experimental planting and fending off the leek moth

Jack admiring the broccoli starts.
We're two weeks into the summer season and the garden is really starting to take shape! In the past two weeks we've planted most of the beds, repaired some of our garden infrastructure, and had our first challenge with critters munching on our plants. The weather has been absolutely beautiful and even Wednesday's rain couldn't hamper this season's crew as they prepared beds and encouraged seedlings to take root.

We now have in the garden tomatoes, flowers, kale, peppers, beets, carrots, spinach, lettuce, onions, broccoli, radishes, brussels sprouts, peas, herbs, and cabbage. We're also experimenting with a couple types of perennials like sorrel and bee balm. There are some varieties of veggies that are our go-to's but we also like to experiment. Seed companies are always coming out with improved varieties or varieties with slightly different qualities so it's interesting to constantly try new things. You may find that certain kinds are more suited to your garden environment, cultivation preferences, or can be preserved better in one way or another.

Jess planting marigolds.

We also are finding it exciting to experiment with companion planting. This past week we planted cosmos and cilantro in our tomato and pepper beds after reading that they can help to control potential pests. We also planted marigolds near our beans, squash, and cucumbers. There are lots of great books out there to help you with companion planting. One of the books we use is Carrots Love Tomatoes, a classic companion gardener's handbook.

A leek moth larva eating our garlic.
Unfortunately for garlic lovers, we also noticed this week that the leek moth has found our garlic patch and is munching away, endangering the early season scapes we love so much. the leek moth is a species which was introduced into eastern Canada relatively recently and is spreading down into New England. So far, there seem to be few organic means of controlling the leek moth. We've resorted mostly to "handpicking"- searching each plant and squishing the individuals we find- and covering the plants at night which should prevent the nocturnal moth from laying fresh batches of eggs. We've also been looking into using a specific strain of Bt which is supposed to effect the larvae stage of the leek moth and keep them from maturing into adults. Cornell has a good page for more information and how to identify them.

Stay tuned on updates from the garden and don't forget to like our Facebook page! Please feel free to send us any questions, comments, or suggestions. Look out for the leek moth and happy gardening!


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