Preventative Garden Maintenance

Finally, some sun. With a few sunny days this week, we saw most of the veggies and flowers doing quite well. Unfortunately, we also saw some early signs and evidence of pests beginning to target our veggies. Early detection of these garden pests allowed for us to take early and preventative measures to be sure they don't take over.
The pests of concern this week were snails, slugs, and flea beetles. First up, the snails and slugs. After a bit of research, we found that the slugs and snails were most likely destroying the bean leaves. When we first noticed the issue, we checked every plant for eggs, and insects. Since there was no evidence of any other pests, we decided to deal with the snail and slug issue. In the past, the organic garden has attempted to use beer to lure snails and slugs into containers. This process turned out to be quite messy and unattractive to have occurring in the garden. The results of the beer lure weren't helpful enough to be worth the effort. Since these attempts, we've been using Sluggo to deal with the snail and slug problem. The active ingredient in Sluggo, iron phosphate, is palatable to slugs and snails. Upon consumption however, they stop feeding and will most likely seek a less exposed place to reside.
Slugs and snails aren't the only pests on the radar. We've also identified a few flea beetles on multiple eggplants. The hoop houses seem to be providing some protection from pests. All of the plants that had flea beetles on then were outside of the hoop houses. While we've been continuing to monitor the presence of flea beetles, we haven't taken action to remove them. The plan to deal with them in the near future is to use neem oil. A solution of neem oil and water will be sprayed on affected plants. The neem oil works to suppress the appetite of insects such as the flea beetle, causing them to loose interest in feeding on plant leaves.

We'll see what next week brings but, for now it seems we have garden pests under control. Early detection and early action allowed for the problems to remain under control, minimizing the damage done to the garden. So far, the key to early detection has been regular walk through observation of every variety.

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