we are having a pretty good year in the garden – i’ll post photos some time in the near future. sorry for the delay in posts, it’s been a busy summer, this is the new norm, don’t expect it to get better.
regardless of the garden doing well, i have been able to spot some so called “pests”. part of the reason i think i’ve been able to spot them is that unlike other years i’ve actually taken an interest in the home garden. the main reason for the sudden interest is mostly that it’s on my own land – not someone else’s. i feel more invested. combined with s’s busy schedule with the new print shop she has opened i find myself poking about the garden more. and that means noticing more critters lurking about.
first up, the cabbage worm. you can always tell inexperienced vegetable gardeners when they celebrate the lovely white butterflies flittering about the garden. these are of course the adults of the cabbage worm, which can do some serious damage very quickly.
best defense = good crop rotation, and the use of row cover. best offense = hand picking, or if you have a large garden or things get out of control, dipel.
what this carrot worm was doing clinging to the side of this raised bed, i don’t know. i didn’t see any damage to the carrots in this very same raised beds, but maybe i just missed them. this is a nice photo of the carrot worm, they eat the hell out of carrots, parsley, dill and others in the umbelliferae family. unlike the cabbage worms they are easy to see and make hand picking simpler.
best defense = crop rotation and row cover. best offense = hand picking and dipel if you are dealing with massive infestation . be aware that these carrot worms become the lovely eastern black swallowtail butterfly. i happen to like them a lot, and tend to pick the caterpillars off and find a new home for them on some queen anne’s lace (wild carrot) in a lot close by. you should also know that the caterpillars when disturbed like to shoot out little horn looking things (properly called osmeterium) from their heads – these are self defense mechanism designed to deter you from attacking, but will cause no harm to you.
oh the last thing i want to see is some japanese beetles, so frustrating, so quick to damage. for the first seven years of gardening in detroit i never spotted a one and then slowly i’ve been seeing more and more beetles, and more and more damage.
best defense = crop rotation, row cover. best offense = had picking. if nothing else it makes you feel better to squish them.
its pretty unusually that we see this one – the adult or the juvenile. most of the time we just see the damage done. this is the adult of the squash vine borer; a clear winged moth. where there are adults there are juveniles, which are who really do the damage. most of the time we just notice that our plant is wilting all the time even when it has plenty of water.some investigation at the base of the plant and you are likely to see this sort of damage, a rotting stem that looks like a bunch of crusty snot is coming out of it (the snotty looking stuff is frass aka bug shit).
best defense = crop rotation, row cover, throwing dirt up on the stems when you cultivate, and succession planting. best offense = hardly any.
not a pest, but often thought to be are these little alligator looking bugs. i’ve never seen this many of these little buggers in my life, all because of the massive aphid outbreak they are feeding on. the aphids i’m of course not happy to see but the little alligators i am. they are in fact the larva of lady bird beetles aka lady bugs. most folks are excited to see lady bugs, i usually see them as a sign of an aphid outbreak, their favorite food. still i’m happier to see them rather than not.
our finally bug is the oh so pesky flea beetle. prior to moving to detroit i almost never had flea beetle issues, but in detroit, they are hard core. if you can’t see em, they are the little dark spots, next to the holes in the leaves. a strong crop of flea beetle can destroy yr crop in a couple of days. it’s pretty amazing what such small creatures can do in a couple of days if working together.
best defense = crop rotation and row cover. best offense = diatomaceous earth.
what pest are you dealing with in yr garden this year?