Fast growing plants mean lots of bugs. I suppose we have to expect this.
Flea beetles: These are eating tiny holes in my potatoes again this year. Last year I was worried about this and added lots of marigolds to the bed. The beetles went away. But I think its just the natural course of events that once the leaves fill out and the season progresses, the beetles go away. They like the dust. So I’m ignoring them.
Leaf miners: I have a minor problem with leaf miners on my spinach. Also on my beet leaves. I’ll just ignore this. I dispose of affected leaves and eat the others.
Cutworms: A few cut worms here and there in my garden. I found a big fat one chewing on a broccoli seedling today. My parents have had them on cucumber, cabbage, tomatoes, and broccoli this year. I looked up the list of what plants cutworms eat: Beans, Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Cucumbers, Endive, Kale, Lettuce, Lima Beans, Melons, Muskmelons, Onions, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Snap Beans, and Sweet Corn. Just about anything, I guess!
Mystery bugs: The worst problem is my broccoli and baby bok choy. I covered these seedlings with row cover and checked today under the cover today. Arrghh! Some bug has been eating well! I covered to keep the cabbage worm off. I looked hard and couldn’t find any of the fat bright green worms on the stems or leaves. These are usually pretty easy to find if you look close. What I did find if the bugs here:
I think they are young leaf hoppers. I submitted the photo to Bug ID. (I always enjoy their answers. Not only ID, but age, sex and other info.) I asked the experts if these guys could be responsible for the damage. I’ll keep watching for their answer.
Here’s what my broccoli and bok choy look like:
My parent’s broccoli, bok choy, cabbage and similar greens look the same.
I have no idea how to get rid of the problem. Usually my approach is to not worry about the bugs and grow something else instead. But I really do like broccoli and bok choy. So, I dug up the little plants and moved them to my community plot. Maybe with more sun, they can outgrow the pest? I think I’ll add some fertilizer tomorrow too. I’m starting to think about an organic pesticide, like BT or rotenone. I’ve never tried these. So much for the row covers. I took them off for now. And I’ll watch for the bug ID so at least I can know what’s doing the damage.
Note added Monday: I haven’t heard from BugGuide yet, but I think my bugs in the photo are winged aphids. I’ve been looking at similar photos on line. A couple aphids won’t do much damage. But Daphne had a suggestion that I think is the real answer. SLUGS! I bet they are crawling under the covers at night! These guys can do lots of serious damage!
Slugs: I hate to say it, but I use the regular box of slug and snail poison bait. (Ortho Bug Getta) It gets rid of them. (I got tired of walking across my patio in the dark barefoot and stepping on a six inch slug.) I use it sparingly in the locations where there is a problem. Slugs especially like my basil and zinnias. I’ll try a little under my broccoli covers and bring some up to my parents’ garden.
And something’s eating my rose pretty seriously too. I’ll have to remember to look closely to see what bugs I can find on it.