Sunday, July 8, 2012

Praying Mantises and Job’s Tears: Two of the best things in life

This morning I was admiring our huge pot of Job’s Tears and found a praying mantis hanging out.  I’m always happy to see a praying mantis, but especially in our garden.  We had a massive invasion of pests at the beginning of the season and lost many seedlings and early crops, so we can use all the help we can get!  And it’s always good to identify which plants praying mantises like, since they do wonders for the garden.  My step-mom’s sweet pea plants would attract lots of the little guys!  They seem drawn to plants with long spindly pieces that help them blend in and hunt.
If you haven’t heard of Job’s Tears, or Coixseed, you’re in for a surprise.  This is one of the coolest plants out there and it grows like weeds!  It’s a tropical grass (but grows great in Ohio!) producing multiple seeds with a natural hole and hard shell, making them perfect for beads.   A lot people use them in rosaries and jewelry.  While looking around on Etsy I discovered that there are other varieties. 

The ones we grow look like these that AuthenticSeeds sells....

But it turns out there is also a brownish variety grown in Hawaii and sold by hilobeads ....

 And a long, thin variety grown by HonnVillage in Thailand….

I definitely want to buy some of these other types and see if we can grow them out here in the MidWest.  And if you’re interested in just trying some seeds I know Fedco and Baker Creek sell seeds too.  I can’t wait to have a farm one day and have an enormous patch of Job’s!  They feel amazing against your skin too, all cold and silky.  Some friends and I joke about making whole outfits out of them, might have to start a little smaller though, like a bikini or maybe a short skirt.

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