Tag Archive | flowers

Trying Out Something New


(EDIT:  This post was done using the trial version of Gutenberg, the new format WordPress is rolling out soon.  I am not sure if I did not do it right or it is a glitch, but the various paragraphs are not showing up in the post.  Looks great in the editing view, but like I have no writing skills in post view.  Figures!  Anyway, enjoy the run-on paragraph mess.)   As many of my subscribers know, the postings on my blog have become sparse at best.  The various obligations of being a wife and mother, a small business owner, a church officer, and more have made it so that I do not have a moment to spare… much less sit down for an hour or two to craft a blog article.  My blog is completely free and I do not make a penny off of it; therefore, it sits with many other pursuits at the bottom of the pile that remains mostly untouched during the past few years. As my seed business grows larger and my customers have the desire to read pre-made articles on various topics, I have decided to revamp my blog to make it 1.) more customer friendly so there are plenty of articles related to what I sell plus some other topics, 2.) it is more search engine friendly, 3.) provides up-to-date content, and 4.) is set up to allow me to post quickly and easily. Wordpress is currently undergoing changes that will help me on the “quick and easy” bit, but the new format will not support some (possibly all) of my previous posts in the format that they were in.  I have the option to make certain changes to them to make them more compatible with the new format.  In an effort to do this with my limited time, most of my old posts will be disappearing in the near future (before November 1, 2018) and will be reappearing rewritten and updated for the new format and potential up-to-date content. I am not sure how long it will be between the disappearance and reappearance of the articles, as it will depend on me, my ability to adapt to and learn the changes that are being made in WordPress, and how detailed it is to make the appropriate changes to the content to make it not only accurate for the subject but also fully interactive with all of my social media platforms.    My current plan is to re-release the articles ‘in season’ with the particular topic so that I have the ability to add a video demonstrating a technique or list a new 2019 variety or whatnot. I ask for your patience during this time, but hey, for the most part, it will be kind of like the “same old” with not many posts.  Stick with me.  If WordPress follows through on what their changes promise to be, and I can make the ideas in my head a reality, this blog will be popping by the time all is said and done. Good luck with any gardening endeavors (or planning) that you have in the next few months.  I look forward to surprising you with something interesting once winter comes. 😉 *************************************************************************************** © Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Buy Big or Buy Small: Does Pot Size and Quantity Matter with Tomatoes?


“My friend and I don’t agree with how we buy our plants. My friend buys all her tomatoes and peppers in little packs of 3, 4, or 6. They look so skinny and sickly. I always buy mine in single pots because they are bigger and better and blooming. She tells me I am nuts to spend so much money on the same thing as her. I know my plants will grow better. What do you think? I plan to show her your response, so make it good!

Janelle”

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Dear Janelle,

Thanks for your questions. Sorry to burst your bubble, but bigger isn’t always better.

Commercial greenhouses sell single potted tomatoes, peppers, etc. to:

1. Appeal to the customer’s eyes by having them think that big plant with flowers will produce fruit soon.

2. Appeal to the customer’s brain by making them think that the plant will be healthier and better because the single potted plants are always darker green and have such a sturdy stem.

3. Appeal to the customer’s wallet because things that are more expensive are better quality.

Tomato Transplants

The sad thing is, all of these things are untrue when it comes to plants.  There are so many reason why that:

1.  Days to Maturity:  If you have ever looked at a packet of tomato seeds or the plant stake that is included in a pot when you buy the tomato plant at the greenhouse, you will see that it has “– days after transplant”. With tomatoes and other plants that require a boost indoors before being planted outside, the days to maturity is based on the days after transplanting. It doesn’t matter if your plant if 4 inches tall with 6 leaves or 12 inches tall with 16 leaves: it will still take the same amount of days after transplanting to have fruits.

2.  Transplant shock: Transplant shock occurs to every plant when it is taken from one place and put in another. It doesn’t matter if you have a large root mass or a small one — all movement is shocking to the plant. The larger the plant is, the more shock it will have and the longer it will take to recover from the shock because it is an older plant. (For those in the northern states, most greenhouses start single potted vegetables 4-8 weeks earlier than those in multipacks).  So while your large tomato plant is recovering from the rude awakening of being put into your garden, your friend’s little tomatoes will quickly recover and soon be as large (if not larger) than yours and yours will still be recovering and not growing.  In general, the best size plant for transplanting is one that is 4-8″ tall. Any larger than that and you are setting yourself up for a lot of shock.

