June Garden; dealing with Cabbageworms and Flea Beetles in your organic vegetable garden.
When you have a blog that talks about gardening, you have a ton to write about in the spring, summer and fall, but sadly you don’t have a whole lot of time to write it. You are so busy keeping up with the weeding, cutting, planting, (did I say weeding), and harvesting, that you usually use up any free time you have out in the garden.
On top of the garden chores it has been a busy couple of weeks; I traveled with my family to watch my oldest row in California and the next weekend my youngest graduated from High School. A lot of accomplished for two wonderful and well deserving people. I am very proud of both!
Of course the garden could care less that I am busy and the weeds decided it was a perfect time to make a last dash effort to overtake the garden. Along with the weeds, the bugs have shown their ugly faces. The environment is perfect for them right now, warm with consistent rain, a bug’s tropical refuge. Find out more about companion planting for pests here.
I know I am not the only one with buggy problems. My friend shot me an email yesterday asking what the green worms were devouring the leaves on her kale, cauliflower and broccoli. Sadly I knew first hand what had started mining her leaves. The cabbageworms, cabbage loopers and diamondback moths are small green caterpillars that do a lot of damage on the leaves of cabbage family. Once you get them, they are a pain to get rid of. A sure sign you have them is the sight of the beautiful little white moths exuberantly flying around your garden flowers. Once you see them you know you will have or already have worms. I recommend picking off as many as you can by hand, and feeding them to your chickens. If you do not have a chicken on hand, make sure you throw these buggers in the trash. It is also recommended to use organic Spinosad insect spray, I choose not to use this it even though it is considered organic it is also a toxin and my garden is small enough for me to pick off by hand. You must then cover your plants with a light fabric to prevent re-infestation. You can find row cover fabric at hardware, plant stores and Amazon. If you compost, do **not** throw any infested plants in your compost pile, throw them away.
Another pest you may be dealing with is the flea beetle. I get them every year and this year once again they are enjoying my eggplant leaves. Though they don’t touch the vegetable, the strain that they put on the plant by eating small holes all over their leaves, causes the plant or stop growing or die. These guys are so small you can not pick them off, but you can spray your plants with an insecticidal soap, which is soap water and oil mix, you can find in hardware, plant stores and Amazon. You must also cover plants with fabric to keep the flea beetle off the plant.
Otherwise the garden is healthy and thriving, The lambs ear is in full bloom (find out more about growing here) and I am patiently awaiting the Daylilies and to start their daily display along with the phlox and Coneflowers, two of my favorite summer perennials.
The chickens are on lock down as I have a red tail hawk stalking them, it captured a full grown bunny yesterday. It is against the law to shoot birds of prey in the state of Ohio, so sadly I think the gals will only have supervised hours free ranging until I feel they are safe again. I captured the killer redhanded leaving my pond where he/she had feasted on several of my fish. As I am sure you have figured out I am not a big fan of the red tail hawk.