try inspecting plants at night - you'll learn things

engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)June 26, 2008

First of all, I inspect my plants WAY too often. And of course, I have hand-picked tons of pests, especially Mr. tomato hornworm, and eggs as well. One thing that had me baffled was - why was there damage to my okra leaves, but hardly ever did I see any pests? So, I couldn't sleep one night, and went out with my shotgun and flashlight at 3 am. WOW!, totally different world out there. Completely different pests than you see in the daytime. I now - have the full picture. You should try it, the moths that lay most of the eggs will definitely be there. I hope this is of some help to all.....

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m_lorne(5b)

My wife laughs at me when sees me heading for the door at 11:00 with my rubber boots and my flashlight.

"Slug hunting again?"

"Yup."

:-)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 10:17AM
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the_seventh_worm(Zone 6)

That is taking it to the extreme :-) Do you use any bug sprays of any kind (organic, or otherwise)?

[Personally, I am sort of ambivalent on bugs. In my ideal world, the things (good bugs, bad bugs, the plants themselves) would find a stable equilibrium by themselves, without too much intervention from me. So I am adopting a laissez faire policy for the time.]

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 10:57AM
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m_lorne(5b)

I use a pair of bbq tongs.

While I would too like to have that equilibrium and take a laissez-faire policy, the slugs have forced me to pull my head lettuce early, they are constantly attacking my pepper plants, destroying my strawberries and invading my marigolds. If I took a laissez-faire approach, there wouldn't be much left.

Sorry to hijack the thread...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 11:11AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

You didn't hijack the thread.....I use neem , but just can't bring myself to depend on it, solely. I have a whole bag of sevendust, but don't want to use it - unless there's no other option. It's always good to have a backup plan. I really don't mind tending to it at all, it's very rewarding.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 11:39AM
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solanaceae

Some organic solutions.

Non reactive Diatomaceous earth (DE) will stop slugs. Its basically non toxic. Dried eggs shell ground up also is reported to have this effect. Coffee grounds is also another measure. They do not typically contain doses of caffeine lethal to them but act as a deterrent. If you use a 2% solution of caffeine it is lethal to slugs.

http://www.hort.wisc.edu/mastergardener/Features/pesticides/caffeine/caffeine.htm

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 2:50PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

My biggest broblem at night is the pesky wabbit.

John

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 5:20PM
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dapper

I finally got out last night to look around. It was around midnight, all was quite, except for each of my steps pressing the brittle grass with each step. (No rain in 5 weeks will do that) I turn the flash light on without making a sound. Start snooping around each of my 17 boxes, looking under leaves as I scan each plant. What to my surprise, NOTHING! I didn't see one bug, not an ant, not a spider, absolutely nothing. I did however see a few lightening bugs.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 8:51AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

I envy you, then - Dapper. There's a big party that goes on in my garden every night. Of course when I show up with the flashlight and shotgun, the moths take off. Oh yeah, I haven't shot at anything yet, but if any animal can somehow get in there - he's toast!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:20AM
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oasis_226(z7b Atlanta GA)

It's a bit of work, but the best slug killer I know is ... frogs. I have a pond about 150 feet from my garden, and get many hundreds of babies every spring. I take some over (after they are frogs, not tadpoles), make sure I have them a tray of shady water (terra cotta pot bottom) that I change every day or two when I water anyway and I get an army of efficient and independent bug killers. They like it under the plants and I even stick them directly in the beds. THey also burrow easily into the mix, proiding them free housing and me aeration.

Only thing bad is you then have this moving sea of frogs across the garden sometimes when you walk around as they hop away, and occasionally frog guts on your shoes.

Anyway, I read that slugs are among their favorite foods, and that a single frog can eat 500 slugs in a lifetime, so that's a lot of pest control for the price of a dish of water every couple of days. Don't know if it's true or not, but among the bugs I've seen this year, not one slug.

Anyone else heard the frog thing???

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:24AM
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