Anyone attempting to grow things organically can attest that there is a learning curve involved. The same equally applies to permaculture methods . Both involve a lot of observation of your particular backyard ecosystem and how nature reacts with it and your plants.
The end goal is to learn to work with nature instead of against it.
My latest challenge here at the Sandpit is learning how to deal with the summer bug invasion organically. It is a challenge to not reach for the chemical poison to deal with them. But once you realize that you will be eating the same poison that you put on your vegetables and eventually drinking the poison runoff water it becomes clear that there has to be a better answer.
These are what is left from my summer Squash plants that I stuck in a new small planting bed made several weeks back. They were ruthlessly attacked and eaten by a combination of Squash vine borers and unidentified Ninja bugs. I call them Ninja bugs because they feed at night and are extremely stealthy. I have concluded that they love Squash plants in particular mine.
The tops from these six squash plants are now in the compost bin. I cut them off at the ground and left the roots in the soil to decay and compost in the soil of the bed. Nothing goes to waste in an organic garden.
Here is the result from an heirloom Jubilee Tomato plant. It was attacked by Tomato Horn worms which ate all the vegetation off of the plant . Amazingly it still produced one fruit. This was an experiment with the Jubilee seed which I plan to plant in September. I knew when I planted this one plant that it would not do well now it being the wrong time of year to plant them in South Florida.
My research on how to protect against the bugs naturally has led to my next experiment. I found this homemade recipe for a natural bug tonic on the Internet. I'm going to plant some more Squash[ the Ninja bugs favorite ] and apply this concoction to a couple and leave a couple of the plants with nothing to see if it has any positive effect. More observation to see what works here.
The concoction involves combining diluted Ivory soap with ground up Jalapeno peppers and the mix sprayed on the plant leaves.
Sense I don't have jalapeno peppers I am going to substitute some of the hot peppers that I have growing now. These are Thai hot peppers that were started from seed back in April.
They should give me a steady supply of hot peppers for the next month or so.
We will see if this will effect the Ninja bugs or not. I am still spraying with Neem Oil every couple of weeks.
The Ninja's seem to attack my Zinnia leaves, Sunflower leaves and the Squash the worst. The Neem Oil has calmed them down some so I am hoping this new concoction will add a boost to the Neem Oil .
The Ninja's liked my Russian Comfrey also but I think they started leaving the Comfrey to attack and eat the Squash. So for now the Comfrey are growing fast and looking less insect damaged .
But with the Squash now gone I am watching to see if they return to the Comfrey leaves.
It's always something as they say but the information learned from plants that did not do so well is invaluable to learning how to reverse that trend in the future.
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