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rainbowgardener
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TIMING!! -- trap crops, etc

One of the things I have been reminded of and seen in action this year is the importance of timing for pest control.

I have never been able to grow zucchini, because we have so much trouble with the Squash Vine Borer. This year, I wrapped the zucchini stems in tinfoil (just the first few inches above and below ground) and then I grew them under row cover. But early in July, I was leaving on vacation and wouldn't be here to hand pollinate, so I removed the row cover. Came back to find a 9" zucchini that materialized while I was gone! My neighbor just showed me her zucchini that is wilting. I looked and sure enough there was the lesion on the stem, crawling with bugs...

So, hard to know what made the difference, but I'm thinking that by the time I removed the row cover, the adult SVB's were done with the egg laying part of their cycle and had moved on. I'm thinking that if you just protect them through the early season they will be ok. See how the rest of the season goes. They are a little raggedy from groundhog eating the leaves since they were uncovered, but oh well.

Similarly with the JB's. I had a minor outbreak of them for a few weeks, but they seem to be all gone now. I think the adult JB's are only around for a few weeks. If you can protect your crops during that time, that may be all you need to do.

Another piece in learning to garden with nature!
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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applestar
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Good to hear that your SVB strategy worked out. :D

As for the JB's, they've moved on alright ... to MY GARDEN! :evil:
They are on EVERYTHING -- cherries, rhubarb, raspberry, evening primrose, lady's thumb, American hazel... are the worst hit, but I see them on unlikeliest plants! More than likely, my next door neighbor has those ridiculous traps out for her roses, and my garden is ... what would it be? -- downwind? of it : :roll:

Hopefully, my Garden Patrol will rise to the challenge. I'm actually going to see how it goes. I'll go around and collect them once in a while, but I'm not going to stress over it. :wink:

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Congratulations Rainbowgardener..! (on the zuchinni)
The JB infestation has just about passed, I guess. I went out this afternoon and gave them a soapy bath 8) ..!

They were on the buttercup shrub - potentilla. :(

I also saw a stink bug (?) and gave him a bath.. It worked; he won't be returning except in the form of compost.
:wink: Happy gardening!

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gixxerific
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Good to hear that worked for you.

I don't think it would have worked for my pumpkins. The borers got in all over the stems, even far away form the main shoots. Though possible if I could have stopped the first assault they wouldn't have stayed around to damage the rest the of vines.

Too many crops too many questions. :?

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rainbowgardener
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applestar wrote:Good to hear that your SVB strategy worked out. :D

As for the JB's, they've moved on alright ... to MY GARDEN! :evil:
They are on EVERYTHING -- cherries, rhubarb, raspberry, evening primrose, lady's thumb, American hazel... are the worst hit, but I see them on unlikeliest plants! More than likely, my next door neighbor has those ridiculous traps out for her roses, and my garden is ... what would it be? -- downwind? of it : :roll:

Hopefully, my Garden Patrol will rise to the challenge. I'm actually going to see how it goes. I'll go around and collect them once in a while, but I'm not going to stress over it. :wink:
Sorry to hear you got the JB's, but it may just be since you are more north than me, that they emerge in your area later. So it may still be that they will only be around for a few weeks. If you get used to when they arrive you could put row cover over what you most want to protect (and what is most manageable, not trees!) ahead of time. Too late once they are on the plants.

In the future you might try growing a patch of wild grape vine somewhere. It worked amazingly well for me as a trap crop. Maybe domestic grapes would work too, I just don't have experience of that.

If you want to help the Garden Patrol along, you could invite in some starlings and grackles (I know, no one's favorite birds, but they seem to be the best for the JB's). A good way to do that is to put out a bowl of dry cat food, they love it! Once they are on the job, you can phase out the cat food.
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I wish I could do the row cover idea, but it wouldn't work with the way our yard is set up. I was hoping that we were winding down with the flying moths, but today I found a fresh batch of eggs and I thought I saw one still flying around. Gee, when do those things die? If I could cover my squash, would I have to keep the cover on into September? I think I've seen moths into August some years.

The good thing, at least for the summer squash, we had an early spring. The squash is big enough to take a few hits and produce at least a fairly decent bit of fruit before all is said an done. I'm also noticing something about variety. Black/darker green zukes seem to grow weakerand get knocked out first. The gray zukes seem to grow bigger and stronger. If we get any zukes, the gray kind are the kind we get, no matter how many I may plant of the other kind.

Sadly, the early spring and planting isn't working for the winter squash, though. It just pushed the time table earlier. I usually get only one squash per vine and it seldom is fully mature before the vine dies. Usually the first fruit develops and ripens the second or last week of August. The vine dies before it finishes. This year, I got my two squash (one Acorn and one Spaghetti) in the end of June, so now the plants are dying.
Please excuse some of my typos. My keyboard has a busted spacebar.

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non-kill pest control

As I thought about this thread more, I realized what I was really talking about is working with your garden ecosystem to control (not eliminate) pests without killing.

I think there are "developmental stages" for organic gardening/ permaculture. When people first get the idea that it is not a good thing for themselves, their children or the planet to go spraying poison all over, they start looking for how else can I kill all these pests? At that level we have diatomaceous earth, neem oil, Bt etc. There is now a burgeoning industry developing organic alternatives to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides. That is a good thing, definitely better than poison. Spinosad is one of the new generation of organic pesticides.

But I think the permaculturists, our own Applestar being a great example (take a bow Applestar) are at a higher developmental level. They have given up reaching for the killing sprays, even the Neem oil, etc. At this level we have timing, row covers, intercropping and extreme diversity in the garden, beneficial insects, birds and other predators, trap crops, etc.

