We create and maintain organic vegetable gardens in your backyard or business.

Follow Us

RSS Feed Facebook

Join Our E-Mail List

I Was Just Thinking …3

I’ve learned a lot about Eggplant this year. I don’t grow eggplant myself, but I’ve had a couple of clients who wanted it this year. As I mentioned in a June post flea beetles can be a real problem for eggplant.

I’ve tried various controls for the beetles. The beetles find the plants by scent, so various sources mention using scent to confuse them. I’ve tried catnip tea (which hasn’t worked- I saw beetles back on the plants about 5 min after spraying) and planting eggplant between well-established strong smelling herbs (sage & oregano) which does seem to be working.

Floating Row Cover

Floating Row Cover

But the best method is floating row covers, a product I’ve mentioned before. I have no damage at all to the plants under row covers. Notice how the fabric is so light you can see the plants underneath. The only problem was that I planted the eggplants during one of the only hot, dry weeks so far this year and since row covers actually help keep heat in, there was some damage to the plants from the heat, but they are recovering.

Colorado Potato Beetle Larvae

Colorado Potato Beetle Larvae

I’ve also found out that Colorado Potato Beetles will attack eggplant as well as potatoes. The larvae are quite disgusting, but easy to control. As you can see, they come in a variety of colors, but all have the same distinctive shape.

You control them by removing the egg masses from the underside of the leaves of your plants before they ever hatch. You can crush them in your fingers or scrape them into some soapy water. You just need to get in the habit of taking a quick look at the underside of your plants’ leaves every day in mid-June to mid-July here in the Hudson Valley. In other parts of the country there can be multiple generations per year so you need to look for them throughout the summer.

Colorado Potato Beetle Egg Masses

Colorado Potato Beetle Egg Masses

Because the egg masses are so bright (even though they are small) they are easy to see. If you miss some egg masses (and you will), when the larvae emerge they all cluster on the same leaf on which they were hatched, so they are easy to see. You can just cut off that one leaf and dispose of them.

Angular Leaf Spot update
I’ve continued to find Angular Leaf Spot on many squashes and cucumbers at various sites this year, but my experiment in controlling the disease by pruning¬† seems to be working. I continue to get the angular dead areas (called lesions) on new leaves, but I only remove the highly affected leaves. As long as there are only a few lesions on a leaf, the disease (a fungus) doesn’t seem to spread quickly. My plants are really taking off and growing much faster than the disease seems to spread.

Tomato Cages
I’m growing a plum tomato variety this year called San Marzano, which I’ve never used before. I’m not generally a fan of tomato cages (because they are far too short for the height that tomatoes grow to), but if you like tomato cages, I think San Marzano might be a good variety to grow. This plant seems to stay quite short, certainly it’s much shorter than any of my other varieties.

I’m growing chard for the first time this year and am truly amazed by it. It’s one of the most attractive leafy greens I’ve every seen. Chard is a beet that doesn’t form the thickened beet root but has a much larger tastier leaf in shades of yellow, pink, red and white that are just amazing.



The stem are edible so you can use the whole plant without having to remove the stem, as you need to do with kale. And the leaves are huge, they can easily exceed 1 foot long (not including the stem), so you get a big harvest.

I hope your really starting to harvest now. I’ve taken in peas, chard, lettuce, kale, beets, rutabagas, garlic, scallions, radishes, dill, parsley,¬† and basil in the last two days.

Leave a Reply

My Favorite Books

Image of The Organic Gardener's Home Reference: A Plant-By-Plant Guide to Growing Fresh, Healthy Food



Website Development by DNL OmniMedia