Project Green Thumbs Season III: Pests and protectors

Hands down, my least favorite part of gardening is dealing with bugs. I recognize that I’m 10,000 times bigger than they are, but they creep me out from the tiniest flea to the refrigerator-sized cockroach that I killed in my Cactus Land apartment a couple years ago. You can better believe that Mr. T has perpetual bug-zapping duty in our house except for my garden, of course, which is where I run into problems. You see, there are good bugs in the world, apparently. Who knew!? The key is to differentiate between pest and protector, to attract one and shun others. This is what I find problematic.

For instance, I know caterpillars are not my friends, but I could not keep them from the lettuce. Any hot tips?

Stupid lettuce stealers. I had not ONE salad from the garden this year.

Slugs I recognize as the devil, and me and my snailbait, copper wire and beer have mostly kept them down this season.

Ick.

This guy? Friend or foe? Someone please tell me!

He hangs out on the cucumber most often.

Bonus beautiful dragon fly. Do they serve any garden purpose other than decoration?

And my friend the praying mantis. Actually I have three or four this year and I remember reading that they are good luck and eat aphids. Or is that they have good luck eating aphids? I’m not sure. All I know is that I have one in the mint, one in the patio tomato and one who guards the cucumbers like a champ.

The largest of my crew, approximately 1.5 inches long.
Itty bitty! Maybe 1/2 inch long. Maybe.
Cucumber guard
I’m surprised that he doesn’t run away when I come near.
He does get “aggressive” though… bouncing at me and waving almost.
Mmmhmm.
Apparently I take too many pictures.
Typical perch.
I was waiting for him to take a leap at me. Thankfully he stayed put.

Any pests or protectors in your garden this year?

xoxo,
shawna

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