Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Dear friends,

Yesterday I had great plans to spend the day in the garden planting some new daylily bulbs, dividing the comfrey, yarrow and oregano to transplant to the sides of the house where there is (HORRORS!) bare dirt from when we cut all the evil nandinas back to paint the house.

So, I walked outside and saw a literal cloud of insects hovering over one of my new pepper plants, an experiment in growing things right beside an herb bed in the backyard. Last week, I had identified the culprit--the four-lined plant bug. I saw a few of these last year, but they disappeared (I thought) so I forgot about them. They re-emerged last week on some of my salvias, the comfrey, my oregano and skullcap. I jetted them with water and thought the problem was taken care of.

NOPE! I think they just enjoyed the spring shower. Girding my loins and with the knowledge that I'd have to do something more drastic before they reached my baby Porter tomatoes (next door in the bed to the comfrey), I proceeded to demolish the little buggers. Or carpe Poecilocapsus lineatus, as the Latins say.

I got some great advice on dealing with them from my online gardenistas and Howard Garrett's website and Garden Gate magazine.

And a pic, from Fine Gardening magazine:

Turns out, there are about a bijillion bugs similar to this. They leave brown fungal-spot like marks on leaves so you might think you have some sort of fungus going on. Look underneath the leaves and you might see the insects, quickly scurrying to hide.

Using what I had on-hand, and always the organic approach, I mixed some orange oil, molasses and dish-soap in a spray bottle and got busy. I could tell that the little darlings didn't like the spray. I just hope it either kills them to sends them packing onto the neighbor's Bermude grass lawn.

It's always something when you're trying to tend a garden. I've been doing a lot of thinking about garden size, when it's time to downsize and make things easier to maintain and enjoy. As Husband says, I've reached the tipping point. More about that later!

Go plant something! And don't forget to smell the roses. . .

bobbi c.

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