Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rat Patrol & Aphid Update

I posted pictures of the critter damaged tomatoes yesterday. Our garden is completely enclosed in 4 foot hardware wire fencing and covered in bird netting. I'm not sure how the critters were getting in, but thought it may be the doorway. So I secured it last night and double-checked the fence perimeter to make sure there were no gaps. I thought we were safe last night. Wrong! They got in again last night and took out another 3-4 tomatoes. Time to get serious about this...

Alice is still getting used to being with us and I'm not ready to let her out to roam yet. So in the mean time... I put down a granular critter barrier. It's basically made from rotten eggs, garlic, and other very foul smelling stuff that makes critters think there are predators around. I originally used this around the garden expansion when the seedlings first came up and it seemed to work very well.

Then I acquired a "tin cat" mouse trap and set it up just outside the garden gate. I can't tell you how many Victor products I now have on hand. But I'm pretty sure I should buy stock in their company. If I wasn't already married, Victor would definitely be on the list!

The insecticidal soap did a pretty good job knocking down the aphids on the southern peas, but hasn't completely eliminated them. I've used repeat applications almost daily over the last week. Best I can tell, it needs to be a heavier concentration. I haven't found a hose sprayer that will mix it that rich and I don't want to have to hand spray with a bottle. So, on to Plan B...

Today, I acquired a tub of ladybugs and waited until it was almost dark. Out I went to the pea patch to release a few of them... and then I dropped the whole tub! They all came out in a big pile and started to scatter. I scooped up a couple of hands full and put them back in the tub. They are amazingly obedient... not! It wasn't too difficult, but it was kind of strange having a pile of bugs crawling on your hand. I hope they're happy in their new home and enjoy their aphid buffet.

1 comment:

  1. You can keep lady bugs alive for quite a long time, and release a few at a time. We keep them in a screened in bug box, with shavings and a stick inside. We put paper towel soaked in juice of some kind in there for a few minutes, and then take the paper towel and any attached ladybugs and drape it over the plants with the aphids. We've found that to be really effective. Just a little bit every evening after the sun goes down keeps them from flying away. I haven't been able to get any this year - we got our aphids later and it's too hot to ship them. We haven't had good luck getting them from Calif. or Oregon once the weather here is this hot.