Monday, June 7, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Slimy

It was HOT this weekend and the plants really showed their appreciation as everything is coming along nicely.  The bugs have arrived, and this includes the party crashers in addition to the invited guests.  I've noticed an army of praying mantis "pups" stationed throughout the garden - it seems each plant has its own "beat cop" patrolling  the leaves looking for aphids and other undesirables to devour.

I found several cabbage worms on the cabbage plant as well as on the zucchini.  A few of the cabbage leaves started to look like swiss cheese and it didn't take long to locate the culprit.   You can see how much damage these creeps can cause in such a short period of time.  If you only have a few, and you have the time to go through the plants, you can handpick them off.  If not, you can spray some BT on the plants and that will take care of the caterpillar problem.  BT  (Bacillus Thuringiensis) is safer to use on the plants and you can get it at any garden store.

See how they try to hide in the veins of this leaf?  If you're seeing holes on the leaves of your plants,  look on the underside and see if it's the caterpillars.  If not, the holes are most likely the result of snails, slugs, earwigs or grasshoppers.  They are all bad actors and need to be dealt with severely.  The caterpillars come from the eggs laid by that white moth you see flying around your plants.  I know you've seen them on your tomato plants and they will soon turn into the dreaded Tomato Hornworm.  More on those and how I deal with those buggers in a future post.

While I consider myself a true arachnophobe,  you can't argue the benefit of having them in the garden.  Just don't try and pick them up - they don't like that.

Take a good look at this yellow sticky trap.  Those bugs are aphids, whiteflies, and other nasties that are now stickin' around on an impromptu "most wanted" poster mounted among the peppers.  This appears to work, and given its popularity with the "volunteers,"  I'll  add a few more.

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