Wheel bug in the garden

Wheel Bug feeding on honey bee

Wheel bug feeding on honey bee

Noticed this large adult “wheel bug” hanging out on a sunflower in the garden yesterday at Steiner Field. After further observation, I noticed that the wheel bug was feeding on a honey bee, which they ambush as the bee is harvesting nectar. Turns out that the Wheel and Assassin Bug enjoy feeding on honey bee’s and will even wait near the hive in order to catch them easily. Wheel bugs are also praised by gardeners as being as beneficial to gardens as ladybugs, as they feed mostly on pests like caterpillars, stink bugs, and beetles. Professor of Entomology Dr Mike Raupp at the University of Maryland regards the wheel bug as being “the lion or eagle of your feed web”, and also says this about them:

“They sit on top. When you have these big, ferocious predators in your landscape, that tells me that this is a very healthy landscape, because all these other levels in your food web are intact.”


2016 Garlic is sprouting

Spanish Rojo Garlic sprouting

Chesnok Red Garlic planted a few weeks ago.

Just planted the above pictured Chesnok Red garlic on the 13th of October 2015, and already some of them are sprouting through the straw that was donated to me by Brandon over at Sunbelt Landscaping in Corrales. I used one bale per row of garlic, and each row is 50 feet long and 4 feet wide. The coverage isn’t too bad, with somewhere around 1.5-2 inches of straw covering the area. We received just about 2/3 of an inch of rain a few days after I was done planting the garlic seeds, and it seems the rain really helped jump start the garlic and some weeds also. One thing I have noticed, is that I planted the first row of garlic into dry soil and then water was applied, and the second row of garlic seeds was planted into moist soil; with the garlic already sprouting in the second row, this means that planting garlic into moist soil most likely had a better overall sprouting success. Last year, I planted another variety of garlic into dry soil and the plants were also slow to emerge from the soil, so I would say it’s a good recommendation to plant your garlic seeds into moist soil for the best results, although that can become a bit more work when your constantly removing mud from your tools when planting.


We are now Certified Naturally Grown

We are pleased to announce that we are now Certified Naturally Grown. CNG is the grassroots alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program, and was created in 2002 as a response to the program created by the USDA. After years of growing fruits & vegetables in the backyard without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers, I intended to continue to practice this method in a larger capacity at Steiner Field. CNG guidelines are the same as the USDA’s program in regards to allowed, restricted and prohibited usage of inputs that can be used on your fields, so you can rest assured that the produce is grown without harmful fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. I invited Russell Trujillo of Corrales Classic Farms and Al Gonzales of Gonzales Flower Farm in Corrales New Mexico to carry out the inspection of my field for certification, and learned quite a few things about what they have experienced growing in the Rio Grande Valley over the years. So far I have been asked by a few folks why I wanted this operation to be Certified Naturally Grown, and here are a few reasons:

1. Proclaim to our customers we are dedicated to growing fruits/vegetables without use of any synthetic or chemical herbicide, pesticide, or fertilizer inputs.
2. Community of like-minded farmers.
3. Lower cost to certify than USDA program for smaller farmers.

We felt that the overall structure of CNG was more inline with our ideals – minimizing off farm inputs used, growing diverse species, minimal usage of fossil fuels, integration of cover crops, minimal water usage, etc. Although many farmers use natural practices in the the Albuquerque area, we wanted to go the extra step and become certified, as we wanted our customers to know that we are dedicated to growing the best fruits & vegetables without harmful chemicals.

For more information, please visit our profile page at CNG: https://certified.naturallygrown.org/producers/5144