As we approach that time of year, I’d like to share with you my love of gardening and a bit of the “not such love” of it too…
I grew up in an Italian family in Jersey with a long history of gardeners. I loved gardening with my mom. I was always ready to get my hands dirty and start planting. Living in a wooded area, it can be challenging to keep the garden animal free. We would grow mostly in raised beds or containers.
My mom mostly stuck with tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. I was always so fascinated by watching plants turn into veggies! By how those little yellow flowers could turn themselves into these big juicy tomatoes.
It amazes me how climbing veggies can wrap their “arms” around poles and just start climbing, always when you’re not looking.
One day, I walked past one of my zucchini plants that had no flowers on it. About an hour later, I walked by again and this gigantic flower had opened up! How come this doesn’t happen when I’m looking at them! It’s like they know you’re watching, but they don’t want you to see them move! Fascinating little suckers…
Sometimes when picking my veggies, I like to have a little fun with garden art
Ok, so now that I’ve shared my love of gardening, I’m going to share my “not such love” of it. Of course there are lots of bugs, as we all know, lurking around in our gardens. Some harmless, and some destructive.
One day, I saw a praying mantis in my garden. I was so excited! I never see them! Not only did I see one, I saw three!! I was like “wow! This is unbelievable! This must mean I’ve got some luck heading my way!”
Reading up on praying mantis, I learned that they actually camouflage themselves. The green ones, hide against the green
The brown, hide against the brown
I was fascinated by everything going on in my garden until one day, I came out to find one of the praying mantis, hanging upside down, eating a bumble bee! The biggest contributor to our gardens! The pollinator!!
I was so sad for the bee. They are totally harmless in the garden. I’d run away from one hanging around my car, but in the garden, they are at their happiest. They don’t want anything to do with you, all they want to do is pollinate! It was at that point that I realized that my garden wasn’t doing as well as it usually does, and now I knew why!! Praying mantis were killing my garden!! Apparently, they are carnivores and love to eat bees! I would try to pick them up with a stick and move them far away, only to find them back the next day. They are beautiful insects but…. I’d prefer them to stay far, far away!
I haven’t started my garden this year just yet, but, I’m hoping I do not see these guys in there again. If anyone has advice on keeping praying mantis away from a vegetable garden (without harming them of course) please share! I’m hoping that was a one time thing… Otherwise, happy gardening!