This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

bugs on the vegetable seedlings

Most of the bugs I have seen in my garden this year have only been eating the very young seedlings and have gone away as the transplants have established themselves.

I was very disappointed by the heavy leaf miner damage to the beet seedlings.  I don't know any remedy for this, so I just ignored it. Now it seems that the new leaves are not getting the same damage. Hopefully the plants will continue to outgrow the miners.

bugs 196 bugs 195

My potatoes have a bit of flea beetle damage - not bad. This is a pretty regular problem in my garden early in the season. The flea beetles like the dry dusty weather, and the rain we are having now is probably reducing their numbers. Sometime I plant marigolds to chase them away, but I'm afraid these only look pretty and don't do a lot for the beetle problem. They look pretty and then they get covered by the vigorous potato plants.

 bugs 044

I was surprised to see squash beetles already.  A couple weeks ago, there were striped beetles on nearly all of my baby seedlings. I gently tapped the plants to knock the beetles to the ground and then (yuck) squished them (eeu). I haven't seen any since. Fingers crossed. The photo below is a particularly hard hit plant - others are looking much better than this.

bugs 159 bugs 030

I also have some unknown pest damaging spinach and bok choy. I can't see any bugs and its eating fairly large holes in the plants. So my guess is slugs.Oh well. I know there are lots of organic solutions. I will have to look these up. (Or cheat and buy some slug pellets.)

bugs 059 bugs 201
bugs 047 bugs 049

Earlier in the season (a month ago), my broccoli was badly eaten by some pest. Entire young plants were eaten to the stem. I was thinking slugs, white cabbage worm or maybe even chipmunks. Since I didn't see any of these on the plants, I covered the patch with floating row cover. The plants are really beautiful now. I have left the cover on but the plants are starting to burst out if it. I love it when something as simple as row cover can solve a problem.

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Blogger The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Flea beetles. I've seen some of them in the patch. Haven't been much of an issue thus far. :)

June 04, 2012 8:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have problem with striped beetles too, they are so many around my yard, hope that I can find way to get rid of them.


June 04, 2012 9:07 AM

Anonymous Diary of a Tomato said...

I knew I'd become a gardener when I became willing to squish bugs — yuck and eeu is right! The jury's still out, but so far it seems our using seaweed mulch has helped to keep the slugs away...

June 05, 2012 8:50 AM

Blogger (@) said...

Doesn't copper work with the slugs? and is covering my corn and tomatoes the only organic thing to do? they are being eaten. Your vegetable garden is beautifull.

June 05, 2012 1:31 PM

Anonymous Kimberly said...

Thank you for documenting your pests and their damage. It makes me feel better to know that it is not just a problem of the inexperienced gardner!! I love your site and use it often as a guide :)

June 06, 2012 7:08 PM

Blogger Pam said...

Re: floating row cover. I plant mesclun seed and red lettuce seedlings in late summer, cover the beds with row cover. If my timing is right, I'll have fresh salads from late Oct 'til mid-May. I've had success in very cold winters so think many people can do this. Get a pack of mesclun and experiment - it's luxurious to have great salads in Jan & Feb!

A savvy farmer I "met" on Gardenweb (farmerdilla) always covers eggplant with row cover, says that's the only way he can get a crop before insects destroy the eggplant.

June 07, 2012 8:16 PM

Blogger Holly said...

I also have flea beetles on my potatoes this year. I've never had them in past years so I had to look up what they were. They don't seem to be causing too much of a problem. I made the same mistake and planted a couple of african marigolds by my potatoes and they are being taken over/ I was hoping they would get tall fast enough to grow through the potato leaves, but no luck so far. And today I accidentally skewered a new potato with my trowel..oops!

June 08, 2012 1:30 PM

Blogger Wes Crow said...

I have flea beetles on my potato plants. I found that Diatomaceous Earth works pretty well against flea beetles. It is organic and food grade but it keeps them away for a while anyway. You will have to reapply it now and again.

The other critter I believe is called a blister beetle. I don't know much about it though.

June 13, 2012 9:18 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Yesterday in the rain, I went my garden and was horrified at the number of slugs on the cabbage leaves! I never see them in the sunshine when I usually garden. I thought I'd "pick" a few. But what do you do with them after that? I put them on the wood edge of the bed and stepped. Yuck. I picked handfuls, a couple dozen at least. I'm sure there were more still eating the cabbage, but I was feeling really queezy so I left.

June 14, 2012 3:27 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I haven't heard of using copper for slugs (has anyone else?), only Sluggo, picking, and row covers seem to work for me.

Not too easy to cover corn or tomatoes with row cover!!

Tomato: The main tomato problem I am familiar with is fungal diseases. Occasionally squirrels eat the fruits in the dry hot weather and sometimes a hornworm caterpillar will cause a problem. For squirrel problems, I pick the tomatoes once they start to show any color and ripen them inside. Since it seems like we are off to a bad fungi season with all this rain, I am planning to pick up some copper sulfate spray and start using this. I was talking with a very experienced gardener the other day who recommends using it before every rain. He says getting it one before is the only way to protect the plants - once it rains its too late. Of course, he said, you can spray after the rain to protect the plants during the next rain. Copper sulfate is approved for organic gardeners and is, I think, the only organic approved anti-fungal agent. It doesn't kill fungi, just protects the plants and delays fungal growth.

For corn: there are so many pests I am not growing corn this year. Try releasing parasitic wasps if you have corn borers (most common is the corn ear worm though). To protect ears from birds, try wrapping ears with a stockings or tape before ears are full, or, after ears are full, cover each ear with a paper bag and secure it closed at the base with a tie.

June 14, 2012 3:49 PM


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