I started thinking about this because I was out in my garden this AM (for a couple hours until it got TOO BLASTED HOT!!) and realized that all the velvet leaf (it originated from a packet of mixed wildflower seeds I planted years ago--everything else has died out and the velvet leaf is spreading itself more and more) is riddled with leaf miners. I guess they also like those lovely soft leaves. Nothing else in my garden is. Next time I can stand to go out, I may work on pulling a bunch of the riddled leaves and trashing them.

So the wild grape vine worked really well to keep the japanese beetles from eating the rest of my garden and the velvet leaf is working to keep leaf miners from the rest of my garden. And no possibility of harming any other critters (all the stuff like diatomaceous earth, spinosad, while better than poisons, does carry some possibility of harm to things we don't want to harm).

YAY!! I'm working my way up towards AS's advanced level!
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RBG, despite your wealth of experience, despite the inumuerable (and I do mean beyond couting) times you have helped gardeners, I think you are finding the same thing it took me a decade or so to learn while at THG...

No matter how much you teach here, it will almost always teach you more in return. No matter how long I do this I am still continually informed and educated by the folks that show up here, and you have been no exception. Some of the lessons have come from the most unlikely quarters, so I never underestimate what I may be facing. Any question has the ability to inform (or humble). It keeps me coming back.

Like you my gardening is still in flux, I am still learning techniques and methods and observing results. May it always be so for us both, and everyone else here. Learning should never get old...

HG
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applestar
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:oops: Thank you for the high praises, rainbowgardener :oops:
:D Coming from you, that means a lot. :D

HG, I'm with you 100%. There's so much to learn, there's no end in sight, and I'm loving every minute of it. :wink:
Folks who post here are awesome! I'm continuously impressed by the wealth of information/experience/knowledge offered for everyone to share, as well as the probing questions that prompt them.:D

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Than there's me. :P


I'm into the Integrated Pest Management. And timing is everything for this to work correctly. Though timing alone may not save you but it will make a difference.

I was out today squashing squash bugs and their eggs which my pumpkins are riddled with. This seems to be a thing I do every few day's to no avail. But the point is RBG said in the original post that she may have missed the SVB which have also decimated my pumpkins and almost took out my zucchini, they did kill my yellow straight neck squash. :x

Back to my point it is July 24 and I found a SVB worm in the stem today as well as an adult. Which luckily just minutes before I finally looked up to see what they look like. Both were dispatched. So I'm just saying it's not over yet at least for everyone.

I have my stuff intercropped but I did not take enough preventive measures it seems. Though I have never really had this kind of problem with pest before. So time to keep learning and try again next year. And hopefully save some of my garden for this year.

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Last year squash bugs dogged me hard. They're here this year, but I can keep up. This weather is good for bugs; so hot plants shut down. Once the shields are down they can't defend themselves...

And for those of you who think I am talking crazy stuff ("plants defending themselves; what is he nuts?") not only do plants send chemical messages to change plant intake to include deterrents and even pathogens for bugs, they exchange that information with plants that they share root contact with. In some cases they exchange the information through a third party fungus... Paul Stamets did the work on that a few years back...

See why we don't like fungicides so much?

HG
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I just found a bunch of Squash Bug eggs on the Bushel Gourd leaves. I put them in a jar lid and showed the teeny shiny golden bits to my DD's and they went "Oooh! What are they!?" ...then I told them and they deflated "Oh." -- They could invoke beautiful imaginary creatures that might have left them, it's too bad the reality is so mundane. :roll:

SO, what did I do with the eggs? I have them in a jar with a bit of floating cover rubber banded on so we can see what hatches out of them. 8)

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rainbowgardener
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Diversity does seem to be part of the key... the velvet leaf is popping up everywhere, in with the herbs, in with the tomatoes, in the butterfly garden where it was originally planted, in with the chard... What would the leaf miners be eating if I didn't have velvet leaf all over? What would the JB's have been eating if there were no wild grape vine?
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My lambsquarters stands in as my leafminer trap crop, bet they would pass up your velvetleaf for lambsquarters. I just chuck the leaves with miner into the compost...

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rainbowgardener
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I thought about compiling a list of trap crops and realized of course lists would be out there.

Here's one

https://www.oisat.org/control_methods/cultural__practices/trap_cropping.html

of course it doesn't list any of the ones we have named!

Wiki article on trap cropping

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_crop

names a few and has this really interesting comment:

Recent studies on host-plant finding have shown that flying pests are far less successful if their host-plants are surrounded by any other plant, or even “decoy-plantsâ€
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what you all need for the cucumber beetles is some ground cherry plants. :) Seriously. I had a bunch come up from last year and when i say a bunch I mean hundreds LOL! I left them because I didin't feel like pulling them at the time and I wanted to see what they would do. well, they attracted a ton of cucumber beetles. while they attracted them, there also never were any beetles on my cucumbers, squash, etc!!! ALL on the ground cherry and that is it. I eventually pulled most of those up because they were covered in eggs and larvae. But, yeah... if you want something to keep the cucumber beetles out of your garden, plant some ground cherry plants on the parameter or something. magnet!

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The cabbages in clover sounds like green manures and polycropping all in one!

And the ground cherry thing is really good to know!

Nice!

:D

HG
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I had a thought about "timing." Next time I cut down the squash and pumpkins due to SVB damage, I should do it the day before DH goes fishing. Then he can take those fat grubs with him and won't have to buy bait. :wink:

This time, I cut them in half and put them on the birdfeeder. :twisted:

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trap crops in my experience

Mentioned above is wild grape vine for the japanese beetles and velvet leaf for the leaf miners. A good friend of mine who is a great gardener says that amaranth (which I grew from seed this year) is a good trap crop for cucumber beetles, so I will be watching for that this year.

Any others people have personal experience with?
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