Remember our grasshopper infestation? Sooo not fun. Disgusting, actually. We are doing what we can to keep the numbers down to something a little less horrific. We have free-ranging chickens, ducks, and guinea, and lots of wild birds coming in to eat. We have most of the area around the house and yard mowed to discourage the grasshoppers from moving between pastures and the yard/garden area. But it wasn't knocking down the population like we needed.
I'm still using organic methods in the garden -- even relocating wheelie bugs and ladybugs to the garden when I find them other places on the farm. But when the numbers of grasshoppers creep up in the tall grass and trees in and around the yard, we spray those areas with a Malathion/water mixture. It's a little more serious than we normally use on the farm, but is still a garden-safe method of control.
During the day, grasshoppers are very active and hard to control. But at night grasshoppers stop feeding and climb up out of the grass and perch themselves along the edges of the pastures on the tall grass stems, along the fence wires, on trees, and weeds. And there they sit, waiting for us to make our way around the yard wearing our headlamps, armed with a sprayer. And yes, I still have grasshoppers in the garden. But not nearly as many as I would have if we weren't able to control the population in the areas around the yard.
So how about a small garden tour!
This yellow pear tomato plant is also amazing -- it's HUGE, and has officially reached the top of the 4' cage around it. The plant next to it (can't remember what it is!) is doing really well too, but there just aren't a lot of flowers on either of these plants. Some flowers, but not a lot. Maybe I need to supplement with some phosphorus to encourage flowers. I use bone meal when I prep the beds for planting, but maybe adding some worm casting tea might be beneficial. Hopefully I can encourage these two to put on more flowers!
I have cucumbers growing in several areas, but this is the largest area. A full 4'x8' bed of them, and they are quickly vining out of the bed's edges. Under those leaves are a bazillion flowers! And we've even picked a couple cucumbers! I think they are enjoying not being trellised this year.
The pumpkin is doing well (for just being old seeds tossed at the edge of a zucchini bed), and the zucchini and other squash plants are looking healthy. In the blue tub at the left are some mini white cucumbers, a great little variety that is really fun to grow!
Here's some organic bug control in the garden ... ducks! Chickens can be really hard on a garden since they're really drawn to eating leaves and small tender fruits, and like to take dust baths in the soft soil -- which isn't so great for plants. But ducks and guinea are great in a garden! They are more focused on bugs! They pull them right off the stems and leaves, and the ducks also root around the edges of the garden beds where other insects like to hide during the day.