Monday, July 09, 2012

Garden Pests

I have had my fair share of pests this year.  Some I have never seen or heard of before.  I am not sure if the early spring, lack of winter, or last year's drought brought on the surplus bug population, but keeping them off my plants has been quite a feat.

Of all my troubles, the tomatoes have been hit the hardest.  My first problem began when I noticed holes throughout some of the leaves on my cherry tomatoes.  Underneath the leaves, I found a lot of army worms. Tons.  All over my plant!  I have never squished so many bugs in my life.  I am certain that if the Lord intended the organic gardener to put up with these creatures, then surely green gut goo is good for the skin.

Army Worms

I had just begun to get the leaf-eating worms under control, when these guys showed up.  Leaf-legged bugs. A true test of my organic gardening skills and tenacity.  They weren't so easy to squish.  They could anticipate my every move.  If I tried to sneak up behind them, they would move to the right, to the left, under the leaf, or fly away.  And there were so many of them!!!

I first tried a spray with essential oils, that didn't do anything.

Then I tried to catch them by hand, they're too fast.  Or I"m too slow.

I even walked around with a pair of flip flops and slapped those boogers between the two shoes in order to get a good squish on them.  It worked OK until I knocked a few tomatoes off, and squished several cherry tomatoes that unfortunately got in the way.

What finally worked was my husband's shop vac.  I cannot express the joy I felt at the sound of THWOP........ THWOP, THWOP, as bug by bug was being sucked up into the vacuum.  And just to be sure they didn't try to escape after being sucked into that black hole, I placed a plastic baggie over the end of the nozzle and secured a rubber band around it to make sure it stayed on.  I have not been rid of them completely, but there are fewer of them now and it's easier to control.

Leaf-legged Bug

Oh, the horror of finding this creepy creature among your tomatoes.  I have never seen such an animal strip the leaves and fruit from a plant so quickly in my life.  This is one I WILL NOT squish with my bare hands.  I will either sacrifice the branch this tomato worm is occupying, carrying it off to be stomped, or call one of my boys over to perform the duty of eliminating this disgusting creature.

Tomato Worm

And, of course, the bane of my existence.......those obnoxious squirrels.  I tried all the advice I could find on getting rid of them.  Cayenne pepper, CDs, a BB gun placed appropriately near my back door.....nothing worked.  Then, I got the bright idea to get a few cats.  Three to be exact.  Six week old kittens, who, until I realized after it was too late, will be of no use to my garden until NEXT year.  As it stands now, next season we are putting up a fence, and placing the cats outside.  Maybe then, I'll have my tomatoes back

Squirrel Damage

I discovered cucumber beetles just lately.  They killed one of my cantaloupe vines, one of my watermelon vines, and four of my cucumber vines.  I am praying I finally have the situation under control, as I really can't stand to lose any more vegetables!  I only wish I had known what was happening to them sooner.

The birds are getting into the figs, but this year we have plenty for us AND the birds.

This little angel is not so much of a pest, but he sure can do some damage to my tomatoes!  When he's out there "helping" I can't say too many cherry tomatoes make it in the house.

Join me at the Homestead Barn Hop!


SchneiderPeeps said...

The shop vac idea is great!! We've had those leaffooted bugs and they are very invasive. Our tomatoes are just about done so I'm not seeing many any more but you can be that next season I will be getting out the shop vac.

Homestead Journey said...

They are horrible, pesky things. The shop vac did wonders, AND I didn't have to get my hands dirty. ;D

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