It’s hard to believe that we are already into week 10 of our gardening session. We consider this year to be our official year of gardening so our perspective on pest management is very, very limited, but you do have to start somewhere. To date we have harvested squash ranging from 6-10″, monstrous zucchini 10-24″, lettuce and potatoes and green onions. One thing we’ve learned is “if you grow it they (the pests) will come”. Our seedlings were and are effected mostly by army worms, green worms, leaf leg bugs. Once the plants got to a mature size we left it to the eco system.
In the first couple of weeks we were invaded by army worms, they took out three of our container tubs. Decimating our carrots, tomatoes, onions and lettuce. I was going to start my gardening as eco/organic friendly as possiable, but hell this was our garden; for me and my family. So we decided to look into some pest management herbicides; Sevin dust came out on top for easy use and the broad spectrum it covered. We dusted all of our plants, saving most of the crops though three tubs didn’t make it – may those vegetables rest in peace…. Note: The product we used uses Carbaryl and as with most things there are varing views on the use of it. “It ought to be mentioned that Sevin is perhaps a little too effective in that it kills honeybees, earthworms, and other useful insects as well as those considered undesirable. For this reason, in the vegetable garden it may be beneficial to get by with less effective insecticides if possible, such as pyrethrum or rotenone. If you choose to use Sevin, do so sparingly and perhaps away from flowers-for instance, squash blooms. After harvesting, be sure to wash the vegetables well. Sevin does not penetrate food items; neither does it build up in the environment.” – What is Sevin
For the next month we didn’t have any more problems with worms. The squirrels on the other hand became really interested in our sunflowers. We tried to reason with them, giving them a squirrel feeder with corn and seeds to dine on. Give a mouse a cookie, they wanted more – raiding our bird feeders and garden. They actually pulled a “Godfather” on us, beheading three of the sunflowers and leaving them uneaten on our patio to see. That was the finally straw, I looked up our local city ordinance and state laws. In Brazos County Texas squirrel is always in season, lets just say that we’ve been Goggling squirrel recipes. My wife went with a more civil approach, she read online that you can sprinkle cayenne pepper on the heads of the sunflower and it will deter the squirrels from touching them. Now the application of this was quite comical, as she was dusting the flowers it blew back into her face. She was dancing around the yard as if she was trying to summon the rain – granted she probably was. Settling for the water hose (keep one handy if you try this) she was able to flush the pepper from her face with no real harm done. We did notice that the honey bees stopped coming to the flowers once the pepper was used; I don’t think we will do this next year. After the application debacle we wrapped the heads in loose chicken wire which is working really well.
In the first 7 weeks we’ve managed to fend of the army worms, squirrels and other minor pests. Now we come to the leaf leg bugs that have been covering our corn for the past couple of weeks. At first I didn’t think anything of them – actually I thought they were stink bugs at first. But come to find out we’ve been hosting a colony of them for weeks. We tried everything Sevien dust didn’t work, sweeping them into a bowel of bleach didn’t work, setting them on fire not a really good option. Our local coop offered a solution that we tried this past weekend called “Cyonara insect control”. We’ll see if that works….
Our new batch of lettuce has been doing great for the past three weeks. The leafs are about an inch to two high, still way to small for picking. Well not for the latest invasion of green worms, they destroyed another tub and I don’t think its going to make it. The little buggers got into our green onions, cut a hole through the side and were eating to their hearts content in the safety of the shaft.