Our Solar High Tunnel has approximately 50 new tenants who made their debut to this world Sunday (under the watchful guardianship of Tony’s son), and were released into the “wild” of our Eden Hall High Tunnel yesterday.
Praying Mantises are utilized as a means of organic pest management. They dine both day and night on many tasty insects. When young, the Mantises eat soft bodied insects like aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitos, and caterpillars, and graduate to larger grasshoppers, crickets and beetles as they age. They are beneficial to the greenhouse as their prey often find prey in our tasty crops.
Our team of baby Mantises was released directly onto our growing Red Sail lettuce, Kale, Swiss Chard, Tatsoi and Spinach.
We hope to observe as they grow and thrive in this environment, though it will be somewhat of an experiment to see how many stay, and how many travel elsewhere once the temperatures rise and the High Tunnel walls start to open and close.
How did Praying Mantises get their name?
(According to Rodale’s Organic Life):
“When lying in ambush for prey, all mantises strike the same ‘prayerful’ posture of folded front legs held tight to the body. They use their back and middle legs to grasp a twig or stem. When an insect comes into reach, the mantis strikes out, impales, and holds the prey with its spiny, or toothed, front legs. The strike occurs in the blink of an eye. A Carolina mantis can actually strike twice before a housefly can open its wings to attempt an escape.”
After their ceremonial send-off by R. Kelly, we moved along in the Solar High Tunnel to seed some Claytonia micro greens and a few experimental pepper seeds.