July 16, 2012
Since this past winter was so warm, I have been expecting a lot of bugs this summer. So have many other gardeners I have talked to. I am trying to use organic methods to keep them out of my garden this year. I have plenty of birds in the yard, so they will help quite a bit. I also planted marigolds around the edges of my vegetable garden to help deter the bugs. I have also noticed a lot of ladybugs crawling around the yard and have spotted a couple of praying mantises, too. These two insects are voracious eaters of other (mostly harmful) insects.
So far, all I have had trouble with is the worms eating my cauliflower plants, the lettuce, and the spinach. I hand-picked some of them and squashed them, but there are more worms than I can pick off by hand. The Japanese beetles are wreaking havoc on my roses, too. I’ve been picking them off in the evenings and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water. I haven’t noticed as many of them this week, so I think this is working. It looks like a rabbit has sampled my lettuce, too, but I don’t mind sharing with the rabbits since I planted more than I can use.
Deer don’t seem to be much of a problem where I live. Although, I have talked to a lot of people for whom they are a very big problem. The only solutions I have found for deer are: have varieties of plants that they don’t really like to eat, or have a really tall fence. Big dogs are also a deterrent for deer, but they aren’t as effective if they’re kept indoors overnight. The deer don’t seem to think much of my little Sheltie when she barks at them.
I have found several books here at MCPL to help me with organic pest control. Jerry Baker’s series of garden help books are full of recipes for organic insecticides and other help for garden problems. I have also been using The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control, which has lots of good information in it on identifying and dealing with insects and diseases. Hopefully, armed with my new resources, I can keep my garden beautiful in spite of the bugs.
Lee's Summit Branch