Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bugs, Sun and Garden Slugs

Well hell! I finally have a May without too many garden pests but like usual they slither, crawl, and buzz their unwanted rears into my already withering vegetable garden anyways. So far I am only experiencing leaf miners and sun scald, both of which really don't do too much damage to the actual plant but they can be rather unsightly. The first I will go over is sun scald.

That right there on my two bell peppers is sun scald, basically it's when you vegetables get sunburned. How to correct this you ask? Well some have found a very simple way to alleviate the problem, simply add shade. You can do this by buying a cheap but somewhat lightweight, light penetrable fabric, that way they can still do that little thing called photosynthesis. An open tent like structure will serve the purpose of shading the plants, don't actually cover the plants themselves, just suspend it above them like you would for a wandering rooster on a summer day (that's another story). The vegetables that already have sun scald are still salvageable, just chop off the sunburnt parts.

Now here's where it gets fun, that little work of art is done by what many call leaf miners. They are actually a fly that lays their larva on the plant's leaves, so their little maggots can eat the plant from the inside out. Wonderful eh? I have heard that some use soap, others use oil, but I have found that when one useses those things, they clog the plant's pores. Then that sun scald gets worse seeing as how you have added oil into the equation of the sun roasted plant. That's two factors of why not to use soap or oil, it clogs the plants pores, and it can worsen sun scald. After becoming so frustrated and seeing my tomato leaves like the ones shown above, I had an epiphany. Why don't I just completely cover the tomatoes with that screen lying in the garage? I put screen over the tomato cages to make an enlcosed system that way the flies can't even reach the plants, another ingenius idea, that I stole from a friend.

Now keep in mind these are organic non pesticidal solutions to these problems. Anyone can buy some seven or permithrin, but that would be too easy right? And you don't want to a be a part of the problem itself by poisoning the environment with harmful toxins, because you are that nutty urban farmer who cares about their plants and their animals as well as the environment. You would rather do it the hard way like I do.     

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