Pest ControlApril 1, 2009 at 8:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
By: Meg (Greenhouse manager, Fall ’06)
Three weeks into seeding and the greenhouse is in full swing. It’s amazing to see it almost filled with tiny plants. The onions are all up and standing strong- they received their first haircuts yesterday. We’re trying to grow lots of new herbs this year and I’m proud to announce that four tiny rosemary seedlings(out of a flat of 72) have sprouted (rosemary is notoriously hard to germinate). Our first batch of beets, yellow and red, are just starting to emerge from the soil.
There is one problem though, and it is a problem with the cabbages. Here at ADAMAH we grow a lot of cabbage, because we make a lot of sauerkraut. Last year’s summer and fall ‘niks will fondly remember the 2,000 cabbage plants that we tended on BeBee Hill, as well as the cabbage moths that flocked to our first adventure in mono cropping. Cabbage moths are white butterfly looking things (at first glance they may even seem beautiful) that land on cabbage plants and lay eggs. Last year these moths took over our cabbage patch, laying eggs everywhere. The eggs are green and slimy and out of them hatch little green caterpillars, which munch their way through the cabbage.
I arrived in the greenhouse one morning last week to find that a few trays of cabbage seedlings had been munched. Their little stems were standing straight up, leafless. Over the course of the week more and more cabbage plants lost their leaves, until the trays of cabbage started looking like clear cut forests. After last year’s infestation I immediately thought that cabbage moths must be the culprit, but after careful investigation I could find no evidence of either the slimy eggs or the caterpillars (not to mention the fact that every time I see a white moth in the greenhouse I chase it around until it is smushed). The possibility of rodents came up, yesterday I unearthed a sophisticated tunnel system in the floor of the greenhouse, but there are no tell tale footprints in the soil.
For now we’re dealing with it as best as we can. Two days ago I sprayed the cabbage pants with diatect 5, an organic pest control powder, and yesterday I fed them with fish emulsion, because healthy plants do not attract bugs. Today I will reseed the lost cabbage flats and send them to live on the other side of the greenhouse from the first suscession of cabbages. I’ll keep you updated on their progress, but if anyone has any pest suggestions feel free to share them.