Pest Control at Roosevelt

It was a busy day in the garden at Roosevelt High School! The artichoke, eggplant, oregano, tomato and basil plants we added last week have settled into their beds nicely, and the lettuce, strawberries and broccoli are also doing well.

While we removed a great deal of terribly infested broccoli and cauliflower plants last week, there were still quite a few of the remaining plants covered in aphids.

The problem seems to have improved, and we suspect it might be due to several ladybug larve we discovered on some of the plants! Still, we wanted to make sure we got rid of those critters, so we could enjoy the broccoli harvest!

We employed several methods to combat those aphids:

1. We mixed a natural and safe pest control to spray on the plants. It contained 1 cup of oil, 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of dish soap. While this is a great way to rid plants of aphids, and keep the plants safe from chemicals, it can be equally dangerous for beneficial insects, like the lady bug larve, so we tried to only spray the most infested plants.

2. We planted a few green onions near the broccoli and cauliflower crops. Aphids are deterred by the smell of certain plants, such as onions, shallots, garlic, dill, and rosemary, and will then find the broccoli less appealing.  Alternatively, plants such as nasturtiums, mums, hollyhocks and zinnias are very attractive to aphids, so planting these in the garden, far away from the edible crops, can lure the pests away.

3. We plan to gradually introduce ladybugs and lacewing larva to the infected beds.  Ladybugs and lacewings are natural predators of the aphid.  Ladybugs should only be released during the evening or early morning hours, when they are sleepy and less likely to leave the desired area. Mr. Findlay, one of the Roosevelt teachers helping in the garden, will release a few of the ladybugs in the broccoli beds at dusk during the next week.  The lacewing eggs should arrive soon and we will add those to our garden when they do!

After all the pest control, we still had lots to do! We transplanted parsley and oregano from the lower garden beds to the planters at the garden entrance, and then moved some of the lettuce crops from the upper garden beds to the lower garden beds.

Then we filled the remaining empty beds in the lower garden with rainbow chard and strawberries!We are all very excited for the strawberries!

In the upper garden, we filled the last of the empty beds with tomatoes, jalapenos, and some radish seedlings that Ms. Burt’s class recently started in their classroom. Nearly all the beds are now planted and our crops are well on their way!

With all our tasks completed, it was time to have a snack. The students chopped up mushrooms, bell peppers, olives and basil from the garden, then drizzled it with lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkled it with pepper. We ate these out of lettuce leaves from the lower garden.

Some of the students thought it might be good to swap the bell peppers for chili peppers! Maybe we can revise this recipe when our jalapeno crops are ready to harvest!