Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flea beetles and rabbits

Just when I thought I was safe from frost and my plants are over the shock of being in the full sun, I think it's safe to say the flea beetles have found our community garden and the rabbits have found my plot in particular.

Thanks to a blog post from The Mifflin Street Planthouse that mentioned she'd have a few extra plants for those whose kale got hit by flea beetles, I visited my community plot today. The kale, under a floating row cover, hadn't been hit by beetles.

Kale looking pretty good under floating row cover. There was some insect damage, but not horrible (yet).
But there was nothing left of my eggplant and ground cherry plants. Seriously, I just planted them last week!

Then I looked and saw that a pepper stem, my largest plant, had a big toothy gouge in it. Pulled the plant, it was a goner.

Finally, an entire row of marigolds had been mowed to the ground. Marigolds? I planted them to keep the rabbits out! I'm seriously considering a low fence around my beds.

Poor marigold didn't stand a chance to the killer rabbits.
Fortunately, I had just received 50 feet of row cover and a bunch of fabric ground staples, so I started to cut pieces to individually wrap everything.

I think I found a nice way to manage it. I heavily mulch my garden, but the row cover is unsealed around the edges, even with lots of ground staples. I pulled the mulch away, stapled the cover to the dirt and then replaced the hay mulch. I'm hoping this will discourage more salad time in my garden.

Now, where to find the particular varieties I started in my basement seven weeks ago???

I row covered everything, even the tomatoes and marigolds. There is a lot of "blousiness" left for the plant to grow into. I'll just have to get it off and the cage on before it outgrows a cage.