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How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - Garden Pests
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden  -  30 Day Challenge  -  Garden Pests

Welcome to Day 22 of my 30 Day Challenge: How to Start a Vegetable Garden.

It's been a few days since I've published an article on my 30 Day Challenge. There has been very little activity in the garden aside from watering, weeding, and some tender loving care.

However, I have come across a few surprises in the last week that I wanted to share with my fellow challenge participants.

ANTS!

Since the professional tree removal team has not yet removed our rather tall tree that is shading my raised bed, I decided it was time to move all of my containers into a more sunny area. Upon moving one of my containers of carrots, I found a large infestation of ants!

Oh, how I wish I had my camera to take a picture of this for you all. I'd say there were between 50 and 100 ants that were living under this pot that was resting on a wooden pallet. But what surprised me most was the white "larva" that these ants were rapidly transporting.

After many Google images and articles, I learned that these were in fact eggs and I had just disturbed a new colony! Some ant spray and ant traps later, and the situation is improved. However, I still see more ants that I'd like around my raised bed so I think I need to lay more traps.

POTATO FLEA BEETLES!

A few days later, I was exploring my garden and noticed small holes in a few of the leaves of my potato plants. Another Google image and article search, and I learned I have a very small infestation of potato flea beetles!

As you can see from my picture, the damage is minor and based on everything that I have read, the beetles will not cause much damage to either the plant or the tubers. The only time there is cause for concern is if the infestation is large and causing major damage to the plant (causing it to die) or if the beetles are attacking a rather young seedling that is not strong enough to fight off the bugs.

Should the larva attack the tubers, you might find some surface damage to the skin of the potatoes (looks like small lines that do not run deep). Occasionally, the larva may burrow into the tuber. But, most of the time damage is on the surface of the tuber and does not affect the crop.

Since my beetles are few and far between and my potato plants are growing strong, I'm not worried that the beetles will damage my crop. However, I have researched the proper chemicals to use to treat them and plan to go to the local garden center to read more about my options should infestation become a problem.

To be honest, I am more worried about the potato flea beetles infesting my tomato plants (which they like to do) than their affect on my potato plants. I believe the potatoes and tomatoes are planted far enough apart to not be a problem, but I'm going to keep an eye on the tomatoes just in case.

30 Day Challenge

Another week where I learned a lot about my garden and the tiny little things that inhabit it.

In addition to caring for my garden and starting a new project: researching and seeding sweet potatoes, I have been picking and preserving strawberries this week. You'll see lots of information on both of these from me soon, so stay tuned.

Our gardens should provide us with plenty of fruits and vegetables for canning this year and I plan to provide my followers with as much information as possible so they too can preserve their harvest for the winter.

Follow along on my gardening and canning journey. And please keep me updated on your gardens - I enjoy hearing about them and learning from you all!


Street Talk

Yikes! Good article. Creepy crawlies are the reasons against gardening... Thanks for sharing solutions to match.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Now that we're getting some warmer weather, it was not so much fun watering and weeding my garden today. Tons of "flying things" buzzing around me. Guess they didn't like me disturbing their home!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Ick... flying things are worse:-) Got a whole batch of stuff from the garden to eat today. Including fresh peas (cooked some, ate some raw) and various types of lettuce. Yum!

  
  about 7 years ago
  

AWESOME, Cynthia! Your garden is really coming along1 My kids and I picked peas at the farm last week. I had never eaten them raw before and they were great!

  
  about 7 years ago

Raw peas from the pod are wonderful, aren't they? Glad you and your kids got to pick and eat. Right off the vine!

  
  about 7 years ago

thanks, AJ --shared with my wifey-poo, the gardener.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Hope it helps, Chris.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

what a great article, enjoyed the content.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you, Roberto!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

great as usual AJ, Pinned

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Shawn!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Barbara9  

very informative article

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Barbara!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi AJ...you can use liquid soap spray in place of chemical insecticides...This is organic...must be soap and not detergent...I think people mix Ivory liquid dishwashing soap at rate of one teaspoon to a quart then spray on plants. You can also find Liquid Soap Insecticides pre-mixed at places like Lowes or Walmart...all safe and natural...do a search for "liquid soap insecticides" and you'll get plenty of info....I've used the premixed in the past with excellent results....This is a contact spray only with no residual effects....safe to use right up to picking time. Hopefully I can get into Squidoo to update my page next week but is giving me fits right now...every time I click edit, a box comes up then when I "X" out it takes me to the Squidoo home page...very frustrating. I'm getting a cucumber most daily now. Pole beans are about 6" long and will probably fill out next week...they are still putting on new growth and more beans.... Plenty of peppers.....Many watermelons with one about softball size, and some tomatoes near tennis ball size... Corn is "tasseling" and putting on shoots where the ears will be. Should have Zuchini in next few days...Got to try the recipe you posted on Squidoo..:) BTW: Those ants may be termites if they were around wood....the liquid soap should work on them too..

