Bugs Are Like Teenagers….

Everyone’s got bugs.  I hope.  Bugs are a sign of a good ecosystem.  They are food for other bugs, birds, frogs, and bats.  Bats are a great way to get rid of a lingering house guest.  An evening garden tour?  Dip, Duck, Dodge, and Dive.  Everyone wins.

But just like planning a high school party, there needs to be a balance. There’s a fine line between sharing pizza with a couple buds and infestation.  A cucumber beetle here, some earwigs there, can be a harmless scenario if you made the party private on Facebook.  But if you look out your window and see swarms of crop tops and flip flops…..you may need to take defensive action.

Classical music and grandparents are some of your strongest defenses against teenagers.  Excessive lighting, awkward silence, and a fridge that is disguised into the cupboards are also handy tricks to keep in your back pocket.

The garden bugs aren’t as easy.  But there are lines of prevention and defense that you can take.  Here are 2 handy resources:

BugBook Written by Someone Else, but I find it pretty good.

Organic Pest Management White Paper Written by Me.

This is the time of year when it’s important to not let your guard down.  This morning I got caught up admiring the size of my squash plants and their pretty flowers, when I gave myself a shake, dropped to the ground, and did 50.  For each push-up, I snuck my head under a big leaf to check for insect eggs.  When I saw some, I one-armed the next push-up to scape the eggs off with my nail of the free hand.  It’s not easy being a garden ninja.

Apparently no one else on the internet is doing push ups in the squash patch.

Now where are those squash leaves?

Check out the Prevention tips in both of the above documents and plan for next year.  Row Cover is a great way to start out.  We will be selling it at the first 4 Farmer’s Markets next season in custom size cuts.  And at the Community Garden Annual Opening 2015.

Here are some extra bug tips:

– Diatomaceous Earth (to be used sparingly as it is can harm all bugs) can be found at farm supply stores – I know of the one in Stayner.  I have also seen it in smaller portions at the Health Food Store in Thornbury.

– Toad, bat, and bird houses around the garden are a great way to attract insect predators.

– There are loads of plants that attract beneficial insects:  Loveage, dill, zinnias, lots of flowers, etc.

 

 

 

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