Tag Archives: bugs

Bug update, Corn, and Harvest Monday

May 26, 2013

I mentioned that the bugs on the snaps have slowed down but wondered if it was from the cool weather and rain. Once it got hot again, I would only find one or two bugs/day. The snap plants seem to have gotten over the shock of being transplanted. Yay! However, the interesting news is that when they were transplanted, there was a row that was established and a row that was just popping out of the ground…the newer row has surpassed the established row, which, for a week or so, looked like they were just hanging on for dear life.

during (snaps in center are established…just to the right they are just starting to pop through the mulch…just trust me on this 🙂 )

I mentioned previously that I made a homemade fertilizer (chicken poop & water – stir 2-3x/day for a week). Tonight, I went to take pictures of the beans so you could see the vast difference between the two rows (one was YELLOW and one was green) but…both were green! I guess the fertilizer worked!

May 25 13 - 0271(Plants on L were the established plants when transplanted. Plants on R were just popping out of the ground. You can see the plants on R have top growth that is uneaten & plants on L are slightly more yellow and have more bug bites. Lettuce is growing at bottom of photo. Carrots are growing between plants on R.)

I am thankful I stuck to the organic route of picking the bugs off, using chicken manure, and being patient while the plants got over the shock of transplanting and became healthier. I definitely see the temptation to just spray them with something though – it is disheartening to go through the planting process to end up having all of your plants being eaten by bugs.

Instead of focusing on the bugs, though, we should be focusing on getting the plants healthy so the bugs will not attack them. I mentioned before about how nature works: predators go after the weakest…the straggler, the old animal or the baby animal…bugs are the same! They go after the weak plants. If your plants are being attacked by bugs, figure out how to make them stronger! (most times it has to do with the soil)

It’s interesting to see the difference between the plants that had to be transplanted because of the weed cloth and those that did not. The snap beans that did not have to be transplanted are starting to get some blooms on them already while those that were transplanted are focusing all of their energy on getting stronger and getting over the bug attacks.

May 25 13 - 0228(from R to L. row of snaps, another (less healthy) row of snaps…next, at the top of the photo – can you see how those two (shorter) rows of snaps are MUCH bigger and healthier? Those are the ones that were not transplanted)

It is getting warmer, which means the bugs are coming out more and more. The kale is starting to get eaten (another example: kale is a winter veggie so when it gets warmer, it gets weaker, and the bugs attack…they never ate my kale during the winter or the cool spring).

I went ahead and harvested a grocery bag full of kale, a grocery bag full of lettuce, transplanted what I could, and threw the rest to the chickens. The kale is getting over the shock of being transplanted beautifully. Not so much with the lettuce :\

kale2 lettuce2I am linking with Harvest Monday at Daphne’s Dandelions today. She is such an inspiration as to how she feeds her families and neighbors from her garden! Also linking to Simple Lives Thursday. Any day I am able to harvest from the garden instead of drive to the store is a good, simple day!


Harvest Monday, Bugs, and an Experiment

May 20, 2013

No harvests from the BTE garden yet but we are still harvesting from our winter garden so at least we are eating something from the garden.

May 18 13 - 0054We are harvesting a head of lettuce each night for supper. The spinach and broccoli are officially spent. The broccoli was thrown to the chickens. Last night we ripped up the last of our spinach (nothing we were doing was stopping them from bolting) and had a big spinach salad with chopped apples on top (YUM!). I am thankful for all of this but I am looking forward to some BTE harvesting! 😀

I mentioned bugs on my beans in a previous post – they are bean leaf beetles and they are getting a lot worse. I was going to put some neem oil on them, as this stops the sexual cycle, so after 3 applications or so, they are taken care of. However, I decided to go out there in the late afternoon (when they are busiest) and knock them into soapy water to see if I could take care of them without buying anything.

May 13 13 - 0062I have never had issues with my beans but I have always grown them in a raised beds. The ones in the BTE garden are the ones with the issues. I read that these beetles are found in hard-to-drain clay soil. Ding! ding! ding! This is our soil, for sure! 😛 Of course, I hope the plants will survive but it has just gotten worse & worse so I think I need to be a bit more aggressive. Preying mantises love to eat this beetle but I’ve only seen one ever in the garden so I’m not keeping my hopes up. For good measure, whenever we find a ladybug, we transplant it onto a bean plant 🙂

May 13 13 - 0081I have been knocking bugs into soapy water for about a week now and for the first time, today I went out and found NO bugs. I would be ecstatic but they love the HOT weather and today was a bit cooler and rainy so I wonder if that is why they were not out. We’ll see if the plants are on the mend.

