Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garden Update: 3 Months

It's been about 3 months since I planted my garden and I can whole heartedly say that it has taken off like a wild bandit...literally. In fact, I almost titled my post Garden Havoc: 3 Months and you'll find out  why soon enough.

This year I planted a different green bean family and unfortunately, they are the climbing variety for which I have nothing for them to climb, except their neighboring tomato plants. The green beans are so aggressive that they are pulling the branches of my tomato plants down and because of this, I have had to keep trimming them back, which means that I am reaping very few beans for all my hard work—boo!

However, to repay me for my gentle care and protection, my tomatoes are thriving and boy are they delish! (Just ask Justin. He sliced one up for his BLT last night and it looked good!)

But of course, this joy cannot shine through the storm clouds of the japanese beetles that have been wreaking havoc on my plants. For those of you who aren't familiar with these lovely buggers, I researched them a bit to explain what they are and where they came from. Ahem...
Japanese beetles are insects native to (what do you guess) Japan and showed up in America in the early 1910s (supposedly on a shipment of tulip bulbs). The beetles are not entirely destructive to the vegetation in Japan because of natural predators, they can be highly dangerous to US crops and gardens (as you see in the photos of my garden below). For the most part, the only infested areas in the US start in the far northeast trickling down into the southeast and midwest. They are detrimental to plants because they skeletonize the foliage, eating the leaf between the veins. When plants no longer have the leaf material between the veins they cannot absorb the sun and grow, eventually dying.

I have noticed a large population of these beetles in my garden and since one positive reason to grow your own plants is to keep them pesticide free, I have done nothing to control them by ways of chemicals. As a result, about 30% of my garden looks like this.

Not too appealing, eh?

Fortunately, they seem to favor my green bean plants, which is fine by me since they are becoming a PITA (pain in the ass) anyways. Nonetheless, does anyone have suggestions for how to eradicate or at least decrease their numbers? I have heard that the best way is to fill a bowl or bucket with soapy water and knock them into it but I've been too lazy to do that yet. Any other chem-free ideas? I'm all ears!


  1. from our experience:

    if you happen to grow tobacco plants - mix tobacco leaves with water. Let it stay for a day or so. Spray with that water your plants - bugs will be gone. Similar bugs were overpowering our plants (tomatoes) back in Russia - we used this trick and it worked...

    Planting beans next to tomato plants definitely helps...

  2. Interesting about the tobacco tip, I'll have to consider that. Thanks!


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