Finally, the warmth of the sun and a soft summer rain and our gardens are finally starting to flourish and grow after all our hard work. Lettuce is getting ready to harvest, broccoli and squash are coming along, our cucumber plants are looking good…it’s all so exciting! Guess who else is excited about all your hard work and ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor? The bugs! 😉
We planned, we’ve prepared our soil, we planted and now we are excited about everything coming to life in our gardens. Unfortunately, bugs invading our gardens and feasting on our plants is a common problem. Here are a couple we have to keep our eyes out for.
Flea beetles, which appear on the leaves on new seedlings or on transplants, can leave little holes in the leaves, when you set them out. Once you get past the 2 or 4 leaf stage, your plant will probably be fine, and tolerate this insect. They are common in leaf lettuce, swiss chard, and any plant with soft tissue leaves.
If you see them on your plants one option is to spray them with insecticide soap. Wile’s Lake Farm Market carries a few different insecticides which are in the organic selection, so that you don’t have to worry about eating the plants and vegetables you may have sprayed.
Cucumber beetles are also very common. They are about 2 cm long and have very distinguished yellowish/green stripes on their back and are easy to identify. They like to go after squash, melons, pumpkins, zucchini, cucumber, etc. Cucumber beetle also carry and spread a disease called bacterial wilt. Plants infected with the disease begin to wilt and die.
Picking them off and squashing them or dropping them into a bucket of soapy water, is the best way to handle them. Keeping dead plant material out of your garden at the end of the season will deter them from laying eggs there. Planting flowers such as marigolds can also attract other insects that attack and eat cucumber beetles.
Keeping your bug problem under control early will make a big difference. Dried and crushed egg shells or coffee grounds, sprinkled around some plants will also deter some insects like flea beetles and slugs. Weeding, removing dead plant material and planting some marigolds, sunflowers and even dill can help control and manage the bug population in your garden.
Add a “bug check” to your list of garden duties so that if you do see any, you can deal with them early. Dealing with insects is a common problem, but if we are proactive we can hopefully control and prevent them as much as possible and enjoy all that our garden has to offer.
“Grow with Me and Wile’s Lake Farm Market” is sponsored by Wile’s Lake Farm Market located in Wileville, Nova Scotia. They carry several different varieties of insecticides to assist you with keeping bugs out of your garden. Their knowledgeable staff is also available to answer any questions you might have.