Hey guys! I'm new here and hoping someone has some suggestions that can help me. I've grown vegetable gardens the past 6 years, (in Plano, TX)and EVERY year, I find myself fighting pests that are destroying my vegetables. I'm tired of it. Every day it's something new. Every year I fight spider mites on my tomatoes, cucumber beetles on cucs, etc. Bugs seem worse this year and here much earlier. (I'm guessing due to weird weather we've had this year..)Every year I say "Enough, I'm not growing anything next year!" Yet of course I do...I can't stop...I love gardening so much, and nothing beats homegrown veggies! (no matter how few I actaully get to harvest before the pests damage everything) But on the flip-side, it's getting really expensive to treat the pests, especilly since nothing seems to work well.
I'm growing English garden peas for the first time, and everything was going great..first peas are almost ready to harvest. My husband and I were so excited, and our mouths were watering! Then 2 days ago I noticed aphids on the pea leaves. Sprayed with organic insecticidal soap. Helped for 1 day, then today, aphids are back as well as black caterpillars eating holes in the pea pods.
Planted 8 cucumber plants, 4 zucchini, and 6 squash plants, all the plants were so so pretty and healthy that I grew from seed, and today found little tiny green worms all over the leaves, (look like inch worms..) and the edges of the leaves are turning brown. Tomatoes were doing great, then yesterday bottom leaves on all 8 plants are covered in tiny perfectly round holes. As well as all the green tomatoes on lower vines having larger holes eaten in them.
Things I have tried over the past years:
Neem oil products-Seems to help, but no matter what, always seems to burn the plants (as does any oil spray I use) Yes, I apply in evening and on cooler days.
Garlic Sprays, Pepper Wax Sprays-Never seems to even slow pests down
Comapanion plants-in past years, seems to help deter bugs for a couple of weeks, then no effect. No effect at all this year.
Beneficial insects-May help some, but the bad ones end up winning and killing all my plants.
Sulphur dusts seem to work somewhat, but then the bees and butterflies leave and so cucs, zuccs, and squash lose pollinators.
The other thing that does work is Spinosad spray, when used all over the entire side yard where the veggie garens are, but 2 questions about this...1.) I'm scared of hurting beneficial insects with such a wide application, and 2.) will this spray hurt all of my young plants, since normally I only have to use it in mid summer when plants are mature.
One more question: When my cucs, and zucchinis develope powdery mildew, other fungus, or viruses,(which they always do by mid-summer) will sprays and dusts (copper or other) for these drive off or hurt butterlies, bees, and ladybugs? I'm always so hesitant to use them, but sometimes have no choice...
Any suggestions for organic pest control that have worked for you guys would be appreciated, I'm so frustrated!
Thanks guys, and I'm sorry this post is so long!