This has been, and will probably continue to be, a very buggy growing season. With all of the recent rain relief in the Philadelphia area, I’m happy that I can stop being a slave to the garden hose for a few days. But with all this new moisture, heat, and my naive decision to plant so many things in a small area, I still have to check for pests constantly.
Every week I seem to be putting a leaf or bug sample in a ziplock baggy to show to our garden experts at Mainline Gardens. And while there’s sometimes nothing I can do once a plant has been affected, at least I feel able to prevent the situation from happening in the future.
This article in Dave’s Garden (my favorite gardening site) identifies some really nasty common pests for veggie gardens. Unfortunately, on my deck in the last season, I can count at least 3 out of 6 of the pests mentioned.
I’m finding that, aside from smart prevention, the most helpful way to avoid pests is to be able to identify and encourage beneficial insects in your garden. The same person who wrote the pest article also wrote this great one about “Nature’s Ninjas.”
Of course my zen friend, the praying mantis, is on that list. But I was surprised the ladybug was left out, I guess the author wanted to focus on less commonly known predators.
The funny thing is, I’ve been finding the good predator insects in the front of the house, in the flower beds, and the nasty pests amongst the veggies on the deck in the back. I just need a way to grab a few from the front, but as the “ninja”article mentions, those good bugs can be kind of unnerving to handle.