There has been one thing here that we have purposely not focused on until now. Pest control.
Once the plants have sprouted and are growing, and after you have pinched them, it is pretty hard to stop them from blooming all summer long. The one thing that can change the look of the plants is disease and pests. How to control these problems is probably the most controversial of all the subjects we have talked about.
Everything from aphids to thrips and the dreaded Japanese cucumber beetle will want to make a lunch out of your precious flowers. There are numerous chemicals both organic and non-organic that can be used to control these types of problems. You will need to decide what is best for you.
We used all organics in 2019 and we are very happy with the results. A new product we tried is one called Peppermint Fury. It’s for the control of soft bodied insects (thrips, aphids, spider mites) and powdery mildew. It seemed to work well for us but again, what works for us may not work for you.
There are some funguses that may require an anti-disease and fungal spray. Here on our farm, we make a conscious decision to go as natural as possible.
We release a large number of beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantis. We also hand pick those annoying Japanese Cucumber Beetles from the plants daily. A large number of funguses are spread by chewing pests so controlling them goes a long way to controlling virus and funguses.
So what does all this mean? When you come out to our garden you may see a leaf with a small hole and an occasional pest but more importantly, you will enjoy the hummingbirds coming and going throughout the day. The honey and bumblebees get to take non-toxic pollen back to their hives and you won’t see residual film on the plants left behind by sprays.
We prefer to allow an occasional leaf or flower petal to have a small hole in it from a pest in trade for allowing Mother Nature to take its course to create a vibrant garden humming and buzzing with life. Not to mention you will end up getting an armfull of flowers so a few small holes in the petals won’t become an issue. Enjoy!