Now that you've gotten your kids involved in the gardening process it's time to start identify some bugs in the garden. Both the ones you want to keep, and the ones you want to toss out.
Searching for bugs in our garden beds is one of my kids favorite daily chore. They get excited when we head out to water because their job (besides watering) is to inspect the garden plants for unwanted pests. And they're also great at identifying the bugs we want in our garden.
Here are a few bugs to look out for. It isn't a complete list and the species and variety might vary depending on where you live, but it's what we run into daily here. And I'll be sharing what you don't want in your garden soon!
Bugs In The Garden: What You Want To See
Ladybugs are awesome to have in the garden. Not only are they good luck, they like to eat pesky bugs we don't want in the garden like aphids.
You can ensure that ladybugs will stick around a while if you make sure that your garden stays moist (a spray bottle with a mister works great) and they have a place to burrow in and live.
If you aren't finding a lot of ladybugs visiting your garden on their own you can purchase ladybugs from your local hardware store. For more information about ladybugs check out our ladybug adventure.
Earthworms are an awesome addition to any garden bed. Worm castings are a wonderful fertilizer, rich in nutrients otherwise unavailable to plants.
If you don't have earthworms in your garden now, consider adding some nitrogen-rich compost to your soil. But be careful with what you use. Worms are very sensitive to physical and chemical changes and will flee any salty conditions that result from chemical fertilizer.
Looking to start up a compost bin so you can control what's in the soil? Check out this great composting guide.
Bees are amazing. No, seriously. They are. They basically do all of the pollinating work for you in the garden. And that means better harvests from your favorite crops including okra, apples, blueberries, beans, and much much more.
Bees pollinate 80 percent of the flowering plants and 75 percent of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the U.S., according to the NAPPC. And bees are pretty easy to attract to your garden. Just make sure to have a variety of native plants around to entice them over.
I've also found that they love the mineral rich water found at the bottom of my vertical gardens. They love to hang out at the bottom and drink up the water that's collected down there.
Butterflies are also great pollinators. And they add a bit of beauty to the garden as well.
Consider planting a butterfly garden close to your vegetable gardens to entice them to come and visit your veggies.