DonV
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Location: North Royalton OH zone 6

Screw organic

This has been the biggest waste of my time and my garden. I have a "small" garden. I hand pick and kill cucumber beetles, slugs, Japanese beetles and cagger lopers/worms or whatever they are called. Several times a day 6 days a week.

I have used sluggo, and I have a LOT of toads (huge ones). I have hand killed over 1,500 slugs (these are ones I hand picked and killed, not counting accidentally steps on, sluggo, toads etc.

I go over my cabbage/broc/cauliflower and brussel sprouts AT LEAST 4-5 times a day 6 days a week and 1-2 times the 7th day. I have used safer 3 in 1, tomato and veggies killer and one other one this past week.

I dusted with bituminous earth all over. I have hand killed over 1000 Japanese beetles.

I have sprayed safer INTO open yellow flowers only to find 2 cucumber beetles mating in there the next day. Several times.

My coal crops looks like a bombed out city in WW2. There are cucumber beetles everywhere (not as bad as peak but aat peak I had to use 7 dust, there were so many they ate leaves faster then the could blossom and I would have had nothing - NOTHING.

Japanese beetles are down but still everywhere. I can walk around a find cabbage loppers at will, several per plant and 2 hours later just as many. I carefully examine every leaf several times a day and even find tiny babies. There are more now then every before.

My cucs drop daily from wilt from cucumber beetles (never had wilt before). I will get no cucs despite 10 different plants spread out 10-20 feet apart in different sections.

Despite me spending literally 3-4 hours a day maintaining my garden, 6 days a week, it is by far the worst garden I have evern had (I used to maintain it maybe 1 hours every other day). What the heck??????????

On top of it I have about 150 feet of vines (pumkins, windter squash and melons) and exactyly ONE fruit! New ones form and die. Tons of bees, no rain in a week. See polination problem.

I am BEYOND frustrated. I want to stay organic and I used to love working in my garden but walking around wasting my time, watching my prize crops fail miserably with no organic solution in site is really getting to me. Seeing all the bugs I worked ten times as hard to kill as ever before in there greatest numbers and cucs literally wilting and dieing in hours is no longer fun.

My safe haven, happy place has become a scene of frustration and endless work for little gain.

What to do? Why I am wasting so much time in such a small garden and getting no where and I visit friend with tiny gardens and NO signs of any issues I have??????????? I live by woods on two sides?

I rotated crops and read all I could on all issues above several times. With the exception of 7 dust one time (which DID immediately cut out 90% or more of my cuc beetles) I am still organic.

Sorry to vent and thanks for listening,

very frustrated in Ohio

DonV

DonV
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Re: Screw organic

btw my title was meant to provoke in an effort to get more interest. While I am not 100% organic I strive to be like crazy and still will if I can.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Screw organic

Your garden looks really pretty. Sorry, it is being so frustrating for you. I certainly understand being really disheartened, discouraged, resentful, etc. under the circumstances.

Something is really out of whack, some kind of bad imbalance. I am 100% organic, and I have NEVER seen anything even close to what you describe. Yeah my cabbage leaves get some holes in them from slugs, but they don't get decimated. I have a few cabbage worms. Haven't even seen a Japanese beetle this season....

I saw your other post about no squash fruit. It sounds like probably you are getting blossom end rot. It is a sign of stress. As I said in that post: Uneven watering with lots of wet / dry cycles can result in BER. Also if your soil pH is too high or too low, it can interfere with calcium uptake. Too much high nitrogen fertilizer can cause an imbalance of growth between the roots and the leaves. If the leaves grow too fast, the plant does not have enough roots to take up calcium the squash fruit will need.

All the rain probably isn't helping any of the issues. But it seems like there may be some underlying issue. A while back we had someone who kept writing in about various different problems in her garden and getting frustrated because there were so many problems. It turned out that her soil AND the water she was watering with were both highly acid. The very acid environment was causing lots of different kinds of stress. And when plants are stressed, they are more vulnerable to whatever insect or disease is around. Plants have natural methods of fighting off insects and diseases when they are healthy.

Do you know what your soil pH is? If you haven't had your soil tested, at this point I would strongly encourage you to send some samples to be tested for pH, any nutrient deficiencies, etc.

I understand the temptation to think you could just get some powerful chemicals and take care of all this. Unfortunately that is likely to be a very short term solution that just leads to needing more and more chemicals. Things like the Sevin wipe out every insect in the garden, including the beneficials that would help keep things in check. The ones you don't want will come back a lot faster than the beneficials.

