The New Home Economics


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Cabbage worms

I KNEW it! I knew I would jinx myself by mentioning my lack of cabbage worms. They’ve struck:

Gardening peeps: are all those dark spots eggs or cabbage worm poop?  Oh man, I hope they’re not eggs. They also did a number on my lacinato kale, which is right next to the cabbage:

Here’s one of the guilty culprits, shortly before his execution:

Trouble is, I can’t spray my cabbage with garlic spray right now because it’s so darn rainy. And it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow too.  We carefully inspected our cabbages (top and bottom of every leaf), and found and killed three large worms today.  Hopefully the damage will be minimal until Friday when it’s supposed to dry up. Then I can get in there with the garlic spray and do some deterrent work.

Speaking of cabbage damage, here’s a picture from the Hennepin County Master Gardener plot at Sabathani that I help manage:

We planted three different kinds of cabbage: green, red, and napa cabbage (along with some dill). The circles are where the green cabbages are supposed to be.  I think this is the work of a larger varmint, because they were just decimated.  Two of them are trying to make a comeback, but we’ll see.  This is the best illustration I can think of for planting variety.  Whatever this was, it was uninterested in the napa and only slightly interested in the red cabbage.  Therefore, our crop was diminished but not devastated.


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BUGS

This is turning out to be the summer of pests in my garden.  I had cabbage worms two weeks ago, and I’ve had LOTS of rabbit damage.  Just about every night, I go out and spray… oh, I don’t know… the ENTIRE YARD with garlic/pepper spray to try and stop them eating my plants.  It’s kinda tiresome.  We also added some more rabbit-proof fence to the garden, but we left the smallest of gaps and the varmint got back in:

This area used to be full of healthy, lovely peas.  Now it has a couple of peas and some stubs.  And now it has this lovely board (far right) blocking the small remaining gap we had left.  My favorite part was how the baby rabbit actually sat on the deck watching us block the hole, totally nonchalant.

Moving on, I lost several baby cucumber plants to slugs.  Not a huge loss, since I planted way too many of them, but… I tried the trick of putting a little container of beer to trap the slugs.  It worked pretty well!  I used these two little plastic lids, each with just a couple of tablespoons of beer.  I’ve caught 4-5 slugs each night for the past two nights, and then dumped them out on the sidewalk the next day and let the kids stomp on them.  Apparently, slugs really like Summit beer.  I’ll keep doing this for a few more days at least.

Here’s one I find a little more distressing.  My currant bush (new this year) has little globby nodules on its leaves.  I’d say they’re affecting around 25% of the leaves right now.  They are only on the top, and I can’t see any insects around.  Any ideas what this might be?  (UPDATE: I think this might be the currant blister aphid, though I did not see any aphids hanging around on or near the plants.  Apparently they are not fatal.)

I also have these random wild sunflowers in my yard.  I don’t know exactly what they are called, but they are now also covered with tiny red insects.  The insects are not on any other plants but these.  Here’s a close-up:

I don’t know what these are.  I’m going to do some research.  (UPDATE: U of M Extension to the rescue on this one.  Looks like these aphids, yes?)