• Heirloom Seeds

Daddy Long Legs

We surprise each other in the tall grass and strawberry patch.

Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Long Legs

These guys have a bad reputation for being poison spiders. They aren’t. Daddy Long Legs aren’t even spiders and they do not have sacks that contain poison.

Even though they don’t have poison sacks they are capable of warding off predators by giving off a very offensive odor.

Daddy Long Legs tend to eat soft, small insects as well as sucking decaying plant and animal matter. They live in forests as well as fields. Find them on trees as well as the ground.

Size: One body segment about 1/4 inch in length with 2 eyes on top of head – Eight very long, spindly legs several times longer than their body
Color: Black/Brown/Cream & Brown Striped
Distinctive Features: Two eyes on top of head – projects an offensive odor when threatened
Life Span: 1 – 2 years
Web: Not a web builder
Temperament: Not Aggressive
Bite: Non-Poisonous & Rare – Very weak jaws
Prey: Insects, decaying animal matter, decaying plant matter

Garden Spider – Beneficial – Sustainable – Predator

Urban Farming?  Got Garden Spiders?

Butterflies

The Silent Pollinators

Butterflies pollinate large areas of plantscapes at one time. They habitually travel farther & pollinate  more area than the more aggressive pollinators like bees do. Unlike their larvae, adult butterflies do not eat solid foods.

"butterflies"

lizbetpalmer / Pixabay


They sip sweet, nutrient rich nectar through their long tongues but they need to drink water too. Butterflies drink from mud puddles. Mud Puddling is very important. It is rich in nutrients and salts that butterflies need.

These  easy going pollinators have large, long-legged  bodies that do not allow them to fit inside flowers and take up as much pollen as other smaller more aggressive pollinators do. Despite their size disadvantage; their weightless bodies do allow them to land on more delicate flowers than the heavier weighted pollinators can land on.
Butterflies pollinate while sipping nectar. They unintentionally rub against the flower’s anther picking up pollen on their body and then traveling from flower to flower to sip more nectar, rub & distribute more pollen.

Different species favor different flowers. Large flat – shaped flowers and large bunches of small flowers are easy for butterflies to stand on. Some of their favorite flowers are:
Anise, Hyssop, Butterfly Bush, Columbine, Dianthus, Golden Rod, New England Aster, Marigolds, Milkweed,Petunias, Verbena, Yarrow, to name a few.

Avoid Hybrids

Hybrids, even organic hybrids, do not always produce nectar or pollen. Pollinators will still try eating from hybrids leaving them without proper nutrition.
Just think of how many well-intended growers work with hybrids across the globe & how many pollinators have no choice but to rely on them.

Hybrids do not always produce reliable, sustainable, next generation seeds but if they do produce next generation seeds most of the time crops grown from these seeds are deformed, stunted & unreliable making them unsustainable for the grower.

Butterfly – Beneficial – Sustainable – Pollinator

Urban Farming?  Got Butterflies?


 

Garden Spiders

So many times I’ve nearly backed into it’s very large web.

"garden spider"

Meitzke / Pixabay

These poor sited easy-going predators hang upside down in the middle of their delicately woven webs. Garden Spider webs are strong & can reach larger than a foot in diameter. Garden spiders hang, waiting, reading, every vibration that contacts their web. It’s their strong sense of vibration that detects a catch and their intricately woven orb web that holds it while the Garden Spider wraps & liquefies it. Unfortunately these beneficials catch other beneficials as well as garden pests too.

Garden Spider’s like wooded, leafy landscapes.  Plant stalks, woody, twiggy, branches are all good for building webs. They enjoy living near gardens or wherever potential food & web building requirements are possible.
Size: Males 4mm – 8 mm & Females 10mm – 13mm
Color: Black/Brown, Pale Yellow, Black
Distinctive Markings: Cross-shape marking on abdomen
Life Span: 1 – 2 years
Web: Large, Extremely Strong, Orb Pattern mostly found in open areas
Temperament: Not Aggressive
Bite: Non-Poisonous & Rare
Prey: Insects

Garden Spider – Beneficial – Sustainable – Predator

Urban Farming?  Got Garden Spiders?

Bees

Bees

"Bees"Bees Can Do No Wrong

Most everything I say about bees is biased because of my love and appreciation for them.

These busy pollinators are easy to please by simply adding flowers & plants that they love. Bees sense of fragrance and their ability to see all colors, excluding red; make planting bee attracting companion flowers & plants throughout food crops a breeze.   Planting a diverse assortment of colorful, fragrant flowers, garden vegetables, even trees & shrubs will be a sure invite to bees.
I choose perennials or self-seeding annuals…they’re more dependable at yearly flowering than I am at yearly seeding.
Nectar: Bees are serious about drinking their nectar. (they love to drink water too) Nectar provides bees with the essential energy they need to perform well. Bees use nectar to make honey.
Pollen: Pollen is their essential source for nutrients, fats & proteins. Bees pollinate the flowers. Bees carry pollen from one flower’s anther to another flowers stigma. Pollination leads to fruits & vegetables.
Menu Suggestions Include:
Borage
, Clover, Dandelion, Golden Rod,  Nasturtium, Purple Vetch, Sunflower to name a few and water….bees always need water in even the shallowest dish or the dew that gathers on the crops in the morning.

Avoid Hybrids
Hybrids, even organic hybrids, do not always produce nectar or pollen. Pollinators will still try eating from hybrids leaving them without proper nutrition.
Just think of how many well-intended growers work with hybrids across the globe & how many pollinators rely on them.
Hybrids do not always produce reliable, sustainable, next generation seeds but if they do produce next generation seeds most of the time crops grown from these seeds are deformed, stunted & unreliable making them unsustainable for the grower.

Bees – Beneficial – Sustainable – Pollinator

Urban Farming? Got Bees?