Saturday, May 06, 2006

Uninvited Dinner Guests

Yesterday I discovered my first pest in my community garden plot this year. I think they are flea beetles, but please correct me if I am wrong. The were really enjoying the broccoli. I've never been bothered by them before, so I don't have much experience getting rid of them. The first remedy that I tried was to spray them with some water. That only worked for about 30 seconds. They were soon back. Today I will head back to the garden to try what I usually try next for any insect problem. I'll wet the plants and then sprinkle the plants with garlic powder. If that doesn't work, I'll start searching for other organic solutions.


  1. I don't know flea beetles either but I looked them up in The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control. Definitely looks like what you've got!

    They suggest covering seedlings with a row cover until the adult beetles die off. Flea beetles prefer full sun so if you can interplant crops (for shade) that should help. Their larvae live in the ground so parasitic nematodes help with the larvae. You can also spray with neem or pyrethrin.

    The same book also says that neem used to be restricted to nonfood plants and that it is "almost nontoxic" to mammals.

    Pyrethrin is "moderately toxic" to mammals. It only works at lower temps (below 80F).

  2. I've got 'em too, and they're destroying my radishes. They're on my other kohl plants too but haven't damaged those as much.

    Check out this page on ATTRA's site for more info. ATTRA is technically a resource for rural organic farmers, but it's got some dynamite info.

    I might try a little diatomaceous earth or a garlic spray. Fortunately, I'm not that fond of radishes.

  3. I haven't visited for a while and have enjoyed catching up on your posts. You are a very resourceful gardener! I'm glad you found a place for the raised bed. I'll be interested to know if the garlic spray worked. These hungry little pests love our mesclun mix!!! Your daughters and families are lucky to have a mom who will share her veges and produce :) Our vege garden is much too big for us too so we give a lot away. It's good to have extra to share. It was nice to see you featured on Stuart's blog (Gardening for Dummies).

  4. I think the diatomaceous earth has knocked mine out. I sprinkled some directly on the leaves Sunday morning, and by Monday night there were very few beetles left. Just have to be careful not to breathe it in or get it in your eyes...

  5. I have flea beetles munching happily on my potato plants now :(

    Found this great link though!
    flea beetles.

  6. Nous avons les mêmes problèmes dans notre jardin , en France !