I was going to apologize for taking such a long time to get a post up. But then I realize that we bloggers are all busy, interesting and involved people and you all get it. While I haven’t been parenting, writing, working, volunteering, cooking or driving someplace- I have been fighting THESE:
Eeeewww! I have few choice words for these aphids, but since this is a family joint, I’ll keep in PG. What started as a crop-specific infestation (only cucumbers) they have moved to chives, broccoli, squash and black ones have moved in on the swiss chard and arugula. I’m worried because black aphids are the vectors for banana bunchy top virus and I’m keeping a close eye on that banana tree.
While these guys are chewing and sucking the life out of my lovely vegetables, beetles are doing things like this:
You never see these beetles unless you go out in the garden at night with a flashlight and poke around with a stick. Yes, I’m that crazy neighbor, out at 10pm talking to the bugs. They are scared of me now, I swear I hear them scurry away when the back door opens. “Get out of my chard!!” I yell.
There are also some creepy crawlies in the soil hanging out with the beetles. I don’t know what these are, but what I do know is that whenever I transplant seedlings, they are GONE the next day. I wonder if these are to blame?
And then there is the mystery mite. I showed some photos of this pepper plant, with it’s leaves turning upside down to some other gardener friends and they think it’s a mite of some kind. Not only do the leaves turn over, the plants are a bit stunted and the peppers are small, slow to ripen and taste a little bitter. Edible, but not my best work.
So what is a gardener to do? I don’t want to spray broad spectrum pesticides for a few reasons: unsafe for kids, unsafe for dogs, and I don’t want to support the petro-chemical corporations if I can help it. Also, there are lots of active pollinators around, bees and butterflies, and I want them to stay. But the neem oil wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to try this:
It has made a dent. I have to use it about every 5 days to really see a change. I’ve been doing it early in the mornings or after 4pm to avoid leaf burning, and I have noticed that bees are not affected by this spray.
On a positive non-bug note, I’m growing corn!!! In our tiny little yard I wasn’t sure if I should even try it, but here it! Our son planted the seeds so he is especially happy with how it looks now.