Now to find out just how horrible and scary they are........ Not horrible and scary at all! Actually they are very beneficial!
Rat-tailed maggots are the larvae of hover flies. Hover flies are pollinators. The world needs all the pollinators it can get right now. You may have heard about Colony Collapse Disorder in bees. Bees are disappearing in droves. "There are about 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of food globally. Of these, 71 are pollinated by bees. In the US alone, a full one-third of the food supply depends on pollination from bees. Apple orchards, for instance, require one colony of bees per acre to be adequately pollinated. So if bee colonies continue to be devastated, major food shortages could result."http://www.globalresearch.ca/neonicotinoid-pesticides-ongoing-death-of-the-beas-epa-slapped-with-lawsuit/5334816
This brings us back to the rat-tailed maggots. Although they look absolutely disgusting, they are very beneficial and important for the garden. We need every pollinator we can get and are obliged to provide a pollinator friendly habitat for pollinators of all kinds. Maybe we can be like a little oasis for them on their journey. They are still repulsive to look at. Just imagine one of these swimming around in your garden's tea. Then remember not to kill it but to be thankful for it.
Here is a great article on hover flies and other syrphids . Some even eat aphids!
Happy gardening adventures.
Have you ever heard of Multiplier onions? They do just as their name implies- multiply. Instead of planting them in the spring like regular onions you plant them in the fall. Then in the spring they have a race with the garlic to see who comes up first. It's usually a very close race. Once they come up they start multiplying. You can get even ten onions from one. Five to seven is more common and what I actually prefer. They seem to grow bigger when there is fewer.
One of the nice things about Multiplier onions is that they are ready to harvest before spring planted onions. They're not usually as big as spring planted onions but they are very reliable, always tied us over until the spring planted onions are ripe, and have been a part of many, many jars of salsa. I can't see myself ever not growing these.
Before onions are harvested you fold over the tops and let them sit like that for a few days. This stops the sap from flowing to the stem and puts all the energy into maturing the bulb. Once the tops start to brown you can harvest them. You can see that the tops on my onions aren't brown. Two things are going on here. The first is that these are multiplier onions. Onions are biennials. That means they bloom and produce seed every two years. So the onions that were planted in the fall shot up a stem that produced a blossom. We snip off the blossoms so that they will put the energy into the bulb. This stem though, is a thick stem that is not soft like those of first year onions. The new onions that grow from the one planted in the fall don't have this, just that fall planted ones. These stems don't lay over well. They sometime break. The other issue is the hail damage to the tops.
Now that we have harvested them we will plant a cover crop in their place. The cover crops protects the soil and then will be used for green manure- it will be left on the soil to add nitrogen and organic matter. As an added bonus we get to feed our birds the grains and some of the greens from the cover crop.
Quick Garden Update
I said it was horrific right? Quarter size hail and winds as high as 70 miles an hour. Yeah, it was horrific, but we have hope (make sure you read to the end). Everything got hit pretty bad. That being said, somethings recover better than others. Before the storm, all the tomatoes had fruit on them and the peppers were blooming if not setting fruit. The pole beans were just starting to bloom. Any fruit that was on the plants were damaged. Branches were broken and the vegetation was stripped off. The lettuce was shredded. The squash and cucumbers were shredded as well. The cucumbers taking it worse than the squash.
These Picture of the hail were taken two hours after it had stopped hailing. There was so much that it was still there two hours later. You can see the size off the hail, again, two hours later, is still bigger than the circumference of my rings.
The picture don't do the damage justice. These were taken two hours after the storm. The next day they looked even worse because all the bruised vegetation that hadn't fallen off, shriveled up and began to fall off making the plants even more bare.
We Still Have Hope
As horrible as the hail damage is, we know that God doesn't make mistakes. Let His will be done and may we learn from it! And may He help the garden to rebound and flourish. OH, and thank you God for eliminating almost all the flea beetles. That's a plus. Please keep them away!
The tomatoes are getting new growth and are even blooming, The zucchinis have blooms and even new fruit. the lettuce has perked up and we were able to salvage some of it. The poultry have been filling their bellies with the rest. I have planted lettuce and spinach every week since early spring. There is new lettuce coming up and will be ready to harvest before too long. We had planted some the day before the storm. Most of it has come up but there is still some that I'm not sure if it got washed away or not. It really is a miracle that it didn't all wash away. The eggplant is blooming and recovering nicely. There are some beans that survived. I planted over 500 plants between the pole and bush beans. There were a lot that just broke at the stem but like I said some survived. There was a row of pole beans next to a low tunnel that fared pretty well and are blooming now. The bush beans are planted in front of the green house. The ones closest to the green house didn't seem to get damaged. Most of the winter squash seems to be recovering well too. The peas were damaged but they are hanging in there and blooming. The grapes didn't seem to get damaged much at all. They look really well. Thank you!
The grass heads were a big hit. The kids look at them everyday to see how much their "hair" has grown. That seems to be as much fun as painting the pot. Now that their hair has grown quite a bit they just want to trim it.
Today marks the first CSA basket of the season. We had a lot of fun putting together the baskets and getting them delivered. It is so nice to see everyone's grateful faces and hear the encouraging words after many months of labor!
I hope everyone enjoys their CSA Baskets this week! Happy, healthy, eating!
Hello, I'm Jaci. I love gardening and being outside in God's amazing creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals!