From the Farm: Preventing Summer Garden Pests
Transitioning from Spring to Summer Garden
Things are really moving along at the farm right now. Most of our spring plantings are fizzling out with the exception of a few of our root crops like carrots and beets; however, our summer crops of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, peas and more are picking up steam.
Typically, once we move from our spring plot, and before we are able to clean and replant the area, the cabbage moths swoop in at full force. Visitors say, “Oh, look at all the pretty butterflies!” And, while they are rather pleasant to look at, their presence means that cabbage loopers are soon to follow. And they can really do a number on cruciferous crops. Luckily, this year they didn’t really come in until after our spring plantings were played out.
Pest Prevention and Early Intervention
We will begin digging potatoes in approximately two weeks. After unearthing a few plants, it appears that we should have a pretty nice harvest this year. We try to monitor all of our crops on a daily basis for any pest problems or nutrient deficiencies. We discovered some potato beetle larvae on a small section of our potato crop a couple weeks ago and were able to treat the area before the pest pressure became a real problem. Early or preventive action is always the most effective and sustainable practice when dealing with garden pests. If you’ve never seen a Colorado Potato Beetle Larvae, check out this little fella.
The Hunt for Summer Garden Pests
While we are on the subject of insect pests, let’s go over a few that you should keep a close eye out for this summer. We have already seen some of these garden pests in our summer plantings which tells me that the pest pressure is going to be quite heavy this summer due to the mild winter. When growing tomatoes, aphids are a common pest to be on the lookout for. You can usually spot them on the underside of leaves or clustered around new blooms. When growing squash, cucumbers or just about any cucurbit, you need to watch out for squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and squash vine borers. Squash bugs and cucumber beetles in particular are on my top 3 list of most loathsome pests. Early or preventative action is key when dealing with squash bugs. Once they reach maturity they are rather hard to control, especially when trying to deal with them organically. Here are a few pictures of the 3 previously mentioned pests:
So remember folks, stay diligent with your scouting for summer garden pests and don’t let a small issue turn into a full on BUG OUT!
Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.