Friday, August 10, 2012

Farmer Val

Today I felt as if I crossed the line from hobby gardening to actual farming. This will make my dad laugh, he is a regular reader of my blog, and grew up on a (real) farm in Kansas. When I decided to have a community garden plot, I thought it would be fun, picking out plants, watering, etc. I really had no expectations of it producing much food.

What I didn't expect was that my plants would grow well, and my garden would be awesome, and people passing by would compliment me, and then tiny insects would try to destroy it all.

Since the day our potatos sprouted the leaves have looked spotted. Tiny holes from some bug. Then my tomato leaves started curling, at first I thought this had to do with water. I saw it on other plants at the garden so figured it was normal. When I sprayed them with soap I finally saw small black bugs. I asked a Master Gardener at the fair, he agreed with me that it sounded like aphids. But when the garden manager stopped by, she said it looked like Flea Beetles.

That was Tuesday, since then I've looked online, tried to see someone in the extension office, even sent photos of my squash leaves and never got a reply. I finally found some info on the WSU extension office website. Neem soap was recommended as an organic treatment for insects. Found the soap was sold at Home Depot and we went straight there only to discover, this store didn't carry it. After much label reading we settled on Organocide. It's an insecticide-fungicide-miticide. I bought the premixed bottle with a spray attachment.

I took it to the garden and sprayed everything: potatoes, squash, tomatoes (2x). Even saw 4-5 flea beetles hopping around while I sprayed. I left one set of potatoes on the other side of the plot unsprayed to see if I can see any difference in future growth.

Did I mention that the community garden is organic?? No pesticides, no chemicals are allowed. Fertilizer must be organic etc. Although I would hesitate to spray chemicals on my vegetable garden, doing it that way seems easier. This is my first year and I have no idea what bugs I'm dealing with or which organic products are the right ones. So for now, my crops have been sprayed and I must wait.

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