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flea beetles

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flea beetles

Postby Leash » Jun 15, 2009 10:50 am

Hi everyone,
I was wondering what you all use to deter or keep flea beetles off your veggies. I don't really mind too much when it's just an eyesore on inedible leaves but for stuff like radishes and leafy greens it looks pretty bad to sell when it's full of holes.
Durgan - I think I remember you saying you spray your rhubarb concoction on leaves but you wouldn't be able to do that to the ones you eat right?
I've been thinking of planting all that stuff together in one raised bed and then covering it with floating row covers for the season. Has anyone done this before and how much of a pain is it to weed and water and keep it from blowing away?
Any ideas?
Thanks
Alicia
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Re: flea beetles

Postby Durgan » Jun 15, 2009 1:02 pm

Fighting the flea beetles is a constant hassle for me. They do a good job on radishes and any Chinese Greens. The old chemical insecticides worked more of less, but nobody likes using them. Probably the best thing to do to protect some plants is to plant radishes and use them as bait to protect other plants. Flea beetles prefer radishes to most other plants.. The rhubarb concoction seems to work at first look, but I am not positive.
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Re: flea beetles

Postby beeman » Jun 16, 2009 9:35 pm

I suppose, sooner or later you'll all get fed up with my constant replies to bug questions, but I have to answer Compost Tea.

This is my first year using it, and it's truly amazing. I am picking Radishes and Lettuce absolutely clean and hole free. A quick spray with Compost Tea when they come up and they stay clean and bug free.

I have used row covers and while they are good, they really are a constant pain. A sharp thunder storm and you have to get them back from next door and checking on the crop quality can be difficult having to remove them to get underneath.
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Re: flea beetles

Postby ApC23 » Jun 16, 2009 11:28 pm

what kind of compost do you need to make compost tea? If i dont have a compost pile this year can I use store bought compost?
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Re: flea beetles

Postby beeman » Jun 17, 2009 8:58 am

ApC23 wrote:what kind of compost do you need to make compost tea? If i dont have a compost pile this year can I use store bought compost?


The way I read it, Activated Compost Tea is only as good as the compost you use to make it.

Shop bought compost and worm castings will still have some benefit.

It can't do any harm, so go for it.

Please join in if you decide to try it, we need to spread the word, and the Tea.
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Re: flea beetles

Postby Leash » Jun 17, 2009 11:30 pm

Beeman,
Ok, I loving what I'm hearing but I just need to ask more questions if that's ok.

-How do you do the worm thing? I have no idea about that. How did you start and learn about it? Details, details please!

-Can you use well composted manure (2yrs) as long as it isn't that Leachate you referred to and if you aerate it like you said? Or does it have to be only regular compost. I only ask because manure is in fairly large supply out here on the farm! and I'd love to be able to use it safely.

-Where do you get your compost? or do you make it yourself?

If the uv rays deteriorate it, wouldn't it become useless the next morning when the sun comes up again? How long does the residual last on the plants or how often do you need to reapply?

What do you use to apply it to your veggies and plants?

Sorry for all the questions but this is new territory for me and I'm beyond curious on the subject as this is something I'd be very interested in trying. There will be SOOO many more questions I'm warning you.
Thanks Beeman in advance,
Alicia
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Re: flea beetles

Postby beeman » Jun 18, 2009 11:29 am

Due to the amount of questions I have added my anwsers in Italics and blue below.
Leash wrote:Beeman,-How do you do the worm thing? I have no idea about that. How did you start and learn about it? Details, details please!

There are numerous references to verimicomposting. I use it to get worm casts which have a high bacterial count
http://www.redwormcomposting.com/ There is a forum at http://thegardenforums.org/viewforum.php?f=42 where you can get all sorts of information.


-Can you use well composted manure (2yrs) as long as it isn't that Leachate you referred to and if you aerate it like you said? Or does it have to be only regular compost. I only ask because manure is in fairly large supply out here on the farm! and I'd love to be able to use it safely.

Provided it is well composted you can use manure. The danger is the pathogens associated with any manure. I would prefer not to use it, but use regular 'heat treated' compost of garden and kitchen waste. Feed manure to compost worms and the pathogens are dealt with as they don't pass through worms. You might try this as another source of reference http://www.soilfoodweb.com/03_about_us/approach.html

-Where do you get your compost? or do you make it yourself?

I make regular garden compost which when added to Compost Tea makes a 'fungal' tea, add worm casts to add a bacterial tea. So I get the best of both worlds a bacterial and fungal tea all in one, saves making a double brew. Another source for a Tea maker http://www.simplici-tea.com/index.html I made up a simpler one with aquarium bits and pieces

If the uv rays deteriorate it, wouldn't it become useless the next morning when the sun comes up again? How long does the residual last on the plants or how often do you need to reapply?

It's only degraded if you use it in bright sunlight on a hot day. I spray using a regular pump up garden sprayer late in the day or early morning. Once it's dry it doesn't wash off. I have been re-applying every 14 days to cover new growth.


Please note this is not a quick fix. I have been working on this for over a year, prior to which I was producing rubbish. This is a complete shift away from 'Chemicals' which in the long run do not work, no point in adding good bugs only to kill them with chemicals when trying to get rid of bad bugs.

Sorry for all the questions but this is new territory for me and I'm beyond curious on the subject as this is something I'd be very interested in trying. There will be SOOO many more questions I'm warning you.

If I'm getting converts to the new gardening style, then I'll continue to answer question. No problem if you have an interest

Thanks Beeman in advance,
Alicia
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