I planted watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, and squash. I also (finally) transplanted kale and lettuce from my greenhouses to my shaded side garden. This is my experimental garden. It is in the shade quite a bit throughout the day and I assume one of three things will happen:

  1. There will not be enough sun, even for things like lettuce and kale
  2. It won’t matter that the plants aren’t in the sun – during the summer in North Carolina, it’s too hot, even in the shade, to grow cool crops like lettuce and kale
  3. My plan will work! and we’ll be able to harvest fresh lettuce and kale throughout the summer or at least we’ll be able to extend the season a month or two more on either side 🙂

May 13 13 - 0038(lettuce & kale transplanted into the side garden)

Last update is about my transplanted tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes seem to be struggling. The peppers, however, look great so far!

May 13 13 - 0155

(droopy tomato plant)May 13 13 - 0158

(tomato)peppers(pepper transplants)

How is your garden coming? Are you harvesting anything other than winter crops yet?

I am linking up with Harvest Monday. Even though we eat something from the garden each week, I actually remembered to take a picture this time! Yay me 😉

What to Do When Plants are Stressed…and More Plantings

May 11, 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post, most of our plants in the BTE garden had to be transplanted. Even though none of them have died, I can tell they are stressed because bugs are starting to eat them.

bugsI remember Paul talking in one of L2Survive’s videos about how one time he transplanted celery – at first, they were being gobbled up by slugs…but as they got stronger, the slugs left them alone. He says (as he always does), look in nature…predators are always after the weakest. The weakest animal in the herd gets taken out and in the gardener’s case, the weakest plants get taken out.

So, what do I do about it? Kill the bugs? That just gets rid of the bugs – it does not make the plant stronger and the plant’s weakness is the actual issue!

  1. I’m going to give it time. The plants were transplanted a couple of days ago and they may bounce back yet.
  2. Again, give it time – time for the beneficial bugs to come in and eat the harmful bugs.
  3. Eventually, I may add some compost tea from the chickens to try to strengthen the plants.

I am fully aware this year’s BTE garden may not be much of anything because our soil is clay but I know, with time, it will only get better. Most people who till see the opposite. Each year, the tiller does more damage (killing more worms, etc.) and each year the bugs increase so each year they need more and more fertilizer and insecticide. The gardener is in a constant battle. With the BTE garden, each year gets better and better as the mulch protects (much like our skin protects us) and conditions/fertilizes the soil continually.

Even if I end up with minimal crop this year, I am still excited for the long term journey! We are already planning where to plant strawberries and sweet potatoes next year 🙂

Speaking of potatoes, as I mentioned before, our potatoes are in bloom! They are tiny blooms, making me think they will be tiny potatoes, but again, I am not expecting much this year – anything will be great! I know it will get better each year 🙂

potato blossom

Still letting the chickens free range until we lose one, which I hope will not happen, obviously, or until I get enough $$ freed up from the budget to buy chicken wire and wood to make some chunnels (chicken tunnels). Oh! And we got our first rooster crow a couple of mornings ago! So we know we have at least one (I think we have 2 or 3 b/c of their size and comb but we’ll see).

One last bit of garden news…I planted 3 tomato plants, 7 pepper plants and one cantaloupe plant from our greenhouses today! I also direct seeded some more snaps and some cucumbers. I am trying to have a constant harvest of snaps so I am planting a crop every two weeks.

peppers (newly transplanted pepper plants)tomatoes and cantaloupe(L to R two tomato transplants & one cantaloupe transplant)

The corn I planted almost two weeks ago is coming up (faster in one box than the other). The seed is OLD (like 4 years?) so I planted a lot in each hole, hoping to increase the odds. I plan on transplanting the extras…just don’t know where… 🙂

cornTomorrow, the goal is to transplant some kale and lettuce into my side garden I put in the shade – seeing if I can harvest cool weather crops mostly year round, even in HOT NC!

We are still harvesting spinach, lettuce, and kale for salads, but I am fighting bolting left and right so I think we are nearing the end in the main (full sun) garden.

cool crops(kale in foreground. our only broccoli plant left, flowering, and lettuce, which is the only thing that hasn’t bolted yet)

What is your method of dealing with bugs? I meant to take a pic so you could help me identify them…I’ll try to do that soon…

I’m linking to Simple Lives Thursday…one day my life will be simple!…maybe?