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: http://nysipm.cornell.edu/factsheets/vegetables/cruc/icw.pdf
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 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