Winter Garden Prep

Garden fresh green beans for Thanksgiving? Yes please. It’s been cool enough to start planting some things for our Fall/Winter garden. A few weeks ago I planted green beans, cucumbers and lettuce from seed. After a about a week I noticed that only a few plants came up. Then, a few days after that they vanished. Poof, gone! Not even so much as a tiny stem left. I suspected Grubs or Cutworms were the culprit, so I put on my gloves and got to work. Time to eliminate pests from the garden!

A little bit of digging produced these little jerks, who mistook my seedlings as a generous free lunch. Well, there is no free lunch in my yard, if you’re not contributing you’ve gotta go. I fed these little beggars to a few eager chickens. Ahhh, sweet revenge – who’s laughing now little grubs!? I’ve dealt with these pests before, and I knew just what to do.

These nasty little guys are white grubs, or the larvae of Japanese beetles, scarab beetles or striped beetles. They will decimate your plants before they even see the light of day. They will mow them down once they’ve just sprouted. They will also wreak havoc on your lawn, causing the infamous brown, dead patches wherever they are thriving.

Scarab Beetle Green

I got to work and turned up the soil and mixed in a generous helping of food grade diatomaceous earth (DE). First I dug down about 6-8 inches all over the bed where I planned to replant my seeds. I picked out all the grubs that I could find and fed them to the chickens. Then I sprinkled DE around the bed and mixed it into the soil.

Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is an powerful friend of the organic gardner when used properly. This product is all natural, consisting of fossilized remains of diatoms. It is mined from FDA and EPA approved lake beds, then processed to remove dirt and unwanted minerals and then ground into a powder. The diatoms are very porous, so it readily absorbs moisture from any source around it. DE kills pests by slicing them up and dehydrating them, (as if they’d crawled through a bed of shards of glass).

Then I replanted my seeds. We won’t be grubbing on garden fresh green beans for Thanksgiving, thanks to our uninvited guests. I planted lettuce, spinach, brussel sprouts, and broccoli for now. I will plant root veggies in a week or so. I am testing my planting according to the Farmer’s Almanac this season, check out your local planting calendar. Or plant seeds according to moon phases.

Protect the bees and butterflies: Don’t spread it over flowering plants or leaves that bees may buzz. While you’re at it protect yourself! Wear gloves, a mask and protective eyewear. DE will irritate your lungs, eyes and dry out your skin, so be careful when applying it.

Note: that non-food-grade DE is harmful to humans and animals.

Dani Jean

The author Dani Jean

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