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I'm going to try that liquid soap idea with some dish detergent and water, thanks for the tip! I've actually been watering my plants with our "dirty water" - my kids are now obsessed with saving the water from washing their hands and they help me water the plants with it. The lettuce seems to really thrive on this water. I guess it's also helping a little with the pests. I spray some on the leaves to protect them. We have some termites in dead stumps in another part of the yard, working on ridding myself of them, but I'm pretty sure the ones in the bed are black ants. But, a little soapy water won't hurt! I LOVE YOUR GARDEN! Great pictures on your squidoo lens as well. I cannot wait for my garden to produce as yours is. Let me know what you think of that zucchini / carrot muffin recipe on squidoo. My kids LOVE it, as do I :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Kevin, can you email me? My address is in my SA profile. I want to see if I can help with the Squidoo issues. I went in two days ago and edited one of my lenses and had no difficulties, so I'm curious what you're experiencing and how we can get around it.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

We use marigolds with tomatoes to keep away white flies and aphids. Just looked up companion planting on wiki, WOW there's a lot of natural pesticide plants out there. en(dot)wikipedia(dot)org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants, Nice article AJ!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I've got a ton of marigolds growing in my mini greenhouses in the front of the house but they haven't bloomed yet. I need to move them near the tomatoes and hope they help without flowers until they bloom. I just want to see those flowers :) I'll try that wiki website on companion planting...it may just be my weekend project. Thanks for the tip!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Awesome wiki website here, folks. Check it out!

  
  about 7 years ago
Golfspice  

Good subject matter. You could write plenty of articles on garden pests, backing up what you grow.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I'm sad to say that you are right, Golfspice. So many garden pests out there and I've never been a lover of bugs, so the whole subject matter is not enjoyable for me. But it's a gardening fact of life so I need to remain observant and research what I fine so I can catch any problems early.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

LOL...my daughter can spot a bug on the wall at 100 yds...hates them too...lol

  
  about 7 years ago

Oh the dreaded garden pests. I'm sure we're the most favoured environment in the world for most of them. We try to work around using pesticides by taking action such as picking our tomatoes early and letting them ripen indoors. Over summer it's too hot but also just tooooo buggy so we don't grow then at all. There is no easy solution although I believe there's a lot to know about soil health and companion planting that can minimise bug problems. It never occurred to me to be concerned about ants. They're just a fact of life here... even in the kitchen!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I know this is just the beginning of my garden pest adventures. And while these pests are minimal from a harming of the garden standpoint, I wanted to write the article to remind all my novice gardeners to check their plants frequently. Catch the problem before it's a problem and your garden will do just fine. But you cannot wait until it's a full blown infestation cause then it's too late.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Please please please go organic with your poisons, there are so many that do no environmental damage and do not carry through to the birds and things that eat the bugs.... remember also that not all bugs are bad quite a few are good and should be encouraged to stay in your garden... next season you might want to consider complementary planting, where you plant certain herbs and flowers near your veggies and they keep the unwanted away... research it, bloody interesting....

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I have a list of 8 or 9 different items that can be used for the beetles. I do not know if any of them are organic or not, but I assume some are since the list came from a gardening site (I know that's not guarantee). As for the ants, they are all over the raised bed and I'm unaware of how to organically keep them at bay. As for complimentary planting I do need to plan better for next year. The items that I was growing to keep unwanteds away haven't developed enough to do their jobs yet. Next year I need to start those seeds earlier. So much more to learn...

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good on you AJ by the time you're finished we will have a fantastic book....

  
  about 7 years ago

I'm sure you won't let those garden pests slow you and your garden down. I too like Rob's suggestion to try and stay organic for any pesticides. So much to learn but that's part of the fun isn't it. It's great seeing so many experienced gardeners offering their experiences and tips to your articles

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Jay, I won't let those bugs get the best of my veggies, or me! I am blessed to have so many "experts" helping me along my journey. I have learned so much from each one of them!

  
  about 7 years ago

Yes Rob. I agree. The garden centre is pretty switched on nowadays from this angle. I guess it's a concern for many people who are making the effort to grow their own foods.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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