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Garden Gleanings - My apologies to the Lady Bugs but....

Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008, at 5:51 PM

Even though the Lady Bugs are eating the aphids, there are not enough of them and they can not eat them fast enough. So, out comes the kitchen mix. (water, vegetable oil, hot sauce and organic soap.

The water is a carrier, the soap breaks up the oil into small particles, helping the mixture stick, and drying the insects natural fluids, the oils blocks the insect's breathing and the hot sauce irritates any area that it can. It should also make the plant less tasty for the insects that survive.

Our cats don't like it either. They ran out to see what I was doing and turned around about a foot away.

Yes, it washes away, but rain seems to be getting scarce so maybe it will stay longer. Actually though, I would prefer it rains and I have to re-apply.

The results are encouraging. Most of the aphids died. Those that remain will be Lady Bug food if the Lady Bugs can stand the hot sauce smell. Their larvae don't have a choice so they will stay and eat.


Comments
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Is it unusual that I have not seen any insects other than ants on my garden plants?

No lady bugs, aphids, beetles, or nothing.

I put two baby Praying Mantis in the garden a few weeks ago, but I'm sure they have moved on.

-- Posted by Mary on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 6:27 PM

Maybe the Mantis are still around Mary. They are pretty good at hiding.

Ants sometimes "farm" the aphids because they like their feces. They are known to move them around and assist them.

Watch for little white "snowflakes" on the leaves and if so, there are aphids (or white flies, but probably aphids right now).

If you don't have them, the mantis and lady bugs might be doing their jobs, or you are lucky, or both.

How are the plants doing?

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 8:05 PM

Steve, do you have a recipe for your hotsauce mix? Or do you just mix it without measuring? I had a couple of ladybugs, but I don't know where they went to, and now my upside down tomatoes are getting the snowflakes.

I was gonna get some cayenne pepper and make a spray with it, but I'd like to try your recipe.

Thanks!

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 9:46 PM

Kind of the typical chef with a little of this and a little of that but basically about a pint of water (Perrier, no just kidding)2 tablespoons of liquid soap, 2 of vegetable oil (or similar)and 2-3 of hot sauce.

When I used hot sauce I don't have to filter it, but you could use cayenne pepper and let it steep over night, then filter. It might be better to use hot water so the cayenne steeps like tea. Heat the water before you mix everything.

I would apply in the morning so it has time to dry before night. Some think applying it during the hot mid-day sun might burn the leaves. Don't know.

There are other recipes out on the internet. Some use garlic and some use a little powered clay to put a thin film on the plant. If you experiment, try small areas on your plant in case it damages the leaves.

You might come up with the next generation of natural repellent and/or insecticide.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 10:01 PM

The garden is doing great! I have baby squash now, and blooms on my pepper and tomato plants.

I just soed the orcra, and zuccini (sp?). These two plants were a last minute decision.

The thing that has been bugging me is, I have noticed if we do not have rain in about a 48 hour span, then I have to water my peppers. They begin to wilt, and look very sickly. My dirt has Spragnum Peat Moss in it to help hold moisture.

I would rather let mother nature water my garden, instead of using the city water all the time.

-- Posted by Mary on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 10:49 PM

I was thinking about the idea of spraying tomatoes with hot sauce and garlic.

That prompted me to wonder about spraying the corn and broccoli with melted butter.

(Or maybe I've just been out in the sun too long.)

-- Posted by quantumcat on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 4:42 AM

Quantuncat the details are in the timing. I think those sprays sounds super, just maybe a little later.:)

Mary, The need to water as often depends on several things.

How deep did the rain penetrate?

How long the plants have been in the ground and had a chance to grow roots into the surrounding soil.

The capability of the soil to hold the water and the obvious, how much rain actually came.

I am not asking these as questions for you to answer, just consider. Heat can also play into the plant wilting. Some plants will wilt in the heat of the mid-day sun but rebound later.

My first guess would be that the plants have not had time to build a good root system, so I would continue to water. We have one garden that dries quickly and the other holds for a few extra days.

If the plants have not been in the ground long, you might try replanting and using the diaper trick we've discussed in the garden meetings. Maybe at least on one plant as a test. I would be interested in the results. I may do that with a couple of my next plantings.

We have just about used up the rainwater gathered form last week, so pray for rain. That would be a nice addition to our meeting tonight, RAIN.

Hope to see you and everyone there. If not, we will at least enjoy a god meal.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 8:26 AM

I will try to be there. My husband is having a very long day at work due to the upcoming holiday on Monday.

I think I will be trying the diaper trick. I'll put a drenched diaper under one banana pepper plant to see what happens. The banana pepper plants are the ones that wilt really quickly.

My guess is they have not had time to root well in the ground.

-- Posted by Mary on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 8:57 AM

So you're trying the diapers in the garden this year, Steve? How do you like the results thus far?

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 2:44 PM

Have not done it yet and we just got a 16th of an inch of rain so I may not need it, Yeah, right.

I will use the diaper trick on the next individual plant planting. Next to go in are some more corn and beans but I will be starting some Chinese Bitter Melon soon, so that will probably be the test plants.

Coming to our meeting tonight?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 4:08 PM

I can't... the ol' man's working tonight, and he needs his home cooked meal, lol! One of these days I'll make it tho.

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 5:17 PM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.