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Despite my earlier protestations, and with much appreciated assistance, I not only planted what turned out to be an overfilled garden, I har...

May 27, 2010

Pesky Critters In The Garden

So I have been diligently planting away in the garden. I planted several cabbages (10 to be exact) not including 2 red cabbages. I am now down to 1 red cabbage and 3 round dutch cabbages. I have searched and searched and there is not a trace of an insect presence. Then a couple days ago I see a furry little guy racing to get to the main fence line. Oh he made it this time, but the battle between me and Mr. Chipmunk is now on. I have waited years literally to have a decent asparagus harvest, and could not figure out why I was getting little to no shoots. Well, now I know... This little guy and his or her family will be fat fatties if they keep consuming produce at the speed of my plantings. If they just preferred one type of vegetable I would be fine, but the fact that they are sampling or totally devouring baby cabbages and even an jalapeƱo plant almost before my eyes.....Oh I'm almost speechless!  This lead me to click on  a link about getting rid of most common garden pests. There was information on the type of insects to look out for, but not how to get rid of them. Nor was there any information about furry visitors too small to be dissuaded by fencing or a cocker-beagle. After reading this article I was inspired to share some of the gardening wisdom I have been researching and implementing right here at home.

HERE IS A LITTLE OF MY 2CENTS ON HANDLLING PESTS.

  1. A lot of insect issues in the garden can be helped by learning the art of companion planting and rotating your crops. It won't solve the problem 100% or maybe it will, but it is worth investigating. I have been growing Borage, Nasturtium, and various herbs to counteract some of the damage to my vegetable garden. This worked really well until it came to grasshoppers which are another nuisance you have to worry about in your garden. 
  2. If you want to get rid of my nemesis the grasshopper here is what I suggest. Pretty much I had my kids and a couple neighborhood kids catch all they could and do what kids do best to bugs. Squish them to their hearts content!  I loved the movie ANTs and Ant Bully, and even BUGS by Disney. I am not suggesting animal cruelty but I am all for natural insecticide. School age kids with buckets of hoppers and chewers and borers is a good thing. They are learning about how to wage war on a tomatos enemy. 
  3. What is more natural than this method for most pesky bugs in the garden? If your issue is not the grasshopper, and is something like an Aphid or cabbage worm you may want to try your very own natural insecticide soap made up of simple products most people have on hand. This includes a quart or so of water with a tablespoon or two of liquid soap (dish liquid). You can strengthen the solution for surlier bugs and add a tablespoon or two of rubbing alcohol. There are several websites that give exact recipes and "bonus" information.
  4. Another option I use and highly recommend is purchasing helpful insects for your garden. Aphids a problem? Pick up a bag of ladybugs from your local nursery or order online. You can also purchase preying mantis eggs (aka Mantid Eggs) These voracious eaters will consume pretty much any and all bugs even their own kind if they can get their leg/arm thingies on. I will buy these again this year, however my daughter has seen a couple from last year who are still sticking around. Go Mantids Go!!!!
This is really a side note and not a real tip, but my son and I found out that grasshoppers are a delicacy to our pet hamster...Who Knew? Although I wouldn't suggest garden variety grasshoppers where insecticide is used, you can pick them up at a pet store in your are most likely or their cousins the cricket. P.S. Don't feed your hamster more than one grasshopper I mean "store bought cricket" a week. They are just supposed to be a protein boost or treat to supplement their diet of yummy seeds nuts and fruit.