Gardener offers variety of tips on dealing organically with bugs


Luci Butler, of Bowling Green asks, "What organic product can I apply to my cabbage and broccoli
plants to rid them of bugs? I used to dust with Seven, but I no longer wish to apply something that
isn’t organic."
According to Sue White, one of the many Wood County Master Gardeners, one possible problem could be what
she calls "cute little white insects flying around" in the garden.
"They may well be the start of the problem with your cabbage and broccoli plants," White
The insect lays eggs on host plants such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards
and kale, which is collectively known as the cole family.
"You may also have discovered small green worms eating small to large holes in the leaves of your
These are the larvae of the egg planted by the white flying insect. They are voracious eaters," she
As for Butler’s question the use of an organic method of pest control, White offers several suggestions.
She indicates gardeners may try any or all of the suggestions, depending on their garden and the volume
of pests to be controlled.
For small gardens White says a gardener may be able to hand pick and destroy the worms. The downside is
they are often difficult to find.
Another option involves the use of nylon panty hose over the cabbage heads so the insect cannot lay eggs
on the plant.
"Make sure the plant has room to stretch as it grows," she cautions.
There are also various types of plant nets that are available at garden centers.
According to White, another popular option is the use of Bacillus Thuringiensis, Bt, as it is commonly
called, is a bacterial microbe that occurs naturally.
White says this method is affective at the caterpillar stage so the caterpillar needs to consume it. It
is considered safe to other insects and to humans.
Local nurseries and garden centers carry this product.
White also suggests the use of a pepper and garlic spray. Gardeners can create their own spray by
grinding three large onions, a head of garlic and three hot peppers.
Those ingredients can be mixed with a small amount of water and left to sit overnight.
The next day those should be strained. Water should be added to the remaining ingredients to make one
gallon. That mixture should be sprayed on plants as needed to treat or prevent damage to plants.
A reminder from White is to wash plants before eating when using this spray.
The master gardener also suggests the use of crop rotation and suggests keeping a journal to track the
placement and rotation.
Selective planting is also suggested including the use of flowers such as marigold and calendula around
the vegetables. These flowers will attract beneficial wasps which will eat the parasites.
White also offers a reminder that for every gardener, some years are better than others and it is
virtually impossible to eliminate all pests.
Gardeners should experiment to find which solution is best for them and their garden.

No posts to display