 area...it really was a sight. Took my kiddos fishing the other day and there were also a bunch along the Normandy spillway. I've taken so many pictures of them, I'm getting bored with them. (Sad to say, I know, but I will enjoy looking at them again this winter when we are all stuck inside!)

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Wed, Jul 7, 2010, at 10:18 PM

Maybe our have moved because it is so dry up here. I noticed the common thread in your remark seems to be around water. (or kiddos)

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 8, 2010, at 6:44 AM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.