Sunday, June 3, 2007

The aphids are coming! The aphids are coming!

I'm worried about aphids. Last year we grew heirloom tomatoes because I am a tomato snob and I'm convinced that all of those fancy shmancy hybrids have bred the tomato flavor right out of the fruit. So I bought a few different species and the aphids went NUTS. We tried knocking them off with water, which sort of worked, but ultimately the aphids one. Ever hopeful that I will master this organic gardening thing, I saved some seeds from one variety (Marmalade) and prayed that I'd get them to go this spring. They took a while to sprout but now they are about 5 inches tall, standing proudly in the garden. But I know that the aphids are coming. I'm not sure when or how but I know they'll find my garden. This year, I'm planning on buying a bunch of ladybugs to combat them, but I don't want to order them too early and then have them fly away to some other poor fool with aphids. So I'm thinking that I have to wait until I see the first aphids, but then get the ladybugs QUICKLY before too much damage is done. Ugh, it gives me a little headache just thinking about it. So this weekend, I'm in my garden on my hands and knees carefully inspecting these tiny plants, and I found an even tinier soul looking out for me and my garden. This little baby praying mantis was standing guard over one plant that I'm a little worried about because its leaves are starting to curl. I hope he sticks around.

A few years ago, the other biology teacher in my school brought in an egg case of some sort that he found wandering around. He put it into an empty gallon milk container along with some greens and then just forgot about it. A few weeks later, I walked into my classroom where my students were already starting to gather and there was a good amount of freaking out going on. Being teenagers, this could have meant anything or nothing, but they were all frozen in place and seemed pretty sincere. Someone pointed to the milk carton and suddenly I saw hundreds of baby praying mantis literally pouring out over the sides of the milk container. They just kept coming and coming. They were all over the room and someone mentioned that urban legend about how it is illegal to kill praying mantis so the kids were all frozen in place, afraid to move and step on them (did I say that they were everywhere?) So that period was spent with all of us tiptoeing around the room, saving these little guys and sticking them outside. Every once in a while, someone would accidentally kill one and then totally freak out. It was one of the more ridiculous lesson plans of my career:)

In crafting news, I made it out to the Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend. I met Anda from Etsy and she gave me a tote made in the etsy labs! It has plastic handles made from fusing discarded plastic bags which Anda demos here and which I'm hoping to try this summer (the bags are all cut and ready to be ironed.) I'll post later on my loot from Art Star once I get some good photos.

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made. by k.d.