Toads vs Ladybugs
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Author:  bmohr9 [ Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:42 am ]
Post subject:  Toads vs Ladybugs

Happy Independence Day! I'm a 2nd year gardener and so far year 2 has already been a big improvement. Last year heavy rains along with heavy clay soil wiped out most of the early seedlings. I was able to get a decent amount of tomato, corn, watermelon (grown on large mounds) and various peppers. Rabits killed the beans and broccoli prior to the rains and after re-planting, all of the broccoli bolted. I did not battle with any bug problems and the fence that I put up took care of the bunnys.

I just began to notice many holes in the leaves of my pole beans and after hours of online research, decided to use a simple soap solution of 2 tbls of pure castile soap flakes to 2 quarts of water. It appears to have done a decnt job after checking this morning. I would prefer to control these pests in the future using benificial bugs or toads. Lathough the kids prefer the toads, they do seem to be a little higher maintenace, but I don't mind. I have also noticed that I do not see as many ladybugs as I did earlier, so I am wondering if the benificials are less affective now that we are into the summer

If anyone has first hand experience with both, please share.

Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Toads vs Ladybugs

Where are you?

Author:  bmohr9 [ Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Toads vs Ladybugs

SE Michigan, about 2 miles east of Lake Erie and 30 miles north of the Ohio border.

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Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Toads vs Ladybugs

Toads can't reach the bugs on the plants, so they're only part of the answer. Beneficial nematodes can help with some of the caterpillar sorts of pests and are a good idea in general to use, but you may need to go to a neem product for all of these chewing pests. Don't apply it in the heat of the day or you'll clobber plants.

Author:  bmohr9 [ Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Toads vs Ladybugs

Thanks, I don't know what I was thinking. Of course a toad tongue can't reach 5 feet up...... duh. I'm going with the neem product, but I think I will wait a few more days, since I just sprayed with the soap solution, and they don't look too bad.

In general, will holes in the leaves affect the production of the plants, assuming that I stopped the problem?
Is there any reason that I shouldn't eat the spring mix lettuce that is near by and have a few small holes?

Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Toads vs Ladybugs

You're possibly expecting your garden to generate the uniform produce that you see in the grocery store - in reality, there is a lot in the garden that doesn't match that state of perfection. The nice surprise is that though you get some funny little fruits or veggies, you get to enjoy the monster pieces! I've had grapefruit-sized tomatoes this year that would never make their way to the grocery store (they wouldn't fit in the partitioned boxes!) I don't know any serious gardeners who throw away any but the worst looking produce. You have a knife, cut the spot off. :) Same with the lettuce, tear of the brown spot and eat the rest. The discards go into the compost.

Holes in leaves are going to be there, too many may slow the plants' growth or production of a crop, but you can't avoid all of them. Organics is about having a healthy garden, but a hermetic environment with no pests isn't the goal - that's the Ortho or Amdro view of the world. Keeping the pests to a minimum and under control and allowing the beneficial bugs to do their job an a garden with healthy soil (under a good mulch) is the goal.

Author:  sandih [ Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Toads vs Ladybugs

You should be amending your heavy clay soil with organic compost, Lava sand (and/or green sand) and molasses. That will break up the clay and increase the nutritional value. If you are organic in your landscape and garden care, the beneficials will come. Also, plant flowering plants that are native to your area. Your plants could be stressed, which tend to draw harmful insect to it. Be sure you are fertilizing every 2-3 weeks with a balanced, organic fertilizer. Check the Vegetable section of the forum for other advise or to ask further questions.

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