Meet the Beetles

Having covered my bok choy with some row cover, they have put forth some new growth and look pretty healthy.  But I think the bugs that were munching on them have moved on to my tomatoes.  The tomato leaves are full of small holes that are brown around the edges. I did what any newbie gardener would do and googled “small holes in tomato leaves”.  Lo and behold. I am pretty sure that I have a flea beetle infestation.   See that tiny black speck om the left side of my thumb? Flea beetle?

 I found a number of the little buggers on my tomato plants. The collective wisdom of the internet had some conflicting advice about organic means of dispensing of the pests.  I found as many as I could and squished them when possible. They jump! Like fleas!  Then I applied a generous helping of diatomaceous earth to the plants and the surrounding soil. Other possibilities suggested by online gardeners include neem oil and sticky traps. Steve happened to have a few bottles of the D-earth in his lab, so that is what I’ve done.

I learned that I made a mistake when I planted this year’s tomato plants in the same spot as last year’s.  Apparently, crop rotation is important for the control of flea beetles.  Come fall, I’m going to plant some onions and garlic where the tomatoes are currently trying to grow.  That’ll teach those stinking flea beetles.

Don’t freak out when you see the white powder all over my plot. I haven’t poisoned anything. It’s just the diatomaceous earth.

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