Friday, July 25, 2008

Bugs and Fungi

I've been having Garden Problems lately... My Tomatoes have Thrips sucking on the new shoots, and causing wilting, the Cucumbers have tons of Aphids, and that whole bed of the Squash Family( cukes, zukes, melons) have succumb to white powdery mildew.

The mildew it seems, as I'm surfing the net, can be controlled by a diluted concoction of dish liquid and hydrogen peroxide, or a diluted mixture of baking soda. I have real-life experience with milk being sprayed that works as well, BUT since my son has anaphylactic allergy to any dairy protein, I won't be doing that.

In order to combat the insect infestation, I ordered some Beneficial Nematodes, Green Lacewing Eggs, and some Amblyseius cucumeris to eat the baby Thrips ... probably not the wisest of choices as the order cost me $57!! Some Expensive veggies if you tally that in...

This is my order:
[1ea: 1000 Green Lacewing eggs] [1ea: Amblyseius cucumeris, 5,000] [1ea: Nematodes - Steinernema carpocapsae., 10 mil]

I received the package of "bugs" last night and dutifully went out to "release" the Lacewing Eggs according to the instructions; it said "divide them into these wax paper pouches, then staple onto affected plants" In the process of going outside, the wind picks up one of the pouches and blows the contents out! D'oh!!!!(Homer Simpson version) Frustrated, I gently pick up as much as I can, thinking, 'I'm probably crushing all the tiny Lacewing Eggs as I'm doing this! I go over to the cucumber plant where the most infestation is and start stapling the pouches. Mind you, I'm doing this in darkness as I can't hold a flashlight and staple at the same time, so there are a few times the staples don't quite do the job it's supposed to and I drop another pouch!!! OMG, I say to myself and pick up the soily crumbs of rice husks that "hold" the eggs in. Finally I finish. I go out the next morning, and guess what? The Ants are carrying all the eggs out of the pouches and taking them to who knows where! I try to follow them, but being out of time (I gotta get to my 9~6 job) I give up...thinking there goes my investment... ants are gonna make a yummy snack out of my Lacewing babies... sigh...sob....

So far this morning I've tried dispersing the Beneficial Nematodes in a spray bottle all over the garden...then I realized, maybe these will hurt the ladybugs too! This is a disaster! What a moron for not thinking that through. So, currently my Garden is a total natural experiment. I've put my hands up and decided, 'you know what? I'll let it do what it will, this too will be a learning experience...with a $57 price tag... live and learn they say, but boy that hurts!


Sarah said...

I'm so sorry you are having so many bug problems in your garden. I applaud your efforts to control the bugs in a way that is healthy for your family and safe for our environment.
Since you are doing so many wonderful things to become more self sufficient I was wondering if you had considered getting a few laying hens? I let mine roam about freely in my vegetable garden area right up until May when I planted my seedlings. It seems like they completely annihilated most of the hatching bugs in the garden before my plants went in. I’ve had fewer problems with the bad bugs this year than I have in the past and I think the chickens had a lot do with it. They are really sweet and don’t make much of a mess. Just a thought…I hope you have a great day!

AJK said...

Thanks Sarah, I'm trying my best. This is the first year I am jumping in with both feet about producing as much of our own produce as possible and learning a lot as I go! I would LOVE to have chickens, but right now I'm up to my neck in trying to balance work, family and garden that throwing a hen on top might be the "straw that broke the camel's back" Someday though, someday.