By Jannie Vaught
With all the very stormy Spring we are having and all the up and down temperatures I am looking forward to Summer. We need sunshine to ripen the tomatoes and kick start the lagging flowering. It is just an unusual weather year. This week I would like to bring up some issues I am having this season with insects. Cabbage moths and now grasshoppers. For cabbage moth larva devouring your broccoli, cabbage, mustards and cauliflower, and collards, in general, Brassica plants.
There are 3 main ways of repelling the moths from laying their eggs on their host plants.
1: Fine netting as covers.
2: Companion planting such as buckwheat and yarrow close to your plants to attract the beneficial predators also planting, tansy, wormwood, tomatoes, thyme peppermint, and marigolds to repel the worms
3: Decoys, plant a single brassica such as broccoli in a corner of the garden as their food and let them have it then spray it with neem oil. Also, check under leaves to see tiny eggs and worms. You will notice swiss cheese holes in the leaves. If on cabbage they will often get the outer leaves and not the center tight area. The very tenacious grasshopper has arrived with a hoard of tiny jumpers. There are many recommendations for this. Till the garden in the fall to expose the eggs. Protect your plants by covering them with insect netting. Neem oil, Nolo bait. It is said that grasshoppers hate the smell of garlic and hot peppers. Brew up some fresh garlic, cayenne peppers, or powder, bring to a simmer, strain, and place in a spray bottle filling with water and spray away. Diatomaceous earth in a shaker can also help with all exoskeleton insects, Always use a face mask when using this as it can irritate your nose and airways. Also, I have 2 small flocks of chickens. and when the garden is grown-up enough I let them have some time in the garden and they are the best grasshopper and moth catchers. But I do close them out if they get destructive with scratching. You just have to watch. Planting parsley, or arugula every few rows seems to help also.
If you planted your summer squash and your seeing signs of vine borer use BT in a large needle and inject the vines that are closest to the base of the plant, I have found they will travel up the hollow vine of squash and even cucumber. The insect looks like a large black fly with red on the body. They lay the egg by injecting it into the vine and the egg hatches and the larva eats the vine and suddenly you have a beautiful plant than a wilted dead plant. I do no compost these right away, again I use my helpful hens and they will get them eaten, and when they are dried out they get chopped up and go to compost.
Since we are very rainy with soil still wet it is a challenging time to even walk into the garden without damaging the soil, and your plants. When I have some drying I make good work with it and prune tomatoes and tie, pull weeds, and pick what is ripe.
Yes, I am looking forward to summer and sunshine.
Growing Green With Jannie