Sunday, 4 November 2012

Release The Hounds

As I mentioned in the last post, I ordered 500 predatory insect eggs, specifically those of the green lacewing, as an organic method of helping to control insect pests.  The delivery was duly received and I watched with my magnifying glass inside the little plastic tub of chaff until I could see little critters crawling around.  Yesterday I released them into the two areas we are growing vegies where I am hoping they will feast upon moth eggs, aphids and whitefly.  I nicked a couple of photos off the Net in case you are curious as to what they look like. 

This is an adult green lacewing, pretty isn't it.  If any of the 500 eggs matures, then I'm hoping to see some of these in a few weeks time.  The adults feed on nectar and pollen.
And this is a lacewing larvae, which is what I released yesterday.  They were very tiny, maybe 2 mm long, but they will grow to about 8 mm before pupating.  These are the ferocious predators that I'm hoping will help keeps bad bugs in check.  Apparently they have little spines on their backs and they like to adorn these with cast-off body parts of their meals and other detritus, in order to camouflage themselves.... how deliciously gruesome!
We are continuing to eat hearty meals of our vegies - potatoes, carrots, snow peas and broad beans in abundance, and the very last of the sugar snap peas.  The spring plantings of warm weather vegies are growing well.  Here we have sweetcorn.
More lettuce. It pays to try and be organised with lettuce, and plant half a dozen every few weeks, to get a regular supply.  Easier said than done to remember to do this! 
Sunflower plants.  I'm really pleased with these, they have good strong stems, which they need as it can get pretty windy here.  The eventual intention for growing sunflowers is to give our future chooks the best present of all, a seed head each to peck into happy oblivion.
This is what happens when you don't work the soil sufficiently before planting carrots, they grow legs!  I gather what happens is that they hit an obstacle, fork and go round it.  I planted two rows of carrots and these are from the front row, which is obviously too near the edge of my tilled soil.  They still taste okay though, just a bit more awkward to peel!
I have a old blueberry plant in a pot.  Eventually we are planning a small berry orchard under permanent netting and want to grow strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and silvanberries.  For now I am relying on my old faithful.  It's the skankiest looking plant you ever did see but for its size it produces terrific blueberries.  I've got it right outside the shed door so I can keep an eye on it from a naughty thieving bird point of view.  I reckon I'm scoffing a dozen blueberries a day, and graciously letting Steve have the odd one or two.  I confess to being a bit possessive about my blueberries.
I love growing herbs and am very interested in their properties and uses.  One herb that I always struggled to grow well in Perth was thyme, I was an expert at killing it.  So I am rapt to see how well it is growing down here.  I have a big pot in which is growing thyme, lemon thyme and creeping thyme.  They have burst into a mass of flower over the past few weeks and are very pretty.
I usually have little pots on the go, either growing herbs from seed or from cuttings.  A friend gave me a piece of her pink flowering rosemary, so I snipped it into about 20 cuttings and potted them.  Amazingly I think they've all taken which is great as I want to plant a lot of rosemary in the new house garden.
The house is still creeping towards handover.  It should have already happened but there have been a couple of holdups.  Tomorrow hopefully.  In the meantime we have had our gas bottles delivered.  Which means we now have hot water, yay!
We have bathroom mirrors and shower screens.  And, joy of joys, we can now use the shower.  The most tedious thing about our 9 months of living in the shed has been showering in a very rudimentary fashion, so to be able to wander over to the house with towel over one shoulder, and stand on tiles and get blasted by abundant, super hot water, is heaven indeed.  :-)
 The floor coverings are due to be started on the 19th November and our grand plan is to start moving in to the house after that.  Most of our stuff is in storage, and the storage unit is stuffed to the hilt.  So we've started moving some of the smaller things into the shed so we have a bit more room to manoevre in the storage unit.  So, basically it's a case of moving a big load of crap from one place to another.  And the current locale is the shed, where we live.  You know those tv programmes about hoarding addicts, when they have house full to the ceiling of stuff and have to crawl through tunnels and caves to move through the house?  That's a bit like how I'm feeling in the shed at the moment..... toooooo much stuff!  Only a few more weeks, that's what I keep telling myself.  It's going to be rather strange living in a house again, I guess it will take us some time to get used to it.  And I supposed I will have to do housework...... :-)


  1. All sounding fantastic, Dy! Anne

  2. I just LOVE hearing what you are up to, Dy...keep blogging! Ange X

  3. Amazing! How do you know all this stuff?