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user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 203
I've got lupine seedlings in the cold frame almost ready to transplant. Now I know where to place them!
A former member
Post #: 151
Just my thoughts, but I wouldn't worry about a lady bug invasion just because I released a few in my yard - I'd be more worried that they wouldn't want to stick around. I've actually always enjoyed seeing a few around the house in the wintertime. smile Though I guess I'd be singing a different tune if I actually was invaded. Looking into the problem I found that it is the Asian Ladybug, a fairly recent import, that is the problem. Here is the Wikipedia article:

I see that they have pictures to compare and see exactly what sort of ladybug one has found.
A former member
Post #: 152
Reading the wiki article reminded me of what bad shape we're in when it comes to pest control compared with what my grandmother may have had to put up with. I have a climbing rose just outside of the window as I sit here and I've watched the birds eating the aphids that it had, and they seemed to have cleaned it up pretty well. But our bird population is way down with no end in sight. The swallows returned about 3 weeks ago - swallows, as in two swallows.. Considering that this is one of the few big barns in the area and it is right next to a pond, there must have been hundreds at one time. In fact one can see old nest remains, dozens of them, in the barn. Then too, there is the mysterious "white nose disease" which threatens to kill perhaps all of our bats, another great form of pest control.

Global warming apparently is causing climate change which has caused the spread of timber diseases that threaten to wipe out species much the way that we lost our elms and chestnuts. And then too we lost many of our native bees to introduced honey bees which are now dying as well.

And the introduced species with no natural enemy; the most recent one is that orange beetle that infects lilies and cleverly hides its eggs by making them look like caterpillar droppings.

As far as I'm concerned we are seeing the end of fossil fuels just in the nick of time to save our planet, and that's if we're lucky since the changes in the oceans may have passed the point of no return already. It is encouraging that almost overnight one is beginning to see articles in the mainstream media on peak oil and global warming, and even of late articles that suggest that it is time once again for Victory Gardens. I believe that the current thinking suggests that evolution did not so much occur in one long steady stream, but rather occasional leaps and bounds. I would like to think that we are currently in one of those accelerated periods of change.
A former member
Post #: 153
Oh, one more thing! Francesco I note that you grow Angelica. I had it once thinking it was a perennial, however the second year it went to seed and that was the end of it. I did some research at the time that suggested that it is a biannual but if you remove the flowers it will come back the following year. I looked it up again last night and the information they gave was confusing. Does anyone that grows it have any advice?

Also, does anyone grow collards? Fedco says to "plant in July to avoid flea beetles". What are flea beetles?
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 209
I'm new at this too, Mary. I noticed somewhere in the FEDCO catalog they advised using row covers to foil the flea beetle.

I will say this: I have lots of collards sitting without sign of any problems in our hoop house waiting to be transplanted. But here's the clue: I've kept all the seedlings under reemay and agri-bon.

And very soon when I transplant them I'll be cover the transplant hoping that'll work as advised it could.

Googling flea beetles I found this: " In organic systems, the preferred approaches to pest management are those that enhance the diversity of the farm system, such as cover cropping, rotation, and interplanting; those that use special knowledge of pest biology, such as delayed planting;"
Portland, ME
Post #: 4
I've been very fortunate with Angelica. It is a biannual, and for me has always gone to seed prolifically, so every year I have both babies and second year plants. I love its hugeness and its wild-looking flowers. I've never used it for anything, tho. Any ideas? I also have some beautiful volunteer borage plants---does anyone use this?

Flea beetles: Rally a pain, and row covers help immensely. They seem to have a couple cycles during the summer, so when I plant cucumbers they decimate the first planting, and they are mostly gone for the second planting. Then, when the beetles are doing their second cycle a month or so later, my new plants are big enough to withstand them---unless the cucumber beetles have visited. Overall, I just use row covers for cucumbers until they blossom, then remove it and watch for cucumber beetles, which can be squashed by hand, unlike flea beetles. Flea beetles look like tiny black specks that fly away, and make swiss cheese of leaves. Cucumber beetles are yellow, smaller than ladybugs, and tend to hang out at the base of the plants and under the leaves.
A former member
Post #: 156
Thanks for all the great info Kiya. I had so many cucumber beetles that they almost killed my plants practically overnight. I used Rotenone and it was so effective that I'm going to keep using it as needed. I read somewhere to use petunias as a companion plant to discourage them, however I had a wild cucumber come up in a tub that I had planted petunias in and it had bugs as well. Actually I have never had any luck with companion planting to discourage pests. I do plant marigolds here and there and put a nasturtium with each squash hill, but it's more because I like the way it looks.

I did see my first squash bug, does anyone have any advice on them?

Well I did look for signs of flea beetles, and so far it seems I don't have them...knock on wood.biggrin But I'd like to learn more about row covers. Where do you buy yours and what seems to work best? How do you hold it down?

I used to have borage and plan to have it again as my new garden develops. Seems to me that young leaves can be used in salad, but all I ever did with it was suck the honey out of the flowers. smile I would like Angelica just for fun too, but I have read that the stems can be candied.
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 195
Try getting some tomatillos. They attract squash bugs. They seem to like them more than squash. That said, certain squashes like melons attract them more than others. They don't bother the butternut much if there is cantaloupe or watermelon around. I'm getting to the point where I think the only thing good about the melons is their ability to attract away from other species. They sure are hard to grow. If it isn't squash bugs its slugs. I had trouble with dogs biting into my ripe cantaloupes one year (both my own and my neighbor's dog). I have gotten some good ones some years though. I even got honeydew one year.

A former member
Post #: 160
Yes I noticed your advice David. I've had tomatillos over the years, like you from volunteers. But this year everything is all brand new--no volunteers. I did do a little dumpster diving today when I was down in BBH. The church has a free food day and then they throw everything left over out. Since they don't recycle anything, plastics and cardboard are apparently too hard to sort out, I was looking for cardboard for the garden. Found a tomatillo and a bunch of jalapenos in one box. I'll stuff the peppers and save the tomatillo for seeds for next year.
user 3832381
Portland, ME
Post #: 45
Funny thing, we had tons of ladybug larvae last year, and had tons of Angelica (four amazingly beautiful and huge plants I stuck in as seedlings the autumn before and I let them go to seed). This year we have just one gorgeous Angelica and henceforth about a fourth of the larvae we had last year. The larvae showed up last week, and only seem to like our Angelica and could care less about the Lupin, which also gets an aphid infestation. If there is enough larvae to spare, I'll surely bring some to Elaine and Francis' open house/permie tour.

I hear that Angelica makes a nice tea and helps relieve an upset tummy, although I have not tried this.

I think of our Angelica as a marvelous sculpture in the garden. Mother Nature truly is the most exquisite artist.
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