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Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

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Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/7/2011, 3:03 pm

Hi,
I started with SFG about two months ago and everything has been going great! But last night I noticed some small green worms and snails on my lettuce. I removed the snails and thought I'd find out what to do about the little worms, but by this afternoon they've devastated my lettuce! I've managed to save quite a bit of leaves