I used to own a variety of garden reference books. I’m sure they are still here, somewhere. I just don’t bother to look in them anymore.


Something is attacking my plants; there isn’t a moment to spare! In a situation such as this, I’ve found the quickest way to identify a specific garden pest is:
Google>(plant name) +pest>images; look through the images for one that matches problem you’re seeing in your garden.
Another, more perfect but not as quick, identification method is, “catch them in the act”. Most crawling pest feast when we’re not around, at night or early in the morning. Since their brains are so tiny, I’ll assume that they are not cleverly sneaky, just avoiding the mid-day heat. If you inspect your plants at sunrise or dusk, you’re likely to spot the criminal.

 

Once identified, you could check the home page or site map of my favorite garden doctors. Okay, full disclosure, the site displays ads from pesticide corporations, like Terminex. But the authors of the content offer imaginative solutions along with time-tested methods for eliminated pests and diseases. There is nothing humorous about losing ownership of your garden to pests; but I like how these guys think…and appreciate their sense of humor. Eric D. Ronning wrote about dealing with Yellow Jackets; “Don’t be all that and a bag of chips. If you tart yourself up with brightly patterned clothing and use perfume, cologne, lotion, hairspray, or hair gel, you’re asking yellow jackets to be interested in you.”

Along with helping to lower the stress, the site offers a variety of non-chemical solutions: “Pyrethrin dust. Pyrethrins are an extremely effective natural insecticide made from chrysanthemums.”  Yes, “chrysanthemums”- flowers. That must be environmentally safe, right?

The Doctors suggest, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) may save my spinach. DE made from ground-up, fossilized remains of diatoms (microscopic ocean critters) and kills insects by inflicting little lacerations on their bodies when they crawl over or through it. (I wonder how they harvest this?)

If it turns out to be too late to save the last of my spinach,  it’s important to remember; spinach is a Spring crop, and mine has had a good run.

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