Master Gardener: Good wasps exist and can help your garden | Garden & Landscape

When the eggs hatch, they begin to feed on the tomato hornworm internally. Once mature, the larvae chew their way out of the hornworm, spin a small cocoon and pupate. When the adult wasps emerge from their cocoons, the hornworm dies.

So if you see a tomato hornworm covered in small white cocoons, just leave it because it is hosting a new batch of parasitoids that can help rid your future garden of hornworms in about the most nature-friendly way we have. And I think most gardeners would call that a good thing.

Paper wasps are ones that most of us are probably familiar with, as they build those paper-like umbrella-shaped nests you have probably seen under the eaves of your homes or any number of other places. While they can sting if disturbed, they are mainly out there looking for food for themselves and their young. These wasps can be yellow, black, brown and red, depending on the species, and are usually ¾ to 1 inch in length. Their nests are constructed of chewed up wood and plants mixed with saliva.

New wasp colonies begin in the spring when a female leaves her hibernation site to build a nest. Most nests begin with a solitary female, but others join her to help build the nest and care for their young. The colony usually reaches its maximum size in late summer or early fall with 20 to 75 adults with nests that can vary from 3 inches to 10 inches in diameter. In the fall, the wasps seek mating partners. The males die off, and the females begin looking for a site to overwinter. The cycle begins again in the spring.

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Aurora Gardener Founds Rebel Marketplace Farmers’ Market

James Grevious had never planted a garden before, let alone run a farmers’ market. But this 38-year-old father of three is successfully doing both and plans to keep the momentum of good, clean food going in his Aurora neighborhood.

“As far as Aurora goes, people actively need access to healthy food,” he says. “I spoke to Mo Betta’ Green [Marketplace], and I wanted to bring something like that to Aurora and follow in her footsteps.”

So Grevious founded his own business, Rebel Marketplace, a monthly, seasonal farmers’ and local wellness market that opened this past spring in Aurora’s Del Mar Park at 312 Del Mar Circle.  Under the slogan “Feeding our community, one garden at a time,” this small market started with a lot of gumption on Grevious’s part after his several years running his own urban farm project, Rebels in the Garden. But between COVID-19 and an initial permit denial from city officials, the public market almost didn’t happen. 

Rebels in the Garden urban farm in Aurora.EXPAND

Rebels in the Garden urban farm in Aurora.

Linnea Covington

“You can’t tell James no,” says Desiree Fajardo, Grevious’s girlfriend and a fellow gardener. “I think they are going to say no and if you just except that no, you won’t get anywhere,” she say about the city agencies in charge of licensing and permitting.

As she predicted, Grevious did not take no for an answer and asked for a meeting with the city to discuss the issues they had with starting an outdoor market at the park. He found out that there weren’t any restrictions he couldn’t overcome, and they were all able to work together to set up a plan. Then the pandemic hit and the rules became trickier to navigate, but still Grevious pushed on.

“If we didn’t have COVID I think it would have taken off, but then I wouldn’t have all of this without COVID and staying home,” says Grevious, gesturing to his vast garden. “Also, the market drew people who might not have come out if it wasn’t for the pandemic.”

Grevious can plant long rows of vegetables in his spacious back yard.EXPAND

Grevious can plant long rows of vegetables in his spacious back yard.

Linnea Covington

The seeds for Rebel Marketplace were planted in Grevious’s own back yard with Rebels in the Garden, a project he launched to engage his kids, nephew and a family friend in 2015. The idea, he says, was to do something meaningful in response to the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. At first it was mostly just good reason to hang out, grow food and have healthy snacks together at his home in Montbello. But the gardening and socializing went well enough that Grevious decided to continue his urban farm the next year. Unfortunately the timing was off and the the Air Force master sergeant and F-16 mechanic got deployed to Japan. So, the garden had to be put on hold.

In 2017 he moved to his current location in Aurora’s Highland Park neighborhood. His large back yard was perfect for the new farm, and by

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The Expandable Garden Hose: Veteran Gardener Secret Weapon

So you've been trying to find a decent garden hose for a while now. You see others sprinkling their lawn or washing the car with a cool multi-setting spray gun on the end. And it seems like everyone makes it look so easy. But for some reason, success keeps eluding you. Every time you get close to finding the perfect one something happens and you end up back where you started – lugging that heavy old piece of muddy rubber.

Not this time.

Because this time you're going to be armed with the same tips, tricks and secrets that the gardening veterans keep to themselves.

Gardeners need to look beyond the appearance of the growing media surface to assess the need for water. Feel the weight of the pot and push your finger in below the surface of the media, both will give you a better idea of ​​the existing water content and whether the plant needs additional water.

So give these tips a try and see if they don't work for you too …

Tip 1: Never let kids or animals drink from a garden hose.

WARNING – THE GARDEN HOSE IS NOT INTENDED FOR DRINKING WATER! Do NOT drink from it! It is a tool that is used and stored outdoors and it should not be exposed to conditions that may be harmful to humans such as: Mold & bacteria, Lawn and Garden chemicals, Animal waste, Insects, Stagnant water & other harmful substances.

Tip 2: Avoid watering at noon when it's hot and sunny. That's the worst time you could have chosen. This is like pouring Scotch on weeds to kill them. What a disheartening waste! Watering when it's hot means that most of the water will evaporate before it ever reaches the roots. The best time to water is very early in the morning when it's cool.

Tip 3: Be sure to use an expanding garden hose that's made from double latex and grows to suit your needs. Rather than haul a heavy rubber hose over your flower beds, nowadays you get soft and lightweight expanding hoses that lengthen to reach the furthest parts of the garden when you turn the water on, then shrink again when you turn the tap off.

In sum: Getting the most out of your garden hose is actually fairly simple when you apply the above three tips.

So get to it – you and your garden are going to be glad you did!

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