Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's summer, The leaf footed Stink Bugs Have Arrived

I was in the garden this morning, picking produce when i found this little crowd gathered on one of my tomatoes.  

This is the nymph of the leaf footed stink bug.  After they hatch out, they prefer to hang out in groups, sucking the juices out of tomatoes (their preferred crop) or peppers.  Have you ever noticed little, hard white spots on your tomatoes after they've ripened?  I've seen them in years past, on the plum tomatoes I was growing. This and the resulting adults are the culprits.

I had invested in a spray bottle earlier in the year, figuring I'd try a good spray of ivory soap solution on most pests before moving on to Bt or some other organic deterrent.

It worked!  I kept spraying until they stopped moving.  Now the trick will be to stay ahead of Momma Stink bug and destroy her children every time I see them until I can put an end to her and her sisters.  

I LOVE square foot gardening.  When you follow the system as described by Mel Bartholomew in his book Square Foot Gardening, you are closed to your plants, the plants themselves are closer together, there's hardly any weeding to be done, you can take care of problems quickly - sometimes even finding the bad guys before they have a chance to wreck havoc on your garden.  It really is a wonderful system!  I have an ambitious 6 - 4' x 4' garden but even few boxes produce a satisfactory harvest.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eliminating Fire Any Colonies, Pests from Your Garden: Organic Gardening

Eliminating Fire Any Colonies, Pests from Your Garden: Organic Gardening (click on link)

fire antFor those of us living in the south, we struggle with a problem our friends in the north do not...Fire Ants.  These ants have a nasty habit of swarming when their mound is disturbed and biting, biting, biting which leaves welts on your skin that itch like the dickens.  If you scratch them the resulting scab remains for weeks and weeks at a time.  Rubbing alcohol applied immediately after being bitten seems to reduce or even prevent the welt from forming.  They are a gift from south of the boarder and have been making their way into the US.  Areas that don't experience a hard frost are plagued with them.  Most folks use "Fire Ant" killer, a harsh chemical that does destroy the mount but it's not something you want to put in your vegetable beds and by transfere eat it yourself.

I wanted to share this information from the Organic Gardening magazine people cause I used one of the suggestions.  Earlier in the year as I was moving from my winter garden to my summer garden I had several fire ant mounds in at least two of my 4' x 4' boxes.  With the help of a visiting family member, we poured at least 3 - 4 gallons of scalding hot water on each of the mounds and it worked.  The ant colony was destroyed and I have been ant "free" in those boxes ever since.