Last year I only elevated a few plants off the ground so I had a lot of problems. With insects and a moist environment that caused several unwanted disease causing organisms and damaging fungi, I felt as if my garden was doomed for failure. (It did fail, if you’re wondering.) In addition to improving my soil by adding manure, I want to use techniques to keep my plants off the ground.
Because I am working from home, I will be able to alter the times of the day that I work in my garden. Last year I didn’t get home from work until after 7:30pm. I had just enough daylight to grab an empty Gatorade bottle and go pick stink bugs off my squash. I was attempting to have an organic garden but it got to the point where I just couldn’t keep up with the bugs. Unless you’ve had these in your garden, you may not realize how quickly they take over and how much damage they do.
Rather than take all of the squash bugs off our plants by hand or use Sevin, we tried using lime throughout the garden. The lime does not stop the little golden eggs from hatching, but nymphs and adults hate it. I guess it suffocates them. We still have squash bugs throughout the garden, but we’re not really seeing a huge infestation like last year. I am hoping that next year will be even better because we’ve killed off a number of them this season.
Although I didn’t run into this problem last year, I found that the lime also helped stop the vine borers. I had lost 4 plants before putting it in the garden. By this point the plants were already about 1 foot high and the vines spread about two feet. I didn’t do anything extra to protect the vines.
I also put the lime on the tomato plants because I got hornworms that ate the leaves off last year. The leaves are healthy and the plants are growing wonderfully. (By the way, you can use a UV light to find hornworms at night. During the day, they blend in with the tomato plants.)
The first time I put the lime on the garden, I sprayed a diluted solution of lime and water on the leaves. Even with a few days of heavy rainful, the lime stayed on the plants. I decided that it was best to just moderately sprinkle it on the leaves and shake the leaves to prevent the lime from going on too thick. If the lime is too thick, it will actually burn the leaves.