Save the Lettuce!

As is the theme of the year, we planted the lettuce and spinach early by using row tunnels covered in agricultural fabric. What we learned is the native plants around the garden do not grow as fast as the lettuce which is making the lettuce more desirable to the pests right now. If I had to guess I’d say what was doing the most damage is slugs, caterpillars and grubs.

Something I learned after living in the Northwest is that soft bodied pests do not like sharp objects. I used to crumble egg shells around my hostas which were prone to be devoured by slugs. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try them in the vegetable garden. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to surround individual plants in a 50 foot row of lettuce! We ended up taking the time to do it right by setting up the egg shell pieces vertically resulting in a sharp edged fence around the row of plants.

While there were already some pests within the perimeter, there was a reduction in activity long enough to give the lettuce and spinach a fighting chance. And in the end the shells decay and add nutrients to soil. I’ll be planting tomatoes in that bed next year. They Love calcium.

More lessons learned!

Good and Bad Insects

On the right is a baby praying mantis we found in the garden. These predatory insects eat a lot of bad bugs so I’m excited to find them happily breeding here!

On the left are a couple new beetles we’ve never seen before. These beetles are taking over the broccoli plants and the crowns are getting chewed up. When we tried to identify this beetle we can’t find a perfect match. Two of the closet comparisons are the milk weed beetle and the two spotted stink bug. Theoretically the stink bug is considered beneficial because it eats bad insects, but the question is are they eating up the broccoli in the process?

For good pest management you need to get rid of the bad bugs and allow the good bugs to remain. We better figure out the beetle quick. We have a friend who is an entomologist we are going to have to talk to him to about this one.