I have never used Sluggo, but lots of people swear by it, so I don't know why it isn't working for you. I usually use the diatomaceous earth against slugs. But it has to be reapplied after rain. Since I also have been having rain nearly every day, I gave up on that. Have you tried beer traps?

You mentioned Safer and cucumber beetles the next day. You mean the Safer insecticidal soap? 1) it only works when it is sprayed on the critter. Once it is dry, it has no residual effects. 2) insecticidal soap really only works against soft bodied things like aphids. It doesn't work against hard shelled beetles.

What works against beetles and other leaf eaters is Neem oil. Spray it on the leaves. When they eat the leaves, they take in the Neem. It is a hormone disrupter, anti-feedant. They stop eating and eventually die. It is not a poison and does not kill on contact, but they will start dying within a few days or a week, and in the meantime they have already stopped eating. It is organic. It will be harmful to honeybees if sprayed directly on them and possibly if sprayed on flower blossoms they visit. So try to only spray leaves, not blossoms and spray in the evening after the bees have gone home.

In August or September treat your lawn with milky spore powder. That kills the Japanese Beetle grubs in the soil. Doesn't mean you won't have any next year, because they are good fliers, but it should slow them down some. If you can convince some of your neighbors to treat their lawns with the milky spore, that will help too. One thing I have found very useful for the JB's is trap crops. They love grape vine, even the wild grape that grows as a weed, especially when it flowers. I just leave some of the wild grape grow and the JB's congregate on it. One year I did have an outbreak of them (not like yours, but there probably were some hundreds of them, counting all the ones I never saw). I was netting them off the wild grape vine and drowning them in soapy water. After I had drowned about 40 of them and was feeling like a horrible murderer, I decided if they are just sitting on the wild grape and not bothering anything else, why am I doing this and left them alone. I still didn't see any on my crops.

Do you have birds in your garden? Seems like you really need lots more birds. If you have a good population of a variety of birds, they will eat beetles, caterpillars, etc. Look in to bird feeders, bird baths etc.

Best wishes for bringing everything back in balance. Let us know what you find out from the soil test.
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imafan26
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Re: Screw organic

You garden is beautiful. I try to be as organic as possible, but I am not 100% organic. I do believe in fertilizer. I do limit pesticide use, even the organic ones as much as possible

What I don't see in your garden is the diversity needed to attract natural predators. You have grass which will actually host grubs and you have the vegetables planted in groups and rows. A lot of people like to plant in rows but I have an even smaller garden than yours so I have to be more practical about using every inch of space.

For example I plant tomatoes in pots outside of the vegetable bed because they take up too much space in the garden. Eggplant is in its own pot for the same reason a few feet away. It is also perennial and I don't like to mix perennials with annuals since they are hard to work around. I also have a few peppers and herbs planted in pots spaced fairly close together filling most of my space.

Corn is planted in blocks because they have to be but everything else are ones and twos and usually with another plant between them. I have zucchini next to cucumber, rakkyo and parsley. Strawberries, and spinach are o.k. together under the citrus tree along with swiss chard on the other side. Strawberries were not happy with kale. I sometimes will trade out one of the tomato pots for jicama, beans or peas. I have hardly any grass left in the back yard and the minimum in the front yard. I have planted flowering borders. Cuphea and alyssum bloom almost constantly and I allow the holy basil to bloom as well attracting bees and other beneficial insects to the yard. I seasonally plant nasturtiums and marigolds as well. I do have T. lucida but is only blooms for a short time. I have lavender multifida which attracts the carpenter bees. I don't have any toads, but I do have green house frogs now and a lot of skinks and geckos. The birds unfortunately like to eat my tomatoes, peppers and seeds, and they prefer that I kill the slugs for them. At the herb garden I have planted fennel in a corner of the garden and since it blooms most of the year, it is the main source of food for lady bug larva (aphid trap), pollen and nectar attracts the lady bugs, parasitic wasps, bees, tachinid flies, and hover flies. And fennel is edible too.

I do use a lot of slug bait for the snails and slugs. It is the price for having so many plants in pots and the area always being wet and weedy. But for the most part I don't have a big problem with pests. I haven't seen an aphid in years since I have a healthy lady bug population. There are still some white flies, but compared to last year, a lot less of them. This is the first time I am having a problem with cabbage worms and I have grown broccoli for 2 years without a single issue. I have some beetle damage to Mr. Lincoln but it is minor and I can spot treat it. I do put out ant bait and that controls a lot of the aphids and scale.

Most of my pest control is from parasitic wasps, cattle egrets which will swoop down and grab grubs and geckos, some of the birds may be eating insects, I just notice them going after my fruit. Geckos will eat roaches, mosquitoes, gnats, beetles and caterpillars. Purple lady bugs eat a lot of white flies and they love to hang around the corn.