3. Flowers don’t mean fruit: Just because a tomato is flowering when you buy it doesn’t mean those flowers will have fruit. Flowering is often a sign that a plant is in shock. It’s like the plant is saying, “oh no, things are not right in my current environment, I need to flower and produce fruit because I may soon die.”  Flowering tomato or pepper plants in a greenhouse indicate that your plant has been growing for a long time (probably since February or earlier) and is more than ready to be producing fruit. However, the little pot that it is growing in is a much smaller amount of soil than the plant requires to make fruit. The flowers will usually drop without producing fruit or the fruits that are produced will be small and of low quality. Also, if you plant your transplants soon after purchasing them and leave the flowers on, they will produce fruits, but the plant will focus on producing those fruits only rather than growing larger and making more fruits. It is always best to pinch off all buds and blooms on vegetable plants when they are transplanted into the soil.

4.  Extra Green Color: When you go to the greenhouse, you notice that the larger plants are always much darker green. This is because the greenhouse overfertilizes the single pots to increase their size and make them as dark green as possible. When you get the plant home and don’t continue to overfertilize it, it will go into ‘starvation’ mode and not grow. If you think continuing to overfertilize the plant will help it, you are wrong. Overfertilizing will prevent flower/fruit development. (And if you are wondering how the plants at the greenhouse flowered while being overfertilized, it is due to shock. Same thing won’t happen when the plant is in your garden with plenty of root space, light, and water.)

5. Expense: The truth is, seeds are cheap. Insanely cheap. On average, an open pollinated or heirloom variety will cost about $0.001-0.005/per seed (that’s right, tenths of a cent).  Hybrids usually cost $0.005-0.05/per seed.  While there is an addition cost of fertilizer, water, etc., it doesn’t come close to adding up to the premium price of the single potted plants. And, as a person that used to work in the greenhouse industry, the greenhouse owner is chuckling over the people that buy ‘premium’ plants all the way to the bank.

So, Janelle, unfortunately for you, your friend has it right.

Don’t believe me? Research done by the Samuel Roberts Foundation, Iowa State, and UC Cooperative Extension backs me up on this.

I hope this information helps you out and that you make a wiser decision in the future. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Seed Savers Exchange Just Got a Bit Cooler…


Today I was reading the various posts on my Facebook page, and one from SSE caught my eye:

We are beyond excited to introduce our NEW Online Seed Exchange, the ultimate resource for all you diversity-loving gardeners out there. Since 1975 our members have been sharing thousands of seeds every year in the seed exchange, and this new online resource is the next step for keeping diversity in the hands of many: http://blog.seedsavers.org/online-seed-exchange/
We are beyond excited to introduce our NEW Online Seed Exchange, the ultimate resource for all you diversity-loving gardeners out there. Since 1975 our members have been sharing thousands of seeds every year in the seed exchange, and this new online resource is the next step for keeping diversity in the hands of many: http://blog.seedsavers.org/online-seed-exchange/
YES! YES! YES, YES, YES!
Back in the day and age when I was employed at a seed company, our seed buyer received a copy of the Yearbook. Our company was not part of the membership, and no one there was interested in it… except me.  Between the yearbook and the Seed Inventory book, I could be content for hours.
While this website only allows members to purchase seed, it is fun to look at for non-members too. It is amazing how many different varieties there are out there!

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Content from Seed Savers Exchange from their Facebook page.

Crocosmia: Gladiolus’ Cooler, Hardier Cousin


“How do I grow Crocosmia?

Marion

See Marion’s question here.

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Hi Marion,

Thanks for the question. Crocosmia are awesome plants to grow — and really simple too!

A single glance at the plant forms of glads and crocosmia leaves no question as to whether these are related. (Absolutely: they are.) But these cousins certainly approach life differently. Glads are the “belle of the ball” types, with kaleidoscope blooms and flowers festooned with wild patterns and ruffles. Crocosmia stick to the yellow-orange-red side of the color wheel and deliver a concentrated, straight-forward presentation with glacefully arched spray of blossoms. Crocosmia are also tougher when it come to winter temperatures, weathering Zone 5 or Zone 6 chills, depending on the variety. While these cousins are different, but both are beautiful, each earning its place in the summer garden.

There are two main ways to grow them: in outdoor beds (southern locations) or in a container (northern climates Zone 5 and north).  Keep in mind that Crocosmia can be slow to sprout, sometimes taking a number of weeks to do so. Be patient!

–Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2″-3″ to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Crocosmia will not survive in soggy settings.
  2. Site your Crocosmia where they’ll receive full sun.
  3. Plant the bulbs (corms, actually) 2″-3″ deep and 8″-10″ apart. Place them with the pointy end facing up.
  4. After planting, water your Crocosmia generously to settle the soil around the corms. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soil and air temperatures. If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Crocosmia need heat to get them going and can be slow to sprout.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut Crocosmia flowers for bouquets. The arched sprays add colorful highlights and varied flower forms to arrangements. Snipping flowers will not hurt your plants.
  6. After blossoming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place, don’t cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s show. Water as needed. Leaves may be removed when they yellow.
  7. Your Crocosmia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.
–Planters, Pots, Tubs, Urns, etc.
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; Crocosmia corms must not sit in waterlogged soil or they risk rotting.
  2. Feel free to mix Crocosmia with other plants in the same container. Just keep in mind that all must have the same light and water needs.
  3. Plant the corms 2″-3″ deep and 8″ apart. Place them with the pointy end facing up.
  4. After planting, water your Crocosmia generously to settle the soil around the corms. Roots and sprouts will form in a few weeks, depending on soil and air temperatures. If temperatures are still cool in your area, wait until they warm before planting. Crocosmia need heat to get them going and can be slow to sprout.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut Crocosmia flowers for bouquets. The arched sprays add colorful highlights and varied flower forms to arrangements. Snipping flowers will not hurt your plants.
  6. After blossoming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place, don’t cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s show. Water as needed. Leaves may be removed when they yellow.
  7. Your Crocosmia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.

And last, but not least, it is always important remember that the growing tip of a Crocosmia corm is sensative. Identify this area and try not to touch it. Bumping or bruising it can make the corm less likely to sprout.

Thanks for your question, and if you have any others, please feel free to ask!

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Curb Appeal: Enhancing the Value of Your Home with Gardening


It’s not just when you put your home on the market that you should think about improving the curb appeal of your home. Of course, that’s the trendy topic of more than a few TV shows, books and blogs, which is a good thing! But, we are proponents of improving curb appeal for your own enjoyment, as well as for the betterment of your neighborhood and community.

An attractive, well-maintained yard and garden is a key part of curb appeal. If you are trying to market your home, the first impression of a house and the surrounding landscape can make a potential buyer take a closer look at the property or immediately move on to the next house. Attractive landscaping can help a house sell days or weeks faster than other houses on the market. It’s estimated that well-maintained trees and gardens can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.

All homeowners should make outdoor cleaning a priority. Investing a little time and a few dollars can make the outside of your home sparkle. Mow the lawn and rake up leftover leaves or debris. Trim trees and shrubs by removing broken branches and any unsafe, low or overhanging branches. Trim the grass encroaching on the sidewalk and driveway. Tidy up any flowerbeds by cutting a new edge or trimming grass away from the borders and pull all offending weeds. Then add a few bags of mulch around the base of plantings for a nice, clean look.

That’s what we call basic landscape upkeep and if that’s all you have time for, you certainly can stop there but you’re not getting that full 15% of enhanced home value.

Now’s the time to consider a few gardening tasks to really improve the look of your home. Gardening doesn’t have to be a lot of work or take a lot of time. A few shortcuts can create an instant garden. You don’t even have to own a shovel!

Start by adding containers of colorful flowers. They are easy to grow and can be placed in many areas around the house and yard. Put a container by the front door to welcome visitors. If you have a covered porch, add a few hanging baskets. Attach some window boxes to the deck rail or at the base of several key windows.

Enhance an ordinary planting of shrubs by grouping colorful containers in front and around the shrubs to make the area look larger and more attractive.

You’ll find an assortment of pre-planted containers in a variety of plant and color combinations available at the local garden center, home store, supermarket or hardware store. At this time of year, there are beautiful containers of fall flowers such as mums, flowering kale or cabbage, pansies, violas, and more to provide a quick pop of color and character. Simply determine if the container is recommended for sunny areas or shaded spots, then choose whichever matches the conditions where you’ll put the container.  Keep the container watered and remove faded flowers to keep plants blooming.

Looking for something more unique? Design and plant your own containers. Available in a variety of sizes and colors there’s a style of plant container to complement any home. Whether you like plastic or clay, ceramic or wood, there are two simple rules. Select a container that’s large enough for the plants and make sure it has drainage for excess water so plants don’t drown. Then fill the container with a good soilless growing media. For easy maintenance, choose a media that contains a slow-release fertilizer for healthy plant growth.

When deciding which plants to choose, express your creativity by selecting plants or flowers in the colors or combinations you like. If you’re a cook, choose a variety of tasty herbs or mix herbs with flowers and vegetables in the same container. The possibilities are endless. If you need a little inspiration, look at pre-planted containers at retail stores for ideas of pleasing plant combinations.

