PRAYING MANTIS EGG CASES
MAKES A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT – BUY NOW
Today is Small Business Saturday – probably the greatest day in America for small businesses like Harvesting History. We hope you will spend today visiting your local small businesses, supporting them with your purchases and doing the same for small businesses like Harvesting History who may only have products available online. Today’s newsletter will introduce you to some of the gifts for gardeners that we would really love to have ourselves and that are now available in our BRAND NEW website sections – Gardening Tools & Equipment, Beneficial Bugs and Gift Certificates. We will feature one product that we believe is the best children’s gift you could ever give and two of our favorite gardening tools for adults.
This Christmas-Hannukah season we are introducing a product we have wanted to offer for years. It is a gift certificate, priced at $17.50, that allows the recipient to receive, sometime this spring, two praying mantis egg cases. Each egg case contains approximately 200 eggs which will hatch in about 30 days. Eventually, out of 200 eggs, 2-3 mantises will reach adulthood. This is an excellent gift for young children, ages 5-12, but it is an extraordinary gift for teenagers, especially teenage boys. If you are tired of giving your teenagers video games and clothes, try this gift certificate. As they follow the process of hatching these remarkable creatures, you will see in their eyes and the expressions on their faces, the wonder that was so very enchanting when they were younger. These gift certificates also make excellent presents for adults. We will begin shipping the egg cases in late January to Hardiness Zones 8-10,in late February to Hardiness Zones 6-7 and in late March to Hardiness Zone 5. In May, we will ship to Hardiness Zones 1-4. I cannot emphasize enough what a wonderful present these praying mantis egg cases are. They are an opportunity to witness the creation of life and to participate in Mother Nature’s grand plan. They are a learning and a sharing opportunity that is without equal as you will read about below.
Of all the insects, you could want to take up residence in your garden, by far the most fascinating is the Praying Mantis. This sublimely elegant creature with its eerie triangular face and forearms folded in prayer is a garden icon. If your garden is fortunate enough to have naturally resident praying mantises, then you already know how extraordinary it is to enjoy the companionship of a praying mantis for the season. If you do not have praying mantises in your garden, in this newsletter we are going to show you how to bring these magnificent creatures to your doorstep. Praying Mantises are incredibly skilled, aggressive hunters. They eat many different kinds and sizes of insects depending on the mantis’ size and stage of development. Their mode of hunting is usually to ambush their prey, but they have been known to chase especially desirable prey for short distances. Their eyes have a visual range of 50 feet, and they are primarily diurnal, but they have been known to fly at night. This is especially true of males who will fly at night during mating season.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REPORT HERE THAT PRAYING MANTISES EAT STINKBUGS. IN FACT, THEY ARE AGGRESSIVE PREDATORS OF THIS PEST!
If you have not raised praying mantises, you should. This should be high upon your “bucket list”. If you have children, I am going to suggest that it is an absolute MUST. If you purchase egg cases during the winter or very early spring from other than Harvesting History, you can store them in the refrigerator (NOT THE FREEZER) for 30-45 days. Harvesting History will ship you the egg cases you order from us through Praying Mantis Gift Certificates when it is time to place them outside. When the outside temperature has warmed enough for other insects to begin to appear, it is time to place your egg cases outside.Put each egg case in a mesh bag (like the bags lemons are sold in) and tie the bags to the interior branch of a tree or shrub. You want to give the egg case as much protection as possible from birds, animals and other predatory insects. Remember, it will take 30 days for the eggs to hatch, but when they do hatch, the nymphs will need small bugs to eat immediately.
One of the most enchanting summers I ever spent in my beloved Roland Park, Maryland home was the summer of 2002. During that summer, a huge praying mantis (I think it was a female) took up residence on the lampshade of a piece of our porch furniture. Each evening, I would read a book, watch the sun set gently behind the trees on my neighbor’s property and cast clandestine glances at my praying mantis. She, in turn, spent each entire evening ceaselessly staring back at me. She was there every single night until one evening in early autumn when she disappeared, never to return again. Our friendship had finished for her, and the responsibilities that Nature had delegated to her had to be fulfilled away from that lampshade.
These elegant creatures make wonderful gardening companions and though they can be hard on butterflies and hummingbirds, their useful purposes far outweigh the minor damage they may do. This Christmas-Hannukah season give the gift of praying mantises and may the summer bring you the companionship of this delightful, beneficial bug!
There are two phrases that I have now heard literally hundreds of times with regard to the homi: “This is the best tool that I have ever owned,” and “If I could have only one tool, it would be this one”. Of all the tools that Harvesting History sells or has sold, the homi is, by far, the most popular, the most beloved and the most universally sought after. The Homi is an ancient Asian tool that was believed to have originated in Korea. Women, working on small family farms, carried only a homi to accomplish their day’s work in the fields. Over time, the homi was gently crafted and re-crafted until it was as perfect as a tool could ever be. The device combines a very sharp point for digging, cutting and trenching with a precisely angled, triangular face used for weeding and an exact balance between the handle and the blade. The balance eases the tension on the muscles of the forearm so the user can work for hours longer without experiencing muscle fatigue. A single homi replaces the trowel, the dibber, the hand hoe and the hand rake combined. It has one drawback. Most homis available for purchase in the US today are designed for right-handed people. In the hands of a left-handed person, a right handed homi is not comfortable. If you are left-handed, ask if the store where you are purchasing your homi sells a left-handed version. If the answer is “no” or, worse, “There is no difference”, don’t purchase the tool they offer. Better yet, purchase your homi from Harvesting History, but only if you are right-handed.
In mid-summer, when most of us are sick of weeding, the homi makes quick work of garden weeds. It cuts to pieces nagging roots and allows you to gently remove some mighty big rocks. Later in the fall, you will find that it is an exceptional tool for planting bulbs. You will also find that it breaks up soil nicely and it allows you to work compost into the soil easily without disturbing the other plants. This piece of Korea’s heritage has made its way into many of the world’s cultures. It just proves the point that appreciation for perfection in design, utility and versatility can be ubiquitous and knows no cultural barriers.
The Hori-Hori is another ancient Asian tool first used in Japan. It is often called a Mountain Vegetable Knife because it was primarily used for digging wild vegetables that were indigenous to the mountainsides, but were not domestically cultivated. A true Hori-Hori has a very sharp blade about 7 inches long. The blade has one serrated edge and one straight edge and comes to a point. Many Hori-Horis have a concave shaped blade to make it easier to slide down the side of a root vegetable.