Episode 5: The Pests, Fighting Off Garden Bugs in Maine
"Dirty Homecoming©" - Written, performed, and recorded by Mattie J. Bamman
“If nothing’s eating your garden, then you aren’t a part of the eco-system.”
In Episode 5: The Pests, I face something entirely new and destructive: garden pests. In 2019, we didn’t have a single bad bacteria, bug, bird, burrowing brute, or ravenous beast, but, in 2020, we got hit hard by cucumber beetles, squash beetles, and an invasive fruit fly, among other to-be-announced feral forces.
Despite the destruction, I never let it get me down. Everyday working outdoors in nature is a reward in itself, and I will tell you now, we’re still eating our homegrown organic vegetables daily, so it didn’t cause lasting damage to our subsistence goals.
Here's how we tried to repel them organically:
- Cucumber beetles: Tried an organic spray containing BT (only sprayed at night to avoid harming other helpful insects) without success. Handpicked into soap water in mornings, when the beetles were sleepy. Ultimately failed, removed all infected plants, and burned remaining plant matter. Cucumber beetles can overwinter in wood, so our game plan in 2021 is to delay plantings of cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini. Hopefully, the beetles will move on to tastier pastures.
- Squash beetles: Same as cucumber beetles; however, the squash beetles were much less destructive. Hopefully we caught them soon enough that they won’t return in 2021.
- Spotted wing drosophila: I’m pretty sure I’ve identified this pest correctly. The BT spray was effective, saving our strawberries.
Airing next Friday, Episode 6 is all about cooking with homegrown vegetables at the height of summer. It debuts next Friday, March 12, here on RavenousFarmer.com.