Some new homeowners who want a larger garden may find that their soil is not the best so an easy solution is to garden in raised beds. They can be quickly made from landscape timbers, lumber, or bricks.  Raised bed kits of wood or recycled plastic can be purchased from garden catalogs and websites. After assembling the frame, simply fill with bags of high-quality soil, compost, and composted manure.  Annual flowers and vegetables such as lettuce and beans  can be grown in a shallow raised bed that is 4-6 inches deep. For perennial flowers and plants such as tomatoes that need to develop a more extensive root system, a bed that is 8-12 inches deep is recommended.

Plants can also provide solutions to some potential homeowner problems. Maybe you’d like some privacy or a screen to hide an unsightly view. A hedge of shrubs is great but can take time to grow and fill in. In the meantime, plant a row of sunflowers from seed or plants. They grow quickly, withstand heat, dry conditions, and provide beautiful flowers. As an extra benefit, the flowers can be cut for attractive bouquets. Do you want to soften the appearance of a chain-link or wire fence? Plant some morning glories or a vegetable such as cucumber, squash, or gourds at the base of the fence. The vines will grow quickly using the fence for support while covering it with leaves and delightful flowers or nourishing vegetables.

These ideas provide all homeowners with easy ways to become involved in gardening. Whether your garden is a hanging basket, a colorful flower border, or a large bed of delicious vegetables, you’ll enhance the value of your home and create a more beautiful living space for everyone to enjoy.

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Taking Your Garden to Rustic Levels: Wildflowers!


I think that wildflowers have to be one of the loveliest gifts on this Earth. Their changing panorama of colors, shapes, sizes and heights provides delight throughout the seasons. Wildflowers can be used anywhere — in the home landscape, they are ideal for creating colorful beds and borders, as well as offering a lower-maintenance alternative for large areas or replacing grass. Wildflowers can be planted to cover large, open areas or assist in the recovery of a landscape that has been damaged or destroyed by the actions of people, a natural disaster, or the spread of invasive plants.

So what exactly makes a flower a ‘wildflower’. It is not an exact term nor is it well defined. Some people say a wildflower is a plant that was not intentionally seeded or planted and grows without cultivation.  Others classify a wildflower as any plant growing without the help of man regardless of the  country of origin. Still others define a wildflower as a plant found in a specific geographic area that was grown from seed or plants also from that area.

Wildflowers and other plants that were growing before European settlement in what we now call the United States, Canada and Mexico are called native plants or indigenous species. Other plants, often referred to as exotics or aliens, were originally brought here from another part of the world. Many exotic species including flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs are among our favorite garden plants. A few, including some wildflowers, have escaped and become established as part of a local environment or naturalized. Some exotic species have even become invasive and are considered noxious weeds that need to be eradicated.

A garden of wildflowers offers benefits to both the gardener and the environment. Once established, properly chosen wildflowers require less maintenance than traditional landscape plantings which can mean less watering, fertilizing, pest control and mowing. Some plants have deep root systems that prevent water run off and soil erosion, and enable them to withstand drought. Their growth also brings earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms to enhance soil health. And colorful blossoms can be arranged into lovely, casual bouquets that brighten the home.

Flowers provide nectar and pollen sources for bees, butterflies and other pollinators, while ripened seeds are a food source for birds and wildlife. Current research suggests that native plants and flowers might be more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers. Even a small area in a garden or landscape planted with wildflowers that bloom at varying times throughout the growing season helps attract and support pollinators.

Many of these beautiful yet hard-working plants are equally at home in garden beds and borders as they are in larger wildflower plantings and restoration projects. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and black-eyed or brown-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba and R. hirta) are among the popular wildflowers planted by American gardeners, all of which happen to be native to the U.S.


One of the most admired wildflowers is Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). It is native to the Midwestern prairies and dry, open woods of the Southeast but can be found in gardens from Maine to California because it is fairly adaptable to most types of soil and does well even in dry conditions. Plants flower from late spring to early fall attracting butterflies and bees to the large, purple, daisy-like flowers. After the long-lasting blooms drop their petals, the distinctive seed heads develop and provide food for goldfinches and other birds. (Zones 3-8)


Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is native to a large part of the country including the Northeast, Midwest and Rocky Mountain region. Also called Bee Balm, the whorls of pink to lilac colored flowers open in summer to attract bees, hummingbirds and a variety of other pollinating insects. It gets the name Wild Bergamot from the aromatic leaves that have a scent reminiscent of the bergamot orange tree of Europe. Monarda had many medicinal uses to the Native Americans. Today the leaves are often used to make tea. Plants do best in dry open areas and woodlands but can grow in moist soils as long as they are well drained. (Zones 3-9)


Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) despite its species name is native to the East and Midwest U.S. as well as eastern Canada. It is one of about 30 species of Columbine found in North America. Columbine is often found in a shady woodland setting though they have a deep taproot that enables them to grow in dry sites. The colorful red and yellow flowers that open in spring and summer are a favorite of hummingbirds. Blue Columbine or Rocky Mountain Blue Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) has beautiful blue and white flowers and is one of the many columbines found in the western U.S. It is the state flower of Colorado. (Zones 3-9)


New England Aster (Symphyotricum novae-angliae, previously Aster novae-angliae) is a favorite of many gardeners for the beautiful violet-purple flowers that cover the plant in fall. Its native range is from New England all the way west to the Rocky Mountains and as far south as Tennessee and North Carolina. Plants grow best in areas with full sun and moist but well-drained soils. Valuable in the garden and any wildflower planting for its late season color, New England aster is also a nectar source for Monarch butterflies as well as attracting native bees and pollinators. (Zones 3-7)


California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is perennial in its native California but grown as an annual in colder climates. Spanish explorers who saw the California hillsides covered with the golden orange poppies called the area the Land of Fire. It was introduced into European gardens in the 1830’s. California Poppy has golden-orange, silky, saucer-shaped flowers that open during the day and close at night or on cloudy days. Plants bloom best in the cool weather of spring and fall. In mild climates it will bloom several times per year. In colder climates, it may self-seed in spring and flower again in the fall. California Poppy is the state flower of California. (Zones 8-10)


While some perennial wildflowers adapt to a range of growing conditions, other wildflowers prefer a specific region of the country or very specific environmental conditions. Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) is a delightful treasure with cute, yellow, daisy-like flowers that exude the smell of chocolate in the morning. However, it is native to the dry parts of Kansas, Colorado and south to Arizona into Mexico so it loves hot sun and poor dry soils. Grow it in soil that’s even halfway decent and it gets leggy and flops over. (Zones 5-9)

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja sp.) is another much admired wildflower that seems to grow without care in its native environment that ranges throughout North America depending on the species. It derives its name from the striking orange-crimson spikes that appear in spring and resemble a brush dipped in paint. However, Indian Paintbrush can be difficult to grow from seed and establish in the garden. They are considered hemi-parasitic which means they need to grow in close proximity to other wildflowers and grasses. Indian Paintbrush produces roots that attach themselves to a range of plants that grow nearby to obtain some nourishment. Without these host plants, Indian Paintbrush declines and eventually dies. It is a challenge for even experienced gardeners but could surprise you if planted in the right conditions. (Zones 3-9)

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Controlling Flea Beetles Organically


I don’t know about you, but this spring has been a bad year for flea beetles.  We have hardly had any warm days, and yet the flea beetles have done their best to put as many holes as possible in the early crops of turnips, arugula, and radishes in my garden.

Before you go out to see just exactly what it putting the holes in your leaves, keep in mind that the adult flea beetles are very tiny—just 1/10 inch long. They’re black, brown, or bronze (depends on the species) with enlarged hind legs that allow them to jump like fleas when they have been disturbed. The larvae live in the soil and are thin, white, legless grubs with brown heads.

The adults emerge from the soil in spring to feed on your early, tender spring crops and then lay their eggs on the roots of plants. They will continue to lay eggs until they die (ususally about early July). Once laid, the eggs hatch in about a week.  The larvae will feed on the roots for 2-3 weeks and then move out farther in the soil to pupate. After 2-3 weeks, they will emerge as fully grown adults and the cycle begins again.  In a typical year, a gardener can battle up to four generations of flea beetles.

As mentioned often throughout my blog, I am an organic gardener.  So, what do I do to get rid of these little beasts?

–Plant susceptible plants as late as possible to avoid the most damaging generation. These include potatoes, spinach, flowers, and members of the Brassica family (cabbage, turnips, arugula, radishes, mustard, etc.)

–Cover seedlings and potato shoots with floating row covers until adult beetles die off.

–Lightly cultivate the soil around plants before and after planting to destroy any flea beetle eggs and larvae in the soil. Nothing like solar rays to act as an instant bug zapper!

–Keep your garden weeded!  Flea beetles like to hide in cool, weedy areas. Prevent them from hopping onto your susceptible crops by surrounding the crops with a 3-foot-wide strip of frequently weeded bare ground.

–Confuse the beetles by mixing up your plantings. Surround their favorite food plants with flowers and herbs like Queen Anne’s lace, dill, and parsley, which attract beneficial insects.

Whatever you do, don’t let the flea beetles get the best of your garden before it has had a chance to grow!

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.