Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

July 1st, 2018

“Insects are less conspicuous and less glamorous than songbirds, dragonflies or hedgehogs are the foundation from which a healthy wildlife garden is built. The American word ‘bugs’ contributes to a profound misunderstanding of the importance of insects as part of the chain of life. The more varied the garden’s insects population, the healthier it will e. Without a healthy insect population, the whole food chain of birds, mammals and flowers starts to fall apart. Not only to we want more insects, we need them.”

Monty Don in Down to Earth






I love this and have always said all insects are good, even if they are one’s we don’t want to see in the garden. This week I’ve been seeing lots of insects I don’t necessarily want to see, but they’re part of the ecosystem. I’ve seen: cucumber beetles, squash bugs, mosquitoes, deer flies, but also butterflies, bees, tiny native pollinators, and so many more.

What insects are you seeing this week?

I’ve Been Waiting for This

June 28th, 2018

I’m always on the lookout for a few specific photos. Since my name is on various photo lists for various publications, I’m always on the lookout for things to photograph that I think I can end up selling. For quite a few years, I’ve been wanting to get a photo of a tick on a blade of grass. While walking up the driveway the other day, I spotted this guy in the tall grass on the edge of the driveway. Naturally, I had to grab my camera and get a few photos. After his photo shoot I squished him between two rocks so he didn’t end up on one of the cats or me. I have a running list of photos in my mind that I’m waiting to get and I’m always super excited when I finally get one of those checked off.

I grew up spending lots of time in the woods, so ticks don’t creep me out like they do some people. They can carry diseases, thorough tick checks are the best way to minimize the risk. During tick season, everyone in the family (including cats) gets a thorough tick check.

Are there any things you’ve been waiting to get photos of?

The Mad Dash

May 7th, 2018

Here in Maine, we have black fly season. It’s annoying. Black flies buzz in your ears and bite, hard. Typically, the season goes from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. We wear head nets during the season if there’s no breeze, but we try to spend LONG days in the garden before they arrive to get as much done as possible before the little buggers hatch out.

I often take a lot of days off work this time of year, or I work in the evenings when it’s dark. These past two weeks have been no different. Any day it’s nice, I’m outside working, unless there’s something pressing I need to get finished. Naturally, I always have furry helpers when I’m working outside.

This weekend, I accomplished a ton in the garden. All brassicas, lettuce, celery and beets were transplanted. Peas were seeding, shrubs were pruned, perennials were transplanted, perennials borders were weeded and a layer of mulch was applied.


I also started working on a rock wall around part of the old apple tree up front. It’s really starting to look GREAT! On Saturday evening, after a long day of working in the garden, a black fly buzzed my ear. Even though I’ll still be out working in the garden, I won’t be out quite so much.

What insects are annoying you this week in the garden?

Garden Fails

September 27th, 2017

Every year there are failures in the garden. I believe that failure is often one of the best ways to learn, it’s seems easier at times to figure out what works and what doesn’t when we have failures. This year one of my giant failures is in my ornamental cabbage crop. I seeded them in July, moved them outside in mid-August, then they were found by the caterpillars.

I had big dreams of pots of ornamental kale beside my front door until well into December, this is what they look like.


I don’t use any kind of pest control, even “organic” varieties. Often even those (like Slug-O) have consequences down the line. I’m thinking that I need to attract more wrens and birds to my garden. Perhaps a few guinea fowl will do the trick as well, they are fantastic at controlling squash bugs and cabbage worms. My dreams of giant drifts of ornamental kale are gone, but I’ve now learned that there’s just too much pressure at the current moment to try it. Perhaps I’ll just put one of my many pumpkins in the terra cotta pots by my front door. In the future, I may try ornamental kale again, but keep it under an insect barrier until it’s quite large. I may try seeding it a little earlier so it’s larger and more robust. I may just use my time to read a book instead though, sometimes it’s just easier to let dreams go.

What pest issues are you having this time of year? Are there any garden dreams you’ve had to let go of?

Tomato Hornworms

September 20th, 2017

It’s tomato hornworm season here in Maine, I’ve been picking them off my tomatoes like mad. I always watch for the parasitic wasp eggs, but none have been found yet. I never pick them all off, I always sacrifice a few plants in hopes that the wasps will show up. In my Ohio garden I always had the wasps.


The worst part about them is that they take bites out of all the tomatoes, which then get moldy and aren’t good for anything. They won’t ripen and are lost as a crop.

Tomato hornworms are a favorite of my muscovy duck and her ducklings, they’ve been feasting on 5-8 hornworms a day this week.

Do you get hornworms on your tomatoes & peppers? Have you ever seen one covered in parasitic wasp eggs?

Seeds and Sundries
Shop Through Amazon

Shop through this link and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

Reading & Watching
Resources

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

Berkey Water Filter
About

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Blogroll
Admin