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Need a pep talk-cuke beetles/japanese beetles

13 years ago

Hi everyone,

I believe in the organic principles and have never used chemicals in my garden and I try to give it all the OM and TLC that each plant needs. However, what I am doing is obviously not working because for the last two years I have been devastated by cucumber and japanese beetles. Completely. Devastated. To combat the cuke beetles, I even stopped growing anything they liked. Then I found out they will resort to green beans to keep from starving.

At the end of the last few years I have been disgusted enough to say "Next year I'm using Sevin". Then the next season starts and I resist. This year I am already wavering toward chemicals and the season is just starting. I would love to treat with nematodes/milky spore, but I am in the middle of 23 acres of hay and I can't treat it all.

I believe that building up the soil is essential--I've seen it work with my tomatoes. Had awful hornworm problems until I really filled the holes with compost when planting. Now none. But I don't have enough compost for everything! And even when I did that with the cukes and melons, the beetles still attacked those plants.

I just don't know what to do. No corn, cukes, pumpkins, green beans, zucchini, melons. And they attacked my blueberry shrubs so badly last year that one of them died. I want to be organic and hate the idea of using chemicals, but I also want something for my efforts! And hand picking? I tried that with a hand vacume one season. Fill it up, empty into soapy water, over and over. Every day. It didn't touch them. I tried squishing the eggs on the leaves. Hours of that. Didn't work. I've considered getting chickens (not only because of this, I've wanted them otherwise). But until then...

Is there any words of advice out there? I think I am going to look for some manure source. There are sheep, cow, and horse farmers nearby. But I don't have a truck so I'm not sure how that will work out.

Sorry about the long post. This has been really disappointing to me and my non-gardening husband can only take so much garden ranting! Thanks for any help/encouragement.


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