Author: Shane

A captured squirrel awaits release. 2

Dealing with Squirrels in Fruit Trees

Amid a sprawl of grassy lawns, our edible forest garden of fruit and nut trees offers sanctuary for insects, birds, and lizards. And squirrels. Squirrels weren’t a problem till the spring that they removed...

The hover fly, sometimes called flower flies, or syrphid flies, resembles a bee at first glance. A beneficial insect in the garden, its larvae feed on aphids. It is pictured here on a comfrey leaf. 0

Hover Flies

In their larval stage, hover flies keep aphid populations under control. As adults, they provide pollination services to flowers. The distinct coloration and patterning of hover flies makes them easily recognizable as bee mimics....

Assassin bug (wheel bug) on a red maple leaf. 0

Assassin Bugs

Assassin bugs are generalist predators that feed on a range of herbivorous insects as nymphs and adults. Avoid handling them, as they use their long beaks to inflict defensive damage. Common Names: Assassin bug,...

The two-spotted stink bug is a type of predatory stink bug (like the spined soldier bug), a generalist predator that feeds on herbivorous insect pests. 0

Predatory Stink Bugs

Predatory stink bugs, including the spined soldier bug and two-spotted stink bug, are powerhouse generalist predators in the garden, feeding on pests as both nymphs and adults. Common Names: Spined soldier bug, two-spotted stink...

Honeybees on southern magnolia blossom. 0

Plants for Beneficial Insects

We keep a list of plants that we work with as well as ones that we’d consider using based on their functions in the garden. The more habitat we create for insect helpers, the greater balance we...

Compost with earthworm 0

Composting

Composting presents one way—perhaps the most important way—of supporting the web of life. Compost restores structure and nutrients to the soil, increases the ability of plants to absorb minerals, and boosts biodiversity among beneficial...

Chickweed volunteers as a groundcover on the homestead. 0

Plant Inventory

At the Little House on Pine we try to identify every plant on our 1/4 acre lot. As we introduce new plants for food production and conservation landscaping, we prioritize with plants native to...

High in protein, the groundnut was an important food source for Native Americans. 0

Groundnut

A lesser known plant in edible landscaping, groundnut serves many important functions across three layers in the forest garden. Groundnuts like to climb and can clamber over unsuspecting herbaceous plants. Common Name: Groundnut Scientific...

A young New Jersey Tea plant gets ready for winter. 0

New Jersey Tea

As a native nitrogen fixing shrub with diverse functions, New Jersey Tea ranks among my favorite permaculture plants to fill out the shrub layer. Common Name: New Jersey Tea Scientific Name: Ceanothus americanus Family:...

Red wiggler worms busy at work! 0

Vermiculture

In the yard, earthworms produce succulent castings rich in nutrients and bacteria that support life processes. Indoors, our frost-challenged red wigglers produce probiotic castings that I use in compost tea for the garden. And like honeybees, the...