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Bee Report is a Buzzkill!

The latest U.S.D.A report is showing that bee colonies are still vanishing.  This is a sad state of affairs. Here in the Garden State I have yet to see a honey bee this year. Bee Report

1 Billion Monarch Butterflies Vanish Since 1999

This is a very sad state of affairs for Humanity.  Monarch Butterflies are in trouble and 1 billion have vanished from the skies since 1999.  Pesticides and the eradication of Milkweed by farmers are homeowners are to blame.

If everyone begins to plant Milkweed in their flower gardens we may be able to reverse this trend.  Here is the article.  I will also put up Milkweed seeds at break-even prices so that we can get the seeds in gardens around the U.S.A..

15 Plants That You Can Grow From Food Scraps

If you are an avid composting gardener, then you have probably noticed that, once in a while, that your onion, lettuce, carrot and other food scraps have started growing while awaiting their fate at the hands of your worms and millions of microorganisms.

Have you ever wondered if you could grow more vegetables from those sprouting scraps?  The article below covers 15 vegetable scraps that will grow you new veggies.

I have tinkered with veggie scraps that I have found growing in our compost bins with mixed results (no pun intended).  Maybe the article will enable you to be successful at scrap gardening.

Here is the article.

Mealworm Meat!

Mealworm meat is a Tofu like substance made out of mealworms developed by students at Cornell.  Get ready for mealfurkey at Thanksgiving.  In all seriousness, this could be a great way to feed people healthy lean protein at  lower prices than meat.  Get some mealworms today!  :-)

Here is the article.

Could Cricket Flour Make Bug Eating Go Mainstream

We grow insects, but I don't eat them. I know that insects are nutritious, are low in fat and full of protein.  They are easier to grow that beef and chicken and they leave a smaller ecological footprint.   I hear that bugs taste good too.  We do eat insects when we eat processed food, but we just don't know it.  The U.S.D.A permits a certain amount of bug matter in our processed food, and it is in there.  I should know.

This article talks about flour made from crickets.  Perhaps this will be the ticket to making insect eating mainstream.   Here is the article on flour from crickets

Micro Mealworms

microwormsWe are very excited to be breeding a new type of worm.  We have not introduced a new worm in about 6 years, so this is really special to us.  We have been breeding micro mealworms for about 5 months now and we are very happy to report that it is going really well.  Micro Mealworms are about the size of small mealworms but they are a totally different species related to common mealworms.  The have less exoskeleton  and the beetles are about a quarter of the size of mealworm beetles.  The beetles are great for feeding reptiles and pets also.  More to come but I was so excited after taking readings today that I wanted to report it.  I placed my wedding ring in the picture to show you the size perspective.    :-)  Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

An Introduction to Butterfly Gardening

Swallowtail Butterfly larvae

Swallowtail Butterfly larvae

In order to attract butterflies to your garden, you have to make your yard more inviting to them. You’ll need to provide plants that the caterpillars can use, food for the adult butterflies, and a good place for the butterflies to breed.

Most varieties of butterflies will also need some sort of shelter from wind. Although they really like open areas with a lot of sun, you’ll probably need to provide some sort of windbreak to protect them from high winds that can disturb them.

Butterflies often congregate by the edges of mud puddles. You’ve probably seen this before. It isn’t known exactly why butterflies enjoy mud puddles so much, but it’s thought that it may be certain minerals that are present in the muddy water. If you want to attract a lot of butterflies, you might consider keeping some damp areas in your garden.

Female butterflies need plants that can be eaten by the caterpillars that hatch from their eggs. Black swallowtails prefer dill and parsley, for example. Monarch butterflies typically only lay their eggs on milkweed. Female butterflies spend a lot of time searching for these plants to lay their eggs on.

Adult butterflies eat nectars from various flowers. Flowers that contain a lot of nectar are especially attractive to butterflies. These flowers are usually brightly colored and sweetly scented. Some species of butterflies feed on the honeydew produced by aphids. Some even feed on plant spa, bird feces, or rotting fruit!

Your butterfly garden should contain at least one big patch of flowers that will attract butterflies. You may want to get flowers that bloom in sequence, because this will keep butterflies visiting your garden more often.

You should bear in mind that many flowers that are preferred by butterflies are considered weeds. For example, dandelion is very attractive to several types of butterflies. Thistle is another weed that many types of butterflies enjoy.

If you have an herb garden or vegetable garden, you may notice some butterflies congregating on some of your plants there. The European cabbage butterfly enjoys broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables. The black swallowtail often frequents herbs such as dill and parsley.

Don’t use insecticides in your garden unless absolutely necessary, because they can kill caterpillars. Some insecticides can also kill the adult butterflies if they light on plants that have been treated, or if they drink nectar that was polluted by poison.

Some flowers you should plant if you like to attract butterflies include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, herbs like parsley and dill, and many types of flowers. Some great flowers for butterfly gardens include asters, lilacs, verbena, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers, thistles, butterfly bush, bee balm, and sweet pea.

Making your garden hospitable for butterflies doesn’t take a lot of extra work. Simply keeping a small wet area for them and planting a few plants that they’ll enjoy is often enough to attract a number of butterflies.

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