This is my first garden and first planting. I've got several issues and pests that need to be addressed. I obviously have done something wrong here. I'm companion planting, so I was hoping that would help with the pests. I've found a ton of good information through this site (for instance, ants indicating trouble), but hopefully ya'll can help me with some other questions.
1. Aphids on two tomato plants. From what I understand garlic water might deter them but the best approach is to have ladybugs take care of them for me. I have marigolds and nasturtiums planted, but still no ladybugs. I might have to order some. I just read (on here) about ants farming aphids, and ants have been present. Also, those two tomato plants have had a rough month. I transplanted them and then found out that my soil pH was below 5 and I shouldn't water their leaves. I've since amended some lime into the soil and raised the pH to just over 6. They improved with bettering watering, but now the aphids are taking them over. They've barely produced anything and have looked kind of wimpy. I wonder if I just scrap them plant something else.
- What's a good place to order lady bugs?
- What's another good way to rid the aphids?
- Are these tomatoes done for or are they salvageable?
- If I want to dispose of them, can I throw them into the compost with the aphids?
2. Squash vine borers on zucchini and pumpkin. I've found a moth, eggs, and some clear goo. I've found some good info on SVBs, but things don't look good for me. The pumpkin and zucchini both have splits near the base of the vine. I found a few eggs on other vines and smashed them.
- Will smashing the eggs help protect the vine?
- Is anything edible from these vines now that I know the SVBs have gotten them?
- If I want to dispose of them, can I throw them into the compost?
Zucchini with yellow leaves, uneven coloring, split vine
Pumpkin with SVB moth, eggs, goo, and split vine
3. Rats in my compost. This might not be that big of a deal, but I wonder if it's a health risk. I built a compost pile out of straw bales, which is what I think is really attracting them. I'm thinking of moving the pile and using some pallets I have used before.
- Will the rat's feces impact the health of my compost?
4. What are these guys?
Worm on tomato.
Slug eating corn.
Like I said, this is my first garden. I'm a little disappointed thus far; slow progress, soil problems, tons of mushrooms, and now lots of pests. I'm sure I'll learn from this. Any help would be appreciated!