Sunday Night Orgy in the Garden

in homesteading •  last month 

I took a long weekend this past weekend. Not looking forward to work tonight, even if it does suck a lot less lately. It was a good weekend with the family. I took Melissa and Sophie each on a date and Sam and I built rockets at Cub Scouts. Saturday we all went to a spring fed private swimming hole and got sunburned to bits. It was great!

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Sunday I got to watch a tantalizing primal activity in the garden.

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An orgy of assassin bugs

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They really like these grains that are growing from chicken scratch. There were maybe eight mating pairs of the big brown gray ones and many dozens of the little red ones.

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I don't know if they're the same type, and maybe the red ones are younger versions, but they're all some kind of assassin bugs. I love these things, as they keep down the bad bugs. I see them eating flies and aphids all the time. Don't let em bite you though, they're nasty. When I was a kid we called them blister bugs cause they'll make you blister up if you smack one and cause it to drive it's lance-like mouth bit into you.

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Today while my friend was over, we noticed some caterpillars on one of the Jerusalem artichokes. I cut off one grain head that was thick with assassin bugs and transplanted them over to the sunchokes. We'll see tomorrow how it went.

Hope everyone else had a good weekend. Every time I take a day off it makes me want to retire. I'm sick of working. (Such an entitled millennial, I know.) @senorcoconut mentioned maybe one day having a homestead based income. That seems a far off dream right now, but I may just be in a mood.

The squash is ripening as the leaves and vines die off for the year. There's a bunch of em out there, and I'm excited to try them. One of the smallest ones got bit by bugs and stopped growing, so I cut it up for the chickens and took a bite for myself as I picked out some seeds. It tasted good, though definitely underripe.

There's melons taking over everything now. The area around the south hugel is thickly covered with melon vines. Watermelon, Israel melon, honeydew melon, and cantelope are everywhere, and I don't know which is which, except the green watermelons. That's okay, it'll be a surprise. The soil around the hugel is very moist, which is exciting, as it's the only place that's like that right now. Between the hugelkultur and the ground cover from the melons, it is very great, and I'm still seeing mushrooms, even on these 100°+ days.

The corn got worms in every ear, so that's been chicken food. Not a total waste, as it's been their food (along with increasingly awesome foraging) instead of chicken feed for a few days. It's all drying up for the year now, and I'm planning what wilder variety to plant next. I'm wondering if a more native variety will be more resistant than the hybridized golden bantam 12 we planted this year. I also read about hilling being very beneficial for corn plants. I didn't do that, and the yields, even if the bugs hadn't taken it all, would have been very low this year. Learning a lot.

Plans for the fall are starting to come together. As things die off and are harvested, I'll be bringing in loads of mulch. While the swales have made a vast difference in water for us this year, the sandy soil in the south project is very dry now at the height of summer. I think a good three to five inch layer of mulch is in order. We lost two of our three blueberry bushes to the squash invasion. That's okay, cause we're still getting food out of it, but I'll be replacing them in the fall too.

Melissa and I are supposed to do a property walk together sometime so I can propose some changes. Some of the oak trees are now home to young poison ivy shoots. I want to put a skirt of mulch around each tree after destroying those vines. I also want to add trees. Y'all know me; I want more trees because I can still walk through places comfortably. And you also know Melissa; she doesn't want more trees because she loves pestering me about mowing the damn grass. Hopefully we can find a resolution where I can get at least a little bit of my way. We'll see. She's convinced having fruit trees will decrease our property value...

Anyways. Thanks for reading my bitchy ranting and enjoying my bug porn. It's time to get ready for work, so I'm off for a bit. :)

All action for the good of all.

Nate.


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Fruit trees would only devalue a property with the prospective owner didn't like fruit trees . and besides what kind of muppet would go oh what a wonderful house in a great neighborhood but it has trees oh no. Wouldn't you buy the house and cut those fuckers down?

You could always tell Melissa they just planted themselves. Trees have a way of doing that. Also what tree? That tree's always been there. That's what I'm going to do with my chickens. I'm just going to say we have always had 6 chickens honey. Can't you count?

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Chicken math applied to trees! There's an idea!

I found a place for ten sparsely planted trees just looking around for a few minutes. Ten. That's a lot of trees, and it's not trying hard, and it's not making guilds. That's almost three times the work I've done so far in the official forest garden. With little thought or effort.

That also gets into the realm of profitable production. Making our property pay for itself a little. Of course, I tell Melissa the number "ten" and her mind sees a densely planted area with the trees literally touching and blocking the entire neighborhood. So, of course, my hopes are not up at all.

Mmm blocking the neighborhood sounds very nice! 🥰

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Right! Like, why have we not been doing this???

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I have another idea. Ask if you can TRIAL the trees. Ask her for one year AND after that time, if she doesnt like them, you will cut them down. Because she will get used to them and forget. Xx

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Hahahaha that's another good idea! No way in hell am I cutting down trees if there's no good reason 🤣

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Re: bug invasions.

They go after not so healthy plants. Might want to think about soil testing, and adding missing nutrients for next year.... healthy, balanced soil = healthy plants = pest/disease resistance.... just an idea, as I've had real good success in the pest area with improved balanced soil.

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H-m-m! I've never heard of assassin bugs but if they can get rid of aphids sounds good to me! Great photos of them!

Trees are part of the bones of your garden and if it is a food FOREST garden that means lots of trees! And the best time to plant them is now so you can see the fruits of your labor sooner! And if it really is to much for Melissa they can be removed. But how can fruiting trees be too much!