Moreau Gardeners Met Today

We had a garden meeting today and talked about good and bad insects. In the next few days look for information on these insects on the bulletin board hanging on the recreation building near the garden.

In the garden we have discovered aphids, flea beetles, and cabbageworms. Right now Imported Cabbageworms (Pieris rapae) are present and creating small irregular holes on the leaves of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. These holes are larger than the holes flea beetles make.

Cabbageworms are the caterpillar stage of the cabbage butterfly, which is a white butterfly with black spots. You may have noticed them in the garden. The butterfly deposits off-white bullet-shape eggs on the underside of a leaf and in a matter of days, the green larvae appear. Check your plants thoroughly. The eggs are small.

Once the larvae are present their appetites are enormous. They eat both leaves and will chew into the head. They will continue to grow – and eat for the next two to three weeks and then they will form a cocoon and when the butterfly emerges and the cycle begins again.

We, of course, want to stop the cycle and the damage. To do so use an organic product containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Bt works on all insects that ingest – chew or suck on – the plant.

For images and more information look at the Cornell website:


One of the gardeners told me that the garden had wireworms last season. If your plot had them, now is the time to bait the plot. Here’s what you do. Take a potato and cut it in half. Bury it a few inches into the soil and mark its location. Come back the following day and see if you have wireworms in the bait potato. If so, discard the infested half potato in the trash and rebait. Repeat as needed.

For images:


For learning purposes, there is a large plastic container in the window box beneath the bulletin board. If you find an insect you don’t know in your garden or notice a damaged leaf, put a sample in the container and I will identify it and post the findings on the bulletin board.

We also talked about what gardeners need to know about watering. You can find information on this on a recent post.

The gardeners will meet again on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

I hope to see you then, Natalie

Gardeners Learn New Skills, Enjoy Salsa and Sunshine


We accomplished so much in the garden yesterday and had fun too.

In addition to the usual chores of weeding – so easy with the stirrup hoe – I taught the gardeners how to thin Swiss chard, beets, cucumbers and how to trim tomato leaves to create healthier plants. We also transplanted at the proper spacing for continuous harvest throughout the season. Thank you Roger for your input.

I also planted a giant pumpkin. It doesn’t look giant now, but it was planted in a mix of composted cow manure and soil and I have high hopes. 3-mcg

The trellises for our vining plants were made by Bob and Gina LeClair and painted in bright colors. Thank you. They are sturdy and colorful. Soon they will be dripping with tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers and other climbers. 5mcg

Bill was there building teepee trellises for his tomatoes. Basically, you take three sticks and tie the tops of them together to form a support for all the juicy, red tomatoes we will have in the months to come. Bill MCGbill2mcg

Fran brought a jar of home-made salsa. Yummy. The ingredients came from her garden last season and she made and preserved the salsa. It was delicious. And best of all, Fran has agreed to teach us all how to make it when peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos ripen. Believe me, you won’t want to miss that demonstration.

The insects we covered in the lecture were aphids, flea beetles, squash bug and squash vine borer. Aphids and flea beetles are in the garden. If you find aphids in your plot – look on the underside of leaves – use a spray of water to dislodge the aphids. This should do it.

Flea beetles can be dealt with by knocking them into soapy water, spraying them with water with a drop of dish detergent added, or using a spray of tomato leaf water which is made by shredding two cups of tomato leaves in an equal amount of water and letting it sit overnight. In the morning, remove the leaves, and add a second cup of water. Strain into a spray bottle. I have read this works because tomato plants contain alkaloids in their leaves. When this compound is released through shredding and added to water, the spray becomes effective in flea beetle and aphid control.

Squash bugs and squash vine borer are more difficult. We haven’t seen them in the garden but mid-June is when they show up, lay eggs and do their damage. Be observant. If you find eggs near the base of squash, pumpkins, etc. remove them with your fingers and throw them away. It is the best way to keep our garden healthy.

If you don’t know these insects, come to the next meeting!

The group will meet next Thursday at 4 p.m. PLEASE NOTE Starting June 25th, we will meet at 11 a.m. Tuesdays since school will no longer be in session.

All community gardeners are invited to attend the lecture and work alongside other gardeners. It is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions of a master gardener and learn how to grow food.

I hope to see you next Thursday at 4 p.m.


Flea Beetle Damage

If you notice the leaves of your vegetables look like they’ve been hit with a shotgun blast…this is the damage done by flea beetles. They create hundreds of little holes and can be found on cabbage, tomato, potato, cucumber, melons, spinach, eggplant and more. There are many different species of flea beetles but what they all have in common is they jump like a flea…thus the name.

To manage this problem, head out to the garden early in the day when it is coolest and these insects are the least active. As you inspect your plants, you can usually spot these oval blue-green to black beetles. When you do, flick them into a container of soapy water. (Just add a bit of dish detergent to a jar of water.) Neem and insecticidal soap offer some help as well, but they aren’t a silver bullet.

If you want to read about this garden pest, here is a good website:

And keep on top of weeds in your plot as weeds provide a place for flea beetles to eat and hide.