To keep the beneficial insects coming. I have created habitat. I always have flowering plants to provide nectar and pollen to bees and beneficial insects. I do have some butterfly plants but not many since I don't want to attract caterpillars to my other plants. I plant a diverse number of plants. I avoid planting in rows, instead I will space my larger plants and inter plant with something else. Like spinach under the eggplant or peppers between Swiss chard. I don't want to lay out a buffet for the bugs, planting in rows does that. Breaking up the rows or inter planting wide row style gives me more production for the space and does not lead the bugs to decimate a whole row of anything. I do have beetle and fruit fly traps set on the other side of my yard since I don't want to attract them to the garden. The plants I have to spray are in an area where if I do have to spray they can at least be isolated.

I tolerate some bug damage, although I have to aggressively control slugs and ants. For the most part only resorting to chemicals when the plant would struggle if I did nothing. I do treat the hibiscus for erineum mites but I have switched to a short acting systemic and I disbud to protect the beneficial insects. Lights keeps the rose beetles of the roses although I still have to fungicide in humid wet weather. I cull the weak plants as they attract more bugs than strong healthy plants. My hibiscus is a white fly trap so instead of spraying it, I use a jet of water and if it is bad enough, I cut it back. By not spraying I have a healthier diverse complement of predators that do a better job than I can controlling pests.

It is best to find local natives to attract beneficial insects as some plants can be invasive. I have grown cuphea, but it is not a problem for me and it last for years. But in less hostile environments it can be a problem. I don't plant yarrow because it is really invasive.
http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4 ... nefici.htm

Some plants are dependent on adequate visits by pollinators to set fruit.
http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Screw organic

Don't know how much you are willing to read -- you are getting a whole course here.

But yes, what I meant by balance is basically that your yard is a functioning eco-system where predators and prey regulate each other and you don't have population explosions. Ladybugs and aphids are one little example. If you are using ladybugs (and other beneficial insects and other predators) to control aphids, you will never have zero aphids, because then the ladybugs would starve or leave. But you won't have crop destroying infestations of them.

So yes, imafan is right, ultimately to establish that balance, you have to have food and habitat for the beneficials, the things that keep your bad guys in check. So re the cabbage loopers: Trichogramma wasps are the looper larvae’s biggest enemy. These are tiny, stingless wasps, that are barely visible to the naked eye. Release trichogramma wasps to destroy eggs. You can buy trichogramma eggs commercially. But even if you do, the adults won't stay around unless the kind of nectar flowers they need are available (it is the trichogramma larvae that do the damage to the cabbage loopers). So to attract/ keep trichogrammas, braconid wasps (which parasitize tomato hornworms and other bad guy caterpillars) and a number of other beneficial insects, you need to have flowers that have nectar in tiny florets. This includes buckwheat, sweet alyssum, yarrow, all the carrot family stuff if left to flower (carrots, dill, parsley, etc), also mint, lemon balm, pennyroyal, marigold, tansy, zinnia, sedum, and herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, if allowed to flower.

You don't need to have all of these, but a good selection of them, that bloom at different times, helps make sure your Garden Patrol (as applestar says) is on the job, keeping things in check.

Getting your garden back in balance won't happen in a season, but it can happen and then you will once again have a garden that perpetuates itself with very little maintenance.

I have a bed in a community garden, that I only visit once or twice a month. I keep it well mulched, it has flowers (as above) in and around it, as well as onions and garlic mixed in to help repel bad guys, the soil is well enriched with compost, there are bird feeders all around and woods behind it. When I come, I pull any weeds that have made it through the mulch, renew the mulch, water, and harvest. It rarely has any noticeable insects or insect damage. Gardening doesn't need to be so much work!!
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rainbowgardener
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PS

Praying mantis is another very beneficial member of the Garden Control You can buy egg cases commercially. They are attracted to your garden by flowers in the rose and raspberry family, eg. wild strawberry, potentilla, geum, various berry bushes, various fruit trees like prune, cherry, chokecherry, etc. and by tall grass.
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applestar
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Re: Screw organic

It sounds like your garden is in transitional state. Don't lapse and fall back on "used Sevin just once" kind of quick solution because BAM! There goes your predators which are fewer in number than the pests.

Just today, I was looking at the holes in my cabbages that I am growing without protection this year, just to see what will happen (I may yet come back and report a complete and utter failure) and the Cabbage White butterflies that are flying everywhere in the garden -- watched one as it landed on a cabbage, stayed there long enough to lay eggs and then flit on and seriously thought about going back in the house for the butterfly net.

