Have you ever seen how a ladybird is born? Now is the time to go out and look, because the ladybird larvae are transforming into the loveable little bugs. I had noticed that my blackcurrant bush was all curled up at the tips. A closer look revealed that the ants were busy farming aphids up there, in their enclosures of folded leaves.
ants farming aphids on blackcurrant June 2017
The other day, I looked over to see how it was getting on and look who had arrived!
Ladybird larvae on blackcurrant
This, believe it or not, is the larvae of a ladybird. They are very good news, because they eat A LOT of aphids. More than their adult future-selves do. A closer look at the blackcurrant revealed this happening elsewhere:
larvae transforming into a ladybird
Is it just me, or is that magic? My blackcurrant ‘pests’ are fuelling the birth of lady-bugs.
Meanwhile, in the annual polyculture bed, the slugs have had a ball:
kale seedling being munched
As I said in my last post, I’m leaving nature to do its thing and am recording this here so that I can trace the progress (or slow death) of the kale. It is hard to see in this photo because it is surrounded with grass clippings and chopped up clover, which are mulching and hopefully adding slow release nitrogen to the soil. The only thing with mulching is that nobody tells you about the blackbirds. They LOVE mulch. They jump up and down gleefully and chuck it everywhere. I take this as a sign that there is lots of wriggling life down there (including happy and well-fed slugs), and therefore a healthy soil. Here is the whole bed:
annual polyculture bed June 2017
I am telling myself that it will look quite different in July. And that, as I said in my post over on Anni’s blog, ‘pests’ are essential to a fully functioning ecosystem. Meanwhile, on the project to include more perennials, here are the pots with seeds all sown:
no sign yet … June 2017
But I do have some baby Asturian Tree Cabbage on the way:
tree cabbage and red orache June 2017
The troughs are protected with copper tape to deter slugs. In theory. They can have a ball over in the polyculture bed. And if the slugs have a ball, then we also have happy hedgehogs, thrushes, frogs … after all, one person’s pest is another creature’s lunch.