On Guard In The Garden By Kristi Voli
Have you recently witnessed hungry bugs devouring your garden, or have your flowers stop blooming? Many of us have, and it can be a disheartening sight for any gardener. One day you’re strolling through your yard and admiring the beautiful blooms and then – WHAM! Overnight all your hard work looks like someone riddled them with buckshot!
“The best way to avoid total destruction of your precious annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs (and especially vegetable plants) is to be PRO-ACTIVE!”
STAY ON GUARD: When watering your plants, keep a keen eye out for evidence of insect castings (excrement) and chewing from beetles, caterpillars, slugs, etc. An all-out assault on your garden by these hungry bugs can happen in the blink of an eye, so don’t blink. The object is to catch them early before the destruction gets out of hand.
DOING IT OLD SCHOOL: The only sure way to rid your plants of cabbage worms, tomato horn worms, caterpillars and the like, is to hand pick them off and drop them in a bucket of soapy warm water. Hunting for slugs is best done at night with a flashlight. They’re easy to track - just look for the slimy trail they leave in their wake. Get your children to help. You can actually make it fun…the one who finds the most slugs wins a prize!
TIME FOR ACTION: Always read the label before you buy.
A favorite of mine is Bonide's Captain Jack’s Organic Dead Bug Brew®. It has an interesting story. This product contains Spinosad, which is a soil borne bacterium only found on a specific Caribbean island at an abandoned rum distillery! It was discovered that Spinosad killed a variety of insects including bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, gypsy moths, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, and even thrips (thrips are evil) and it’s ORGANIC!
TOO HOT TO HANDLE: The best time to apply insecticides is in the early evening, when it’s cooler. Never apply in full sun, or during the heat of the day when the ambient temps are over 80 degrees. Spraying at dusk is recommended because you want to take every precaution to avoid spraying beneficial insects like ladybugs, honey bees, butterflies, praying mantids and other pollinators. Usually by dusk, they’re retired for the night.
If you have questions on which insecticide is right for your situation, call us at 804-378-0700 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions, or stop by our garden center. We pride ourselves on having knowledgeable horticulturists on staff to assist our customers with their garden problems. Remember, the way to avoid insect issues in your garden is to stay “on guard”.