Monday, May 28, 2012

Eaten Alive!

My little garden project was off to a good start. But then, after less than two weeks, I noticed something had been eating some of my plants!


First we have the Rainbow Chard, with yellowed, spotty leaves, and what appear to be snail or caterpillar holes?



Then we have the spinach, totally getting discolored. I'm told this may be from overwatering, so we've eased off of the watering (Will and I are both chronic overwaterers). Many people have mentioned that yellowing is a sign of a nitrogen deficiency, but the compost we used when planting should've prevented that -- I'm hoping it's because the overwatering caused an imbalance in the nitrogen level of the soil (I read about that online), and once we let it dry out a little bit, it'll rebalance?


What can I do about the pests, though? They don't seem to be attacking anything else, and these two plants aren't even next to each other (though they do have similar leaf-styles? could that be why they are specifically being targeted?). Damn bugs eating my plants!

The other pest (not pictured) is a fat little squirrel, whom I have actually caught red handed, stealing strawberries off our one lonely strawberry plant. There were only three berries, and only one was close to turning red enough to pick, but he doesn't seem to care. What do you do about squirrels on the ground? I've heard of tying tinsel in fruit trees to ward off squirrels, but can I tie tinsel to the strawberry plant?

Help me, oh garden-savvy friends! You're my only hope!

18 comments:

  1. Hi Kim,  cayenne pepper all around the plants is good for most squirrels to keep them away.  I did have one that seemed to enjoy the kick it provided to his food!  Good to see you today -- you look great!

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  2. Thanks, Sean! I'll try cayenne! What an interesting idea :) Hopefully this guy doesn't like the kick it gives to strawberries...

    Good to see you too! Lovin' the new look!

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  3. Farmer Steve says your yellowing may be because the leaves are getting too wet. When watering, water the base of the plants and try not to wet the leaves.
    In terms of your pests, looks like you're onto the culprits! 

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  4. Oh interesting! I definitely always water from above (with the gentle sprayer nozzle on the hose). Gotta get that drip system in place one of these days! :) In the meantime, I'll try to do more base-watering.
    Fingers crossed on the pests!

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  5. Looking at your spinach leaves there it appears to be the same problem, just one of the sick plants was tastier than the other and got munched. It might be a fungus, either something water-borne or something that blew in when the leaves were wet and stuck. Yellowing that is related to nitrogen deficiency would start low on the plant and creep from the outer edge of the leaf inward, not just in random patches as we see here. While a drip or at least base-watering will help, snap off those sick leaves now before it spreads.

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  6.  if you google image search "nitrogen deficiency in tomatoes" you'll get a good variety of images of how it tends to look.

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  7. For the nibbling bug pests, try Neem Oil.  It's an organic oil that you mix with water and spray on the plants.  Must taste yucky or something.  You have treat them pretty often, though.  It washes off pretty quickly.

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  8. Ah, thanks for the tip. I'll snip off those yellow leaves when I get home tonight!

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  9. I've heard of Neem Oil, but I've never tried it. Couldn't hurt, right?

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  10. My dad had this problem when he was growing habenero peppers. Bugs would eat the leaves, and even some of the peppers.

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  11. Oh dear! I guess some bugs don't care about the spiciness...

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  12. Some might not have taste, period.

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  13. Totally taking the tips people are leaving here for you. We're starting up our garden as soon as Ryan has a free moment. :)

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  14. Ooh yay! What are you going to plant?

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  15. Probably tomatoes, herbs, and beans. Stuff that are hearty enough for our temperatures and fog.

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  16. Good call. Our beans seem to be doing well, but the peas aren't growing much.

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  17. I had the same problem and was told that it was probably leaf miners. Google it, and found they are apparently gross little worms that eat the leaves from the inside, leaving a colorless shell. I think vigilantly picking off the affected leaves seems to be doing the trick. I haven't had a problem since.

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  18. Ooh how creepy! I don't think it's leaf miners on ours though...I discovered tiny green caterpillars munching away on our (previously untouched) kale the other day! BOO!

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