Grasshoppers destroyed my winter garden

xaphoo(9)November 3, 2013

I'm gardening vegetables for the first time. I planted seeds of winter crops in September and early October in a 10x40' plot of 50/50 clayish native soil and compost and for a while I was very optimistic. Beans, peas, cilantro, onions, various greens were coming up fine. Then, about two weeks ago, grasshoppers started to appear in the yard - it turns out that they love almost everything in the garden and have chewed most of it to the ground. Arugula, beans, peas, and cilantro were spared but the onions, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, kale and chard seem to be completely destroyed.

Is there anything I can do to get rid of these pests? Is there any hope for salvaging this garden? I'm in the Phoenix area.

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Oops, that's a 10x4 plot, not 10x40. I should also mention that most of my backyard is scraggly weeds.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 1:20PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I rarely see a grasshopper, but I don't let weeds get out of control. I suspect they live in the weeds and thought you just put out a tasty buffet. !) I'd get rid of the weeds; 2) I'd continue to water what's left of your plants and some might come back. Can you make a simple frame and cover it with screen cloth? It doesn't have to be fancy or pretty, just effective.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 2:47PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

kaphoo, I feel your pain! I've been battling 'hoppers for years and find the only real solution is to just keep them out of the bed with a barrier. I use a large mosquito net that I bought from an army surplus store designed to be used over a cot (sleeping cot). I'll post a picture at the bottom. It works well with my 4'x6' raised beds. A 10' length of 1/2" pvc pipe bends nicely, I use 3 of them (back, front and center of the bed) then drape the netting over the hoops. Anchor the netting to the hoops with large binder clips at the bottom.

All the research I have done confirms what tomatofreak notes above: remove debris because that is where the breed and over-winter. But I do not want to give up the great mulch under the lady banks rose hedge. So it's a conundrum for sure. Next spring I will try a product from Arbico Organics in Tucson. The rep there told me: The best time to apply the Semaspore is when the grasshoppers are ü to þ of an inch long. Typically right after they have started hatching is the best time to get them. In Phx, they typically hatch in the spring.

Link below.

My Hopper Be Gone beds.............hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Semaspore

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 11:37AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Lookin' good, Mary!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:20PM
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i've been using cold-pressed neem oil for about a year now, which is generally effective for neutralising every variety of insect i have observed. eg. spider mites stop breeding and wander around and die off. most things seem to find it avoidable.

i've had a few hoppers sitting in my tomato plants august-october, used to spray around them every 4-5 days as there were only a few and they didn't do much damage. so, i can't confirm that it will do the job, but i'd expect that it, or a similar foliar application (garlic, peppers, tobacco, rosemary..) would reduce attrition.

at least, i recommend stocking neem for every ardent gardener. (i've heard that green light is not cold pressed, which removes some of the compounds. i use dyna-gro, use a drop of surfactant/dishsoap in a hand sprayer).

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Don't know if you have grasshoppers. I see 'crickets' roaming my garden in the evenings. Where are all the bug eating birds when you need them? ugh?

I use cut up plastic water bottles to provide sleeves around my tender seedlings. When the plants get large enough and grow over the plastic sleeve, they can handle a bite or three.

Also is a minor barrier to the little birdies that like a little of green with their sunflower seeds.

Has worked for my peas, broccoli, chard and lettuce seedlings. Radishes, garlic, and carrots don't seem to be all that tasty for the ground critters to eat.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:08PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Mary, I always love seeing pics of your garden, thanks for this latest one. I agree, the most effective way is with a barrier. I don't see many, but if I did, I'd copy you for sure! Happy gardening all!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Nice pic marymcp. Good inspiration. Now how about getting rid of pill bugs. Every year they have eaten thru the stems of my zucchini and other seedlings.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:38PM
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Mary please give a little more info on the binder clips if you can.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 4:38PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Plain old office supply store binder clips - large ones that will expand enough to encircle a 1/2 inch pvc. I posted on another forum about these fancy clips I found for holding the mosquito netting to the pvc piping and someone pointed out that plain, ordinary black binder clips work just fine. As I've said before - I can over-engineer anything! :=))

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 5:16PM
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DWA in AZ Sunset zone 12(9a Tucson AZ)

Grasshoppers and harvester ants and who knows what else destroyed my garden too.

Do the grasshoppers persist through the winter? Or the ants?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Thanks Mary --That's what we thought they were

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 9:49AM
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