The Killer Ladybugs

You might think the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is the most amazing thing in the produce world from the pictures and posts I put up.  And it’s true, it is the most amazing thing that ever happened to produce…  But I feel like I should admit to you – there are also a few really strange booths every Wednesday.  Booths that you scoot by, trying to avoid eye contact.

Seriously.  These are the booths that make you think, “How do these crazies afford to keep coming back every week?”  Because the space there can not be cheap.

There is the giant Rasta-looking man who sells lavender lotions, potpourris, and other nice-smelling things.  He shouts, “Come and treat yourself” to all the ladies.  I’ll admit, I’ve taken a sample of his lotions a few times.  And so has Brad.

There is also the woman who sells plants that grow in seashells.  No one is ever at her table.  Probably because she looks crazy.  And no one wants these weird little plants she has glued into a shell.  But hey, she does sell seashells by the sea shore.

Sorry, had to say it.

There is a stand with all kinds of dried fruits and nuts.  This stand wouldn’t be so creepy except for the two people who work it.  There is a man who wears such thick sunscreen it looks like he painted himself white.  And then there is his sidekick – an old woman who is always bringing up super depressing topics.  The failing economy, how little time she has left to live, cancer, war… whatever.  I’ve bought walnuts there twice and both times I left feeling depressed.  What a downer.

And then there is a man who has what looks like a tennis racket strung with christmas tinsel.  He stands at his tent hitting the racket with a fluffy steel wool looking thing.  It creates a zap and a spark.

It’s super weird.  We usually scoot past this one pretty quickly.

But this week, we investigated a little.  This weird electric racket thing is a cross between a bug zapper and a fly-swatter.  And as he says to the Bar Pintxo chefs, “Every kitchen needs one!”

Brad’s response, “Not our kitchen.  We don’t have bugs.”

Touche.

It turns out, the crazy bug zapper guy also sells packs of 500 ladybugs.

Ladybugs?

Why sell ladybugs, you ask?

Turns out ladybugs are a fantastic way to organically control pests in your garden.  Especially the pests that were attacking one of our precious tomato plants – aphids.  The ladybugs – actually beetles – can eat up to 5000 aphids during their life cycle.  And we had a lot of aphids on one of our plants.  Plenty for those little aphid-killers to eat.

And ladybugs are super cute.  I was down.

David paid $4 for a little plastic ball of 500 beetles.  I think he looked at it as insurance for the tomatoes he hopes we will share with him once they start coming in.  (We absolutely will)

We let the aphid killer ladybugs out at night so they could settle in before getting to work in the morning.  We had a whole sheet of instructions…

I’m pretty sure they haven’t stuck around, although I see one from time to time, but our plants are sprouting tiny little green tomato after tiny little green tomato and I didn’t have to spray again for bugs again until yesterday.

We are beginning to get a whole lot of little guys popping up on our tomato plants.  And I have vowed to protect them by any means necessary.

Maybe next week I’ll buy another 500 ladybugs, just to be safe.

xoxo

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