...then realized a yellow jacket wasp had landed on the same cabbage and was crawling in between the leaves at the base where it is very difficult to impossible for me to inspect, looking for the green caterpillars to take back to the hive to feed the babies (wasp babies are carnivorous). Yellowjackets will become a bit of a nuisance by late summer and early fall when they don't need babyfood anymore and congregate on sweets, but right now they need meat.

Later on, I watched a paper wasp inspecting the cabbages in another bed. -- I resolved to check for wasps before reaching for the yellowed cabbage leaves to clean up. :shock:

I also have 2nd year carrots and celery blooming that are swarming with the tiny predatory wasps like braconids and trichogrammas, hoverflies, tiphiids, aphid mummy makers, as well as the bigger tachnid flies.... Also shiny metalic green sweat bees which are also fond of tomatoes and peppers as well as cucumber and melon pollen and are good pollinators. Muddy areas along the garden paths after watering are visited by potter wasps gathering up mud.

I'm starting to see green praying mantis -- grown up from the tan colored baby stage, and green lace wings are flying around now -- I saw one land in the cherry tree which is having some aphid problems.

I dug up the garlic the other day and disturbed a whole lot of earthworms. There were even these gigantic fat ones practically wrapped around the garlic bulbs which I think are nightcrawlers. I was thinking people BUY bags of EWC (Earthworm casings) but my garden is constantly being re-supplied 24/7.... :lol:

...I really don't spray anything because I'm afraid of killing the Garden Patrol and disturbing the soil foodweb...
...I'm thinking of spraying milk solution soon though since septoria is starting on the tomatoes...

Wild birds nesting around the garden are feeding their babies too. I see song sparrows and house wrens ducking under the canopy of the winter squash leaves and coming back out with something in their beaks all the time. (I'm hoping they like SVB's)

At night, the garden is filled with fireflies... And while I knew the firefly larvae fed on slugs, I didn't realize until a couple of years ago when I was wondering what the shrimp like things I kept finding in the garden bed were as I was prepping it for planting, that firefly larvae are actually IN my garden soil (I thought they only grew along pond and creeks) -- SHRIMP THINGS WERE FIREFLY PUPA -- Another reason NOT to till my garden.
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DonV
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Re: Screw organic

More info:

I did not have NEAR this problem last year (and I rotated my crops) my soil ph is neutral, I tested several locations. I use well water when I water (this year almost none). jap beetles definitely finally under control, between hand killing and I think BE helped a lot. I did add soil this year to raised beds (settled) not a lot BUT it smelled BAD. It had leaf humis from last year (stunk and had worms so I know it was old - I put in March or early april. Not sure if smell attracted flies/bugs? Seems most likely, or things came in the soil.

I have visited 2 friends in city with small gardens and they do basically no work and have no problems. I honestly spend at least 1 hour a day hand killing things. Every day. Literally.

Woods are right by my garden and TONS of slugs in there, so they work there way in. Not nearly as bad in garden that is not by woods.

I have sprayed neem but tbh not soaking all leaves (yikes would take me all day and 10 gallons).

I have lots of toads, lots of birds (and a feeder), bees (not a ton). tons of worms (lots). Lots of fireflies.

cabbage worms are unreal - like never before, I work 5 times as hard killing them and have way more then past year.

Flowers are a good idea, I figured my garden was enough - veggie flowers. I can order predators, and might.

I think I am diverse, I have planted 50 things. Easier to name what I did not plant. I have strawberries, blueberries, raspberry, blackberries (mine and native). Melons and cantelope (no fruits yet - NO idea why no fruits). I spent literally 10 hours laying out my garden for a 4 year rotation. Raised beds.

What should I be growing I am not for balance/diversity?

I am reading this over and over thanks!

DonV
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Re: Screw organic

Not growing flowers (very few), eggplant, parsnips, turnips, okra, . I planted fruit/nut trees this year (bees down the road?).

What else should I add?

DonV
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Re: Screw organic

See bottom of pic for what is planted.
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imafan26
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Re: Screw organic

I sent a link in my post to pollinator.org you put in your zip code and it will give you a list of plants for your area.

In general you want to have nectar and pollen flowers all year. Veggie flowers are only around for a brief period, unless you let your carrots go to seed like i did.

If you purchase predators they will take off if they don't have food or habitat. Other creatures will also predate on them.

