welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Thursday, August 27, 2020

garden news-pests in the garden

when i gardened at the country n i had more pests to deal with than i have here at the community garden
one beetle was a gray hard shelled beetle called a blister beetle
it would come through in batches in the hot summer
Blister Beetles of Hay and Forages in North Carolina | NC State Extension
the beetles would cover a plant like a bell pepper and in one day could devour all the leaves on the plant

when you walked into the garden they would all fall to the soil and immediately climb under the mulch so you couldnt see them
my wife she and i would go to the garden when it was cool in the early am
we would wear gloves to pick them by the handfuls off the plants
we then would drop them into a bucket of soapy water to swim as long as they could

we use to try to feed them to the chickens but they wouldnt come anywhere near them
they always seem to know when a bug was toxic

they get their name from a chemical that oozes from them that can cause blistering of the skin
an extract called blister beetle extract or cantharadin is used in dermatology on warts to blister them off

another pest the chickens would not eat was the stink bug
yes it stinks if you squash one
they would get mostly on our tomatoes in texas in the hot summer sucking juices from the tomatoes
we would catch them in the early morning with a dust buster vac
we would empty the vac into a bucket of soapy water

the squash would get a squash vine boer 
a moth would deposit its eggs into the vine 
when the eggs hatched the worm or boer would cause the healthy squash plant to suddenly die
i finally quit planting squash in my country n garden because of this pest

tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata (Haworth)
the big ole tomato worm use to get on our tomatoes each summer

you would go out into the garden and all your leaves would be gone from your tomato vine branch
usually the worm would have to get real big before you could find it since it was so well camouflaged 

we use to pick them off and feed them to the chickens who loved the tasty morsel

in the summer we would get overrun with grasshoppers
they when they were bad would completely eat all the leaves off you tomatoes and other plants
they would eat holes in your tomatoes
we controlled them with nolo bait a fungus that invades their brains and kills them
the other grasshoppers would eat the dead ones and get infected 
we also kept them under control with the guineas and chickens who would eat them in large numbers

in the morning when it was cool i would go out to my garden and let the chickens out in their chicken run that circled our garden on three sides
i would shake my tomatoes and peppers and egg plants to scare the grasshoppers off the plants into the chicken run
the chickens were like sharks after fish bait
they would noisily go after those grasshoppers
usually i could get some type of control of these grasshoppers this way

fire ants would try to take over a portion of the garden beds
i dont know if they really harmed the veggies but i know if you stepped on  a mound they would sure sting the heck out of your legs and arms

i would use a mixture of orange oil and molasses in water to drench the mounds
this would drive the fire ants out of the garden at least temporarily 
their numbers were worse after a rain it seemed

then i really had trouble with a big pest that would go after my green tomatoes before they would ripen
that pest was my wife she who would pick them green to fry as fried green tomatoes
i know i know i usually ate them when she fried them even though i complained about her picking them

here in santa barbara in our garden we tend not to have any of these pests mentioned above
for my wife she who has been known to get some of my green tomatoes but luckily she doesnt come into the garden as much here as she did at the country n

our biggest pest here is aphids which usually when they arrive it seems its telling me the plants need to come out of the garden as they have gotten old 
usually i just spray the aphids off with a good burst of water
if i use any organic spray its neem oil
usually i just use water spray

we get snails fairly heavy during the wet season or if you over water your plants anytime
i try to pick off as many as i can and feed them to the chickens 
seeing the chickens go after the snails reminds me of how our country n chickens would go after those grasshoppers

if i cant keep them picked off i sprinkle sluggo plus to keep them under control
it is an organic product

when i plant a veggie from seed or as a young plant the pill bugs or roly polys will chew the whole plant up
i usually will sprinkle sluggo plus down as i plant these veggies

occasionally in the fall and winter and early spring i will get small caterpillars on my cabbage or kale or broccoli so i use either spinosad spray or bt spray to control them
usually if its not too bad i dont do anything but try to squash them when i find them

we get the squash bug and cucumber beetle here
it chews holes in the plants leaves and spreads viruses and fungi
i dont have a good treatment that seems to work for them

we get a lot of fungal infections and powdery mildew here because of the morning fog
i use corn meal sprinkled on the soil and neem oil or hydrogen peroxide on the leaves
this year when it got bad i finally removed my squash and cucumbers from the garden

usually i dont have to use much organic sprays and organic control products in the garden since i tend to tolerate a few pests in the garden 

so overall the pests we get here in santa barbara in our garden is not as bad as what we had at the country n garden in texas

its easier to garden here than in central texas because there is less heat and fewer pests

the organicgreen doctor 

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