Not all pests are insects! There is a way to tell whether the cause of your problem has 4 feet or 100 feet! It is a dead giveaway by looking thoroughly at the leaves.
Deer: These guys have tiny bottom teeth but none on top! They will leave behind jagged edges on stems and leaves! As a result, they tear off plant parts rather than nibble on them!
Preventative measures: OBF installs wire fencing around every single garden that is about 6 ½ Ft high! It doesn’t have to be fancy just keep them out anyway how before they destroy your garden!
Rabbits: Our furry enemies have very sharp teeth causing damage close to the ground. They will leave behind a trail of leaf clippings while clearing out your crop. For example, the tops of your beet greens will be robbed of their hair completely!
Preventative measures: Booby-trap your enemies without killing them! They are part of our environment but not in our gardens! OBF uses Havahart Easy Traps to lure rabbits in with apples, carrots, brussel sprouts or carrots!
Groundhogs: They love to swim underground! Check your soil and lawn for volcano shaped swellings, this should give it away. They will create passageways that allow other rodents to claim your produce!
Preventative measures: We dig our fences underground with chicken wire, about 8 inches to prevent this from happening during the season! The animal’s instinct is to dig directly next to the fence, hitting the chicken wire we lay underneath. They are not smart enough to move away from the fence and dig a wider hole!
There are many leafy culprits and even more ways to get rid of them! Their signatures are holes or jagged edges in the leaves. These little guys leave behind immense damage if left untreated or unnoticed.
As I mentioned in, 10 Reasons To Keep A Garden Journal, having a plan is vital in a successful garden season. Depending on the magnitude of the situation, handpicking these critters off and putting them in a bucket of soapy water is preferred but spraying them with organic insecticide is fine too!
OBF uses an organic insecticide called, Captain Jacks Dead Bug concentrate & Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). They are both bacterium’s approved for organic gardens. It is safe for people and other beneficial bugs as well! If they become out of your control, spray vigorously 2-3 times throughout the week only in the infested areas meanwhile hand picking as many as you can!
If you plan on growing leafy vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, collard greens, kale, lettuce and so on, you want to look out for the following…
- Leaf miner
- Cabbage Looper
- Earworms and hornworms
- Spotted Cucumber Beetle
- Spider mites
- Stem borers
- Snails and slugs
After awhile, you may start to notice plants will turn a yellowish color with sappy dots on the surface. You may also see sunken holes that are brown within the leaves. Plants that are actively infested will be stunted and eventually die if left untreated.
They use special sucking mouthparts that damage plants by removing and ingesting plant cells and juices. The inner cells of leaves, called mesophyll includes the food-producing cell (photosynthesis) that lies between the upper and lower layer of the leaves.
These pests inject toxic materials and disease into the plants directly while they feed. As they move from plant to plant some will transmit disease ultimately killing the crop!
Preventative methods: You can use a number of soapy sprays (organic, of course) or powders.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Large sucking pests like Stink bugs will leave shiny eggs underneath the leaves. Be sure to remove all eggs by tearing them off.
Make sure to look for these common sucking pests…
- Spider mites
- Lace bugs
- Stink Bugs
These pests like to hide! They are hard to detect as they hide under the soil or plant remains. Most larvae pass the winter in soil or under garden waste. When the weather gets warmer, larvae awaken and start feeding on our plants, remaining hidden during the day!
Preventative measures: It is very important to clean and till your soil before planting in the fall in order to catch these little ones! Remove all waste in the spring time that larvae might feed on, giving you a chance to hand pick them out before it’s time to plant!
Make sure to look out for these common soil-dwelling pests…
- White grub
- Weevil larva
- Japanese beetle
- Cabbage maggots