You want flowers that will usually be fragrant that have nectar and pollen. Fennel is a good herb to have to do this. Do not plant it in your garden, but on the periphery. You only need one or two plants. It is an aphid trap, and invites aphids to attack it. The aphids on the fennel will attract lady bugs to lay their eggs in the fennel so the larvae can feast on the aphids. The adult lady bugs, parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, hover flies, tachinid wasps, and bees will all be hanging out around the flower heads since they need pollen and nectar for food. There should be a water source in the garden. The bee water feeder works. When the fennel seeds, cut off the seed heads. You can keep the seeds for cooking.
Other good plants are alyssum, any of the composites: sunflowers, daisies, coreopsis, cosmos, zinnia. Verbena, sage, lavender and many of the herbs attract beneficial insects when they are in bloom . Basil flowers attract a lot of bees. If you are growing basil to eat, you don't want flowers, but leave a few to flower for the insects. Let carrots go to seed, the flowers last a long time or you can plant Queen Anne's lace. You want plants that have a long bloom period and things that will be blooming throughout the year. You also need habitat. Usually broken pottery or clay pots turned on the side or upside down, logs with holes drilled in the end for bees.

You have woods nearby and that may be part of your problem. When I lived next to a ravine I got locusts, leaf footed bugs, and toads. The toads scared me, but I did not have a lot of slugs, but stink bugs and locusts decimated my garden so I had to net the entire bed.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Screw organic

Old soil or old leaf humus should NOT smell bad. Had it been closed up in some kind of airtight container? It must have gone sour in some way. I don't know that that would have anything to do with infestations of JB's, cabbage loopers, etc. But I probably would not have put it in my garden. I would have put it in compost pile and turned and aerated it a few times and mixed it in with other stuff.

Like I said not sure if your sour soil has any relevance, but something sure seems out of balance. Both my home gardens and my community garden are next to woods and don't have problems like this. Even if you know your pH is neutral, I would still consider sending a soil sample to be tested, re nutrient levels, etc., see if they can tell you if anything is going on.
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DonV
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Re: Screw organic

Typical plants, note I patrol these a lot! Worst ones I check an average of 5-10 times a day, all times including night, early AM sundown etc.
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imafan26
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Re: Screw organic

Holes in cabbages can be from slugs, but more often from caterpillars. Bt works and is not toxic to the other beneficial insects. Beetles are hard bodied and difficult to control organically. Usually, I have insect netting over the garden for that. Birds and geckos handle that in my yard but only Chinese rose beetles were a problem and I solved that by planting my roses near the streetlight and planting four o clocks nearby. Four o'clocks are toxic plants so need to be kept away from children and pets that don't know better, but if the beetles eat them they are dead.

Milky spore applied now will reduce the number of Japanese beetles in the future.

You can try planting a trap crop to lure the pests away from your garden beds. Sunflowers, zinnias, and Hubbard squash are good trap plants for beetles. The Hubbard is a favorite of cucumber beetles, SVB, and squash beetles. You would actually lure the bugs to these plants to hand pick or use your pesticides. Start with pyrethrins but you can escalate if that is not enough.
It is not recommended anymore but I used the Japanese beetle trap for years. It does a good job of trapping all kinds of beetles. It trapped the Chinese rose beetles too. But the floral lure will attract bees so they will be collateral damage. I put the traps on the other side of my house farthest from the plants they like to attack. The trap does have a stand, but it can hang from a tree but it is important that the lure be about 3 ft off other ground.
I have the hard plastic bottle trap. It has lasted me now over 15 years and the bag traps collect water and stink.
I just use the floral lure which can be purchased online. I don't have many beetles now so I don't use it much anymore.

http://www.gardeners.com/buy/japanese-b ... 12817.html

Decoy Trap Plants for the Home Garden

While articles on how to use trap crops abound, specific trap crop info is scarce, particularly for the smaller home garden. The following list is compiled to give the home gardener ideas for using decoy plants, but is by no means complete:

Plant Attracts
Dill Tomato hornworms
Millet Squash bugs
Amaranth Cucumber beetle
Sorghum Corn earworms
Radishes Flea beetles, Harlequin bugs, Cabbage maggots
Collards Cabbage worm
Nasturtiums Aphids
Sunflowers Stinkbugs
Okra Tomato aphids
Zinnias Japanese beetles
Mustard Harlequin bugs
Marigolds Root nematodes
Eggplant Colorado potato beetles
In addition to using decoy plants such as the above, other plants can be used to repel invading insects. Chives will repel aphids. Basil repels tomato hornworms. Tomatoes repel asparagus beetles. Marigolds are not only detrimental to nematodes; they repel cabbage moths, too.

Will using decoy plants completely eliminate your insect pest problem? Probably not, but if reducing the amount of pesticides you use in your garden or increasing yields without pesticides is your goal, learning how to use trap crops may bring you a little closer to your ideal garden.
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Free Zucchini
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Re: Screw organic

It can be tough. Last year my brassicas got hammered, but it was my first year. Sometimes when we change the biome we need to give the parasites a free pass so that the predators can react to the new crop of parasites, just like the parasites responded to a change in the flora.

