Besides bunnies, slugs and tiny white caterpillars are at the top of my hit list. And I have some effective control methods that I will share with you.
The slimy, sneaky critters hide on the underside of leaves. They eat into some of my hosta as well as other tender leafed plants. How do I thwart them?
Sluggo! Sounds appropriate right? Actually it is very effective and it is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It works using iron phosphate with bait additives. It comes in a granular form that you shake around the plants you want to protect.
I spread this around when the plants are looking good and fully leafed out – late May and early June for the Chicagoland area. Sluggo attracts snails and slugs and after ingesting it they begin to die within 3 to 6 days. By the way, that is a long time for the slugs to continue to munch on your garden. So I would advise you to spread it out early.
Sluggo controls snails and slugs yet is non-toxic to wildlife and pets and is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved. I personally avoid the heavy duty chemicals wherever I can because it is important to be a good steward of the earth.
Tiny Caterpillars – Creepy Crawleys
I have a lovely area of Lysmachia – a chartreuse ground cover also called the Yellow Loosestrife that brightens up some areas in my garden. Much to my dismay I saw tiny, almost translucent caterpillars were munching their way through the ground cover.
This happened to me last year and I didn’t catch it until it was too late. Almost the whole bed was a mass of bare stems that look unsightly for the remainder of the summer. I don’t even know what these caterpillars are, but I know I don’t want them.
So yesterday and the day before I sprayed insecticidal soap on them. Insecticidal soap coats the insects so that they suffocate. But it is not harmful to the environment and you can actually make it yourself or buy it ready-made. I have a small bottle of concentrated soap that I bought for around $6 and am able to make many gallons of the stuff very inexpensively.
I used this great new applicator tool that I picked up at the Chicago Garden Show in March at Navy Pier. It is called Giro’s Sprayer. It is an adjustable brass sprayer that gives you a range from a fine mist to a coarse stream of liquid and screws onto most water or soda plastic bottles.
It is versatile –especially if you need to switch solutions. Just put the cap on the bottle that you haven’t used up, and fill your new plastic bottle with solution you need to use. I am always sure to draw up some cleansing water before I put the applicator in the new solutions.
If you know what the tiny caterpillar is, please let me know. And I am always interested in knowing about effective organic ways of controlling pests in the garden. Please share your ‘secrets’ with me here.