Predatory Nematodes

Nope, not a typo.

As the season plays out, the Honeywwoofer Homestead has been revealing its hand of garden pests. The worst has been flea beetles and wire worms. Flea beetles eat holes in their favorite greens, and wireworms make holes in their favorite root crops. So far we have lost an entire crop of tatsoi, radishes, and summer turnips. We are literally being attacked from all angles. We have quickly learned why most organic gardens grow extensively under cover. And we already know that increasing soil health is one of the best ways to combat pest outbreaks, which is an ongoing project here.

We have also been companion planting and using sacrificial crops. We’ve tried potato traps and diatomaceous earth. We have recruited our Muscovy ducks and navigate our chicken tractor around the garden perimeter to help. We hand-squish. And we are still losing. So we finally caved and bought some big pest control guns- actually, they aren’t big at all. They are so small in fact that you need a microscope to find them. They are predatory nematodes.

Because we have decided not to certify organic, we rely on transparency to demonstrate that we don’t use any synthetic chemicals in our growing operation. If you were to drive by today it would be easy to wrongly assume that what Will was spraying pesticides or herbicides. Without going into too much science, what his backpack was really full of was microscopic creatures, worm-like in appearance, and transparent. We have employed them to eat bugs that have a life-stage in the soil (such as beetle larvae). These predatory nematodes travel on water film and are voracious pigs seeking out the heat and carbon dioxide produced by susceptible pests. Not to worry though- they don’t harm earth worms or plants. Predatory nematodes are a natural component of soil health, we are just giving their population a boost- by about 25 million.

The predatory nematodes came on a weird smelling sponge. We rinsed it in a gallon of water and further diluted it into 20 gallons. Will then used a backpack sprayer to apply them to moist soil- they have to be applied when the soil is wet and the sun isn’t out. Unfortunately the predatory nematodes are no match against much larger non-soil-dwelling garden pests.

NO ROSIEEEEE!!!!

If you are inundated with pests in your garden, this is the link where I found predatory nematodes available in Canada. https://anatisbioprotection.com/en/biological-control-products/nematodes-soil-pests.html Just a note, you need to be home to sign for them on delivery because they are alive. Hopefully in a few weeks we will have a review.

Keep calm- it’s just a nematode party.

2 thoughts on “Predatory Nematodes

  1. Hope that will work for you. Good luck

    On Sat., Jul. 3, 2021, 4:21 p.m. The Honeywwoofers, wrote:

    > msjunkin87 posted: ” Nope, not a typo. As the season plays out, the > Honeywwoofer Homestead has been revealing its hand of garden pests. The > worst has been flea beetles and wire worms. Flea beetles eat holes in their > favorite greens, and wireworms make holes in their favo” >

    Liked by 1 person

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