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applestar
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Re: Screw organic

That's a very good point @Free Zucchini :D

I was trying to weed around the cabbages today and had to work on other areas every time the yellow jackets came back to patrol the cabbages -- I don't know if it was the same one or more than one but they came back at regular intervals -- I would say at least a dozen times while I was in that bed for say 1 hour? (The bed needed thorough weeding around cabbages and onions, culling of spent peas, then mulching)

We had a nice rhythm going in which I would work around the cabbages until a wasp came back, then step away and work on another part of the bed until she finished and flew off, then I would go back to the cabbages.... Then a lone paper wasp showed up and disrupted our little dance. :lol:

I had decided to cull two little cabbages that were not growing as well and had cut at soil level, removed the yellowed and ragged leaves, and laid the harvestable remaining immature heads off to the side. The wasps noticed they were missing and flew around until they found them, then crawled and patrolled those leaves, too.

Over In another bed, there was a 4th instar (almost fully grown) black swallowtail caterpillar on a 2nd year celeriac root in bloom (it had eaten an entire flower stalk) -- and right in front of me there ensued a battle when a yellow jacket attacked it. The caterpillar stuck out its stinky orange horns and fought back. The wasp seemed to give up and flew off-- I really thought it was already too big for the wasp to take it on... But only 10 minutes or so later the caterpillar was missing, so it may have been taken after all. But I don't think it would have lived anyway because it had a telltale bruise on its head -- I think it was already infested by parasitic wasp or tachnid fly larvae.
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pepperhead212
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Re: Screw organic

Though I don't do it specifically for these types of bugs, I cover my brassicas and lettuces when I first plant them with a light Agribon, to keep them safe from rabbits! I sprinkle with a generous dose of sluggo, as slugs are my worst pest, after rabbits, then plant and cover, sealing the edges on one side entirely with soil, then along the other side with anything available! I check them out about three weeks later, maybe harvesting a few early ones, then cover again, and uncover for good when the fabric is being pushed up. When I uncover for good, there may be a few holes here and there, but, for the most part, they are clean as can be, and I don't have a problem the rest of the season (I won't really notice if a rabbit takes a bite or two at this point!). If the pests you have are coming up out of the ground as with slugs, this will not help, but if it is caterpillars, it will help greatly. Maybe try half covered and half uncovered?
Dave

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Screw organic

Free Zucchini wrote:It can be tough. Last year my brassicas got hammered, but it was my first year. Sometimes when we change the biome we need to give the parasites a free pass so that the predators can react to the new crop of parasites, just like the parasites responded to a change in the flora.
I agree - it's what I meant by balance and applestar meant by transitional. When you are starting new gardens and after you have wiped out all the beneficials with "just once" Sevin dust, then it takes awhile for everything to come back in to balance.

Work with planting stuff to attract/keep beneficials and with creating habitat and next year should be better and the year after better still. The idea of the bird feeders is that many birds eat mostly insects, grubs etc in summer. But in winter, with limited supply of those, they switch to seeds. You want to keep them in your garden for the next year, so you need to feed them. It's another e.g. of "habitat." My yard is National Wildlife Federation certified "backyard wildlife habitat." You can check out their website http://www.nwf.org/how-to-help/garden-f ... ite_Main_3 for how to do this - it is part of what I am talking about, about creating an ecosystem.
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ucan
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Re: Screw organic

Don I have a couple ideas .. a horse trough NEXT TO THE GARDEN with SOME flat head minnows.. They love bugs .. And the fry are easy to sell also..

I would think if you put a add in the paper that your wanting males duck the drakes
you would get them for free as most people have to many drakes per the amout of ducks they have. Drakes also cant quake loud at all ,, so they would not bother the neighbors and they love insets stink bugs are like candy to them .. you could propably even rent some for a few dollar or so a month and give them back after the growing season..
u can share a ham sandwich with a duck but not a goose.

imafan26
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Re: Screw organic

Be careful with birds ducks or chickens are really good at getting rid of snails and slugs but they also have a penchant for munching on lettuce seedlings too. That is why the chicken tractors work, but you have to have the space for them.
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InvasiveCreeper
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Re: Screw organic

:arrow:
Image

:-()

Synthetic chemical gardening can be fun
Image

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applestar
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Re: Screw organic

Image ...especially the second picture.
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StevePots
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Re: Screw organic

The second picture is from Breaking Bad - Gardening edition.
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skelts39
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Re: Screw organic

Have been looking around in this forum quite a bit and just wanted to add that I really appreciate all the specific information people are leaving for OP. Lots of good points, I'm glad I read it.

rabbiavero
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Re: Screw organic

Dude. Organic gardening is NOT a walk in the park. It is NOT a sow, sit back and relax, and reap the benefits kind of hobby. Organic farming and gardening is A LOT of work. But, the result in the end if done right is healthy, large, and extraordinarily tasty fruits, veggies, and herbs. Last season (2015), I spent 4 weeks at the very beginning of spring hand tilling my 5 gardens, covering a total of .5 acres. I do not own a rototiller, nor any other tools besides my shovels, rakes, and hand tillers. I spent 7 hours a day for 4 weeks preparing the ground to plant. And that was just the beginning. People who want to grow organic do so because they want quality in their product. But, they are also willing to bust their a** to get it. Gardening is NOT something to get into to relax, but it is most certainly worth the effort and work.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Screw organic

Well, there are lots of different philosophies about gardening, even within the big tent called organic gardening.

You might want to try reading Ruth Stout's No Work Gardening books. It can be work getting started with organic gardening, building your soil to a point where it is rich and loose, building compost piles, etc. But practicing no-till, keep everything heavily mulched, natural gardening methods, planting a diversity of flowers and herbs to attract beneficial insects, etc., after the first few years, it really can be next to no work. I had a community garden plot, that I worked on some at the beginning of each season getting the soil ready, adding more compost, planting, mulching, etc. After that I mostly only visited it a couple times a month, to harvest things. I would pull the few weeds that made it through the mulch, add more mulch to make up for what was breaking down, water deeply and harvest and not see it again for awhile.

Half acre of actual garden space is a lot and it would be a lot of work at the beginning of the season. But I think you could cut down on the amount of work with no-till methods and borrowing some permaculture ideas. One of those is to let more of your crops go to seed. They can seed themselves and come up on their own next year. Grow lots of perennial stuff (asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, etc). Leave some of your potatoes and onions in the ground and they will multiply themselves. Keeping a thick layer of mulch on your whole garden at all times, nearly eliminates weeding and watering (at least in the humid rainy climates where I have gardened).
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ButterflyLady29
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Re: Screw organic

Safer works only when applied directly to the insect in question. It doesn't work on cucumber or bean beetles. I've had serious problems with spotted bean beetles eating my cucumber flowers (and yes they are spotted bean beetles and yes they eat cucumber flowers, despite what all the stuff on the internet says. Mine don't read stuff on the net.). The only thing that works is going out early every morning before the dew dries and knocking the bugs into a bucket of soapy water. Later in the day and they fly before hitting the water.

I have had good Japanese beetle control by hanging traps far away from the garden and making sure the beetles caught in the trap are smashed or drowned. You won't see many results the first year but it sure affects future populations. Supposedly yellow four o'clock flowers attract the adults which then eat the plants which are supposedly poisonous to them. Note the emphasis on supposedly. I haven't tried the yellow flowered ones. I had a bunch of pink ones growing near my butterfly bush in the front over the summer and never saw any Japanese beetles in that area. Come to think of it I never saw any in the whole front yard last summer. June bugs were another story. I had tons of grubs in my flower pots. They ate the roots of many plants. I ended up having to dump the pots and sift through the soil to pick the grubs out.

Organic gardening isn't easy and there is a learning curve. I believe the benefits are worth the effort. I've spent many morning hand picking grubs and slugs and knocking beetles into soapy water. We're not permitted to have livestock here but if we could I would have a couple ducks just to eat some of the bugs. But I have watched the resident wrens picking through the cabbages and seen wasps gleaning sawfly and asparagus beetle larva off my plants.

Wasps are great larva predators but they have to be left alone to do their work. If you have a "kill all wasps" attitude you are eliminating your best organic pest control. Unfortunately the wasps take a lot of pretty butterfly caterpillars but that's just the way nature works. I've seen them take Monarch caterpillars in addition to the sawfly larva. Songbirds are good pest control also. Most of the seed eating species feed insects and spiders to their young. If you make your garden area appealing to birds and wasps you will definitely gain some great garden helpers.

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Gary350
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Re: Screw organic

Is there any type vegetable garden that is NOT organic? As a gardener it is a learning experience to learn what you can grow in your geographical location. Some plants attract lots of bugs while other plants have few bugs. I don't plant things I don't eat. I don't plant things that require lots of space. I don't plant things like cabbage that are so cheap at the grocery store it is a waste of time to grow. I always grow tomatoes you can not buy good tomatoes at the store. I have 25 bird houses, birds are my best friend I never spray for bugs, I don't have bugs the birds eat the bugs..

imafan26
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Re: Screw organic

I plant cole crops but not many. Last year was the only time the cabbage worm found it. I treated it early and I think the geckos helped eat them because they did very little damage. Right now I have broccoli and Brussels sprouts in the garden. I had a little damage but I think they were from snails since I have not seen any cabbage butterflies. I do have dipel ready if I do.

When I lived on the ravine, I had locusts that came and ate everything to the ground and the leaf footed bugs were everywhere. I could only hold them at bay with netting. I built a frame with pvc and put the netting over it. It has to be well sealed at the bottom to keep the bugs from crawling under. It worked as long as I could keep the bugs outside. Everyday, I was squashing leaf footed bugs hanging on the netting.

However, I have not had an aphid problem in years except on one weak kale which was pulled out sicne I have so many flowering nectar plants to attract the beneficial insects and I don't use pesticides except as a last resort. I do get the nuisance spittle bugs and I have to move my peppers so the pepper weevils won't ruin my peppers. Fruit has to be picked before the birds get to them. I haven't seen a caterpillar but I did see a butterfly this year.

I disbudded the buddleia. I will have to find a new home for it since I don't want to attract butterflies to the vegetable garden.

There are mice in the garden, but we have a deal, they stay out of the sluggo and my patio and I don't put out rat poison.

For now, I think the snails and slugs are in hybernation because it is cold, but I know they will be back, so I am just enjoying the respite for now. I have fruit fly traps out year round and don't have much of a problem there. The anoles must be eating the roaches and beetles as well as the earthworms and caterpillars because there are hardly any around in the garden. My cat takes care of the roaches in the house. The greenhouse frogs are eating the ants and while the frogs were an accidental import that came in on some plants, they are making an impact on the ant population. I have seen geckos on the screens catching gnats, mosquitoes and termites and I have a lot of anoles and skinks all over the yard.

I have a few holes in the beans from rose beetles but not too much damage and the beans will be coming out soon. They don't bother the roses in the back yard. Those things are bullet proof. I do treat Mr. Lincoln for fungal problems and blackspot, but I haven't had that much beetle damage there either. I have no overripe fruit so there are no Asian beetles around.

What I am trying to say I guess is that if you notice what the pests are going after and you stop planting it for a while, use some protection like netting, the bugs will go after an easier target, or plant to attract beneficial insects. If you have the right habitat to nurture predators, they will take care of the problem for you and you only have to resort to chemical controls as a last resort. I get a lot of snails, I have to bait every two weeks to keep them at bay as well as go on daily snail hunts because I don't have good predators. Actually a chicken would work, but they would eat the plants too. Now, if you could train a chicken??????
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aaronv
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Re: Screw organic

I'm glad I read this, thanks everyone.

Question.

Suppose I want to not only bomb my yard with ladybugs and lacewings - I want them to take up residence. Supposedly this means planting a wide variety of white, yellow, orange, and magenta flowers in addition to my vegetable garden?

I always avoided planting flower beds because to me they did not seem to serve a purpose. But if there is a way to control pests and minimize crop damage without spraying, well, there's my purpose.

I guess veering off into discussion of how to plant flowerbeds for attracting insects, well that's a bit off topic.

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applestar
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Re: Screw organic

...ummm -- just a bit :| ... You might find your answers in thIs thread :wink: Subject: Beneficial Insects

Here's how it starts out :arrow:
opabinia51 wrote:I guess the crux of organic gardening is the ever battle with insect herbivory in your garden. (Especially your vegetable Garden) Anyway, here is an excellent website that uses Apple Orchards as the example but, has information that can be applied to any garden:

http://www.earthworksboston.org/urbanor ... icials.htm <<broken link
applestar wrote:Here's a link to an archived copy of the old web page that Opa had linked to.

This is a REALLY cool site, opabinia.
...
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imafan26
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Re: Screw organic

I you pick the right vegetables it is easier. Insects and disease attack unhealthy plants first because they are weaker. If you select plants and cultivars that are best for your location and you keep them healthy they do not make good targets. If you have a robust garden patrol, they can keep bugs from invading.

I have whiteflies, but they like the hibiscus the most, so I use it as a sentry and trap plant...that way they leave the peppers alone and I hose down the undersides of the pepper leaves every time I water.

I plant corn because it attracts purple lady bugs and they really like white flies. I also like corn even though it takes up a lot of space in my small garden.

Choosing the right combination of plants helps in controlling bugs too. A trap plant, a plant that attracts beneficial insects, and choosing the best cultivar that will stay healthier.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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