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treating soil with no plants?

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treating soil with no plants?

Post  mom22gr8grlz on 8/14/2013, 2:17 pm

Today I ripped out everything in the garden except a few cosmos and my beans, which are still thriving and bearing fruit.  I took out everything else in preparation for fall planting.

I have a caterpillar infestation!  It appears to be cornworms.  There are literally hundreds of them crawling in and around my raised bed.  I picked out as many as I saw, but with an extra deep bed (for carrots, tubers, etc.), I'm sure there are thousands more.

I don't really want to plant brand new stuff in there, knowing that the soil is full of caterpillars.  Is there anything (safe) I can put in the soil itself before I put my new seeds in?  Time is of the essence, as I should be planting this week.

Thanks for any advice!Shocked
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Re: treating soil with no plants?

Post  camprn on 8/14/2013, 2:27 pm

Welcome to the SFG Forum. Have you had the chance to contact your County Extension Service Agricultural Agent to ask their opinion? That would be the place I would start.

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Re: treating soil with no plants?

Post  happycamper on 8/14/2013, 8:26 pm

I agree that you should check with your County Extension service to see what is recommended for your area.  I found an article on Mother Earth News regarding organic corn worm control you may want to read.  
http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/corn-earworm-control-zw0z1304zkin.aspx?PageId=1#ArticleContent
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Re: treating soil with no plants?

Post  mom22gr8grlz on 8/14/2013, 8:41 pm

Thanks, I have contacted them and am awaiting a reply.  Probably should have mentioned that I didn't actually grow any corn, but from what I've read, they love other things I did grow (cucumbers, watermelon, squash).
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Re: treating soil with no plants?

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/14/2013, 8:58 pm

I  know when I read about grub worm larvae and grub worms that the first indication you may have them is an increase in activity in your garden by the birds.  In fact I did notice there were way more birds in my garden than in times past.  I noticed the birds before I noticed the grub worms.  I wonder if you keep turning over the soil if that will bring in the birds and they can take care of it for you before the worms go and hide.  Now if you had chickens, they would scratch around and find most if not all of those corn worms.  Your MM would be all over the place though because they like to kick the soil around.  This is not very scientific or a 100% possibility of taking care of the problem, but ya never know.
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Re: treating soil with no plants?

Post  mom22gr8grlz on 8/14/2013, 9:08 pm

Ah, good thought!  My friend has chickens... maybe I can borrow them?  The garden had mesh protecting it, because the birds were eating everything.  But the mesh is off for now.  Maybe a few days in the open and the birds will take care of things!
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Re: treating soil with no plants?

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/14/2013, 10:08 pm

They are fun to watch also.  If you have anything else growing, you may want to protect it.  They get curious and will start pecking at other vegetables.  Mine did that in my garden when I let them in to get earwigs and sowbugs.  One saw my zucchini at went at it so fast before I realized what she was doing, lol.  I do feed my chickens some vegies, but helping themselves . . .!
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