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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to open this topic up for discussion.

First I'd like to say I don't mind some bugs, and I don't mind some holes on my greens etc. It's when the insect population jeapordizes the plant itself or the harvest that I take action.

All spring I don't do any sort of pest control whatsoever - once the weather begins to get warm though - - it gets scary.

Currently I pick off insects by hand and use a spray infusion of red pepper, dish detergent, and water. That's it.

I would like very much to know what others are doing - and if they have any home recipes or personal formulas that have worked for them.

Thank you!!
 

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I agree with the "few bugs are no problem" philosophy.

Last year I had some whiteflies, and at the end of the season I lost a few bok choi because of a terrible aphid infestation. I also had some cabbage worms, but those I could control easily by hand picking.

Currently I have a few aphids on my lettuce. It was worse, because as I was wiping them off the plants, the ants kept bringing new ones. A few days ago I used some "Tanglefoot" (real sticky stuff) to cut off any paths to the plants and so I have no ants anymore on them and the aphid population seems stunted. I still inspect the plants, and crush any aphids I see. Which is hard because they are real good at camouflaging.

Later in summer, I'm sure the whiteflies will strike again. I've read that some people had success by spraying worm tea (worm castings soaked in water for a few days). This stuff is said to do wonders against any bugs, and is also said to be a great foliar food. I don't know if there's any truth to that, but I will try it if I have a problem. I have a bag of worm poo laying around somewhere.

I'm also a big believer in natural enemies. Aphids are the favorite food of ladybugs, and although it's still early for them to appear, I've already seen a few
I've read about somebody who had a praying mantis in his hydroponic greenhouse. The thing ate just about any bug in the whole greenhouse. I think you can buy praying mantisses, and it would be cool to try, but how would I make sure it stays on my plants? Hmmm... But I have a few spiders living in my lettuce. I hope they eat aphids.

I'd never use pesticides. I'd rather lose the crop than use pesticides. I'd never eat produce with pesticides on it if I had the choice.

That's all I can say right now
 

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I'm kind of relying on the principle that bugs leisten when i tell them to rack off out of my garden...
 

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I don't mind a some hole-space in my collards, but when the leaves start to be more hole than leaf -- that's too much hole. Yes, they will eat a whole leaf.

In some plants, just a few nips by one insect will spread diseases that kill off the plant.

Picking off the tiny caterpillars doesn't seem to work. Nor does trying to wash off the eggs. Within a few hours, the European cabbage worm moths will lay more eggs. BT did not prevent the eggs from hatching and the baby catterpillars from eating, and growing. So I had to use toxic pesticides if I wanted to have any collards to eat.

Dish detergent did not deter aphids on my peas, as was claimed. Nor did red pepper.
 

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I've never had any problems with any insects eating my lettuce -- just slugs. The solution was to grow lettuce far away from my compost piles. Slugs are known to lay eggs on fall tree-leaves, and my compost pile had lots and lots of those. I never needed any toxic pesticides for lettuce.
 

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I have had no luck with the dish soap and water or red pepper sprays either.. on my house plants or in the garden. So here's my suggestion for you all with smaller gardens like me: go to a fabric store and get a few yards of umm.. damn.. what's it called? That stuff that's like the underside of a poofy dress.. I'm thinking of a mosquito net like you would hang over your over bed if you lived in Africa.. anyways get some of that and then strategically place some garden stakes to make a sort of tent over them.

Make sure you have gotten as many bugs off your plants before you tack the fabric down of course.. but this way your garden still gets air and sunlight but the bugs will have a much harder time of getting in.

I have a small patio garden for only a few herbs and veggies, so I don't mind the look of this 'tent'.. but if you have a whole section of your yard staked out and decorated Martha Stuart style, then this may not be for you. I have had a few bugs still able to get in, but the fabric has helped a lot and also keeps out wind-blown leaves and other debris that can yucky up the soil.

Let me know if any of you try this idea!

Courtney
 

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DirtDiva you idea requires an immense amount of labor, and cost. labor not only to place the stakes, and attach the fabric, but also to remove the fabric every time you want to cultivate around the plants with a weeder, or add more mulch to replace decomposing mulch, or hill up around plants to prevent them from blowing over, or change drip-irrigation patterns, or whatever, and then put it back again.

I'm trying to imagine the length of the stakes i'll need to drape fabric over them, to protect my full-length sweet-corn plants.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gnarly

I'm kind of relying on the principle that bugs leisten when i tell them to rack off out of my garden...
And me. I have bugs that are eaten by other bugs and the chickens eat them all if the blackbird doesn't get there first.

I have something fly on my Jacobs Ladders, each year the caterpillar things eat them to a skeleton. But the flowers are over by then so I gave up fighting it. The plant returns each year along with the bugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by DirtDiva

suggestion for you all with smaller gardens like me: go to a fabric store and get a few yards of umm.. damn.. what's it called? That stuff that's like the underside of a poofy dress.. I'm thinking of a mosquito net like you would hang over your over bed if you lived in Africa.. anyways get some of that and then strategically place some garden stakes to make a sort of tent over them.

I believe the fabric is called Tulle.

Sounds like something to try for a small patio/balcony garden!

Hey, you could add miniature white twinkle lights - and it would be a decorative (not to mention romantic) accent! - double duty pest control
 

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It works for me.. and I think an immense amount of labor is what having a garden is all about.


I don't give my plants mulch or fertilizers .. and I don't have a problem with weeds, but I do see your point for if your garden is hugemungous.
 

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Try companion planting as well... plants like nasturtiums are fabulous. The orange ones exude a mustard oil that insects love and prefer over other useful plants. They apparently repel aphids, too, so try letting it wander at will.

Marigolds (the tagetes variety) are unattractive to many insects. It's not an immediate protection though, it excretes a chemical into the soil which repels a lot of soil insects.. but it is produced slowly. Once there it is there though.

There are others that work too...

With aphids, I used to just use a hard hose and wash them mostly off, then wipe the rest off. Then make sure the ants didn't want to bring them back... caterpillars I would pick off, grasshoppers are my biggest problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have a problem with ants.

They love my garden, and I can't bring myself to do anything to kick them out (since - really.....it's more their home than my veggies)

I just wish I could encourage them to move to another area away from my main garden.
 

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I've had problems with slugs in the past. I figured out how to handle them without chemicals.

I had to use Diazinon added to the soil, to kill ants, because they were eating about 90 percent of some of the tiny seeds I had planted, and I just didn't have enough of the expensive seeds to use compensate by greatly overseeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gosh I hate to do kill anything. Maybe I'll hang on a little longer.

So far I think I may have helped the situation by moving some "homes" (though I'm sure this was awful for the ants - and probably caused them considerable chaos).

I hate it that I'm so soft hearted. This kind of thing really gets to me. I keep a mesh cage thing with me in the garden. I put bugs I happen to pull off plants in there - then I take them down and put them on the golf course (I'm psycho....I know).
 

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That's not psycho dvmarie, that's just sweet!
People tease me at work 'cause I'll go unlock the door at 3am (Iwork nights) to let out a spider.
 

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No dvmarie not psycho- okay maybe a little but I only say that because I am the same way. I dont like to kill anything either- I think the worst in the garden is digging through a worm. Glad to see so many of them( they say its an indication of healthy soil) but I hate cutting through them
 

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My compost piles are normally teeming with earthworms. Simply turning the pile must dessicate and kill them. As must moving compost from the pile to a cart to a 2-inch layer on top of the soil. They probably dry and die when I do that.

Earthworms are one of the few non-vertebrates that I like to touch and play games with. I like them. I don't feel the same about slugs, insects, or arachnids, except for ladybugs.

But there just doesn't seem to be any way to avoid killing some of them. Not that there overall numbers are affected. They appear to rapidly produce more earthworms to replace the ones that are killed.

http://www.btinternet.com/~bury_rd/s...#contributions
 

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Soilman, I'm having a bit of a problem with slugs myself. I'm new to this gardening thing too, care to share your non-chemical solution?

I live on the second floor for crissake! But every time it rains they are all over the plants. i'm trying to figure out if they drop off trees or come in from overhead. I may have to do recon or an aireal assault on the dang things. The cucumber leaves of one plant are skelatal at this point.

B
 

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bethanie, I just keep the plants that are subject to getting slugs well away from my compost piles, and away from any piles of leaves, and keep a nice circle of plain soil around them, as well. and I avoid overwatering the. I try to water in the morn so that the soil surface will be dry by nightfall. Slugs prefer wet surfaces for crawling over. Also keep slug-susceptible plants away from tall grass, and frequently cut down any grass near them, and leave a good few feet of dry soil between the grass and the plants.

Don't mulch slug susceptible plants, especially not with fall tree-leaves. Keep stray tree-leaves away from the plants.

These technques seemed to help a lot. keep lettuce far away from my compost piles.
 
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