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Using alfalfa as a cover crop between garden plants has resulted not only in improved soil but also in hosting a variety of beneficial critters to control pests.

I love the insects1 in my garden! Each day I am excited to see the growth of the garden and who is playing in it. Last year I experimented with using alfalfa as a cover crop between my plants. Not only did this eliminate space for weeds, improve the soil, provide a wind brake, host a little shade from the Texas sun, but it provided cover for beneficial insects. I am impressed with the results, and continue to use it.

Some of the alfalfa made it through the winter, and some I replanted in early spring. Organic practices, such as abstaining from the use of chemical insecticides, is not always easy. Last year I had an infestation of the dreaded blister beetles and rather than spraying the garden with chemicals, I manually picked out what seemed like billions of these stinkers. If you have ever been hit with blister beetles you know how they can be a test of patience and resolve.

This spring I was really excited when I found a handsome crew of beneficial insects in my garden. The neighbors might have been surprised to see me with a big smile, yelling YES, bugs in the garden!” then doing a little victory dance. Maybe these critters overwintered 2, or maybe they just found the garden, whatever the case, I am grateful for their presence.

Here are some of the stars.

  • A Lady Beetle (Coccinellidae) larva. Fast moving and hard working.

Lady Beetle (Coccinellidae) larva

  • A Lady Beetle (Coccinellidae) pupa. Sessile (immobile) but still working hard, in this case working on becoming an adult.

Lady Beetle (Coccinellidae) pupa

  • An adult Lady Beetle (Coccinellidae).

Lady Beetle (Coccinellidae) adult

  • A spider taking care of a caterpillar pest. There is also another visible lady beetle larva.

Spider finds a meal

  • Here is what looks like a Robber Fly eating a Leafhopper.

A robber fly eating a leafhopper

  • These guys are ambitious. I was cutting the grass when this rather large spider came out to see if I was fit for a meal.

A large and ambitious spider

  • The invertebrates are not alone, I have other helpers too.

A toad at the buffet

I am so happy to have my Beneficial Bug Brigade. I hope they continue to enjoy their stay. :-)

What beneficials do you have?

  1. Arachnids too. 
  2. Coccinellidae adults can do this, and these specimens sure made an early appearance… 
 
 
 

Texas wants its gold back. I say help or get out of the way. Texas is not unique in this interest. Germany and others have recently expressed similar intentions to repatriate their gold2. What makes the Texas bill, HB3505 unique3 is a Texas depository is also proposed that both institutions and later the private investors may use to keep physical gold safe in Texas. It is nice to see a State interested in protecting the property of its people and institutions with equal vigor.

I can think of no place better equipped to protect its property than Texas. If I worked for a Texas institution I would feel comfortable knowing that some of my pension was being kept, or could be kept, in gold, thus protected from the kind of currency risks4 built-in to other investments. It would also be comforting to know that those metals were being protected by Texas, in Texas, not some obscure and distant entity like the Federal Reserve in New York.

This is simply another example of the wisdom and leadership shown by the State in matters of business, finance and property rights. It is no surprise that so many people and businesses move to Texas every year.

If this passes and the depository is opened to personal investors, it will be interesting to see how this will change gold investment and storage across the nation, and perhaps the world.

Please checkout the following. They do a great job of explaining the bill and what it means to you.

Please keep in mind that the U.S. currency strength, as defined by the inflation rate, may not be what it seems. See the Growing Liberty article What can you do if you are being lied to about inflation?.

  1. stock.xchng - Coins (stock photo by iprole) Available at: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1222895 
  2. Germany Repatriating Gold From NY, Paris “In Case Of A Currency Crisis” - Forbes Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2013/01/16/germany-repatriating-gold-from-ny-paris-in-case-of-a-currency-crisis/ [Accessed April 4, 2013]. 
  3. I am not a lawyer or a financial adviser; this article is opinion not professional advice. 
  4. The price of gold, in a particular currency, may change over time, but the intrinsic value seems to stay fairly constant. 
  5. stock.xchng - Lone Star (stock photo by KFleming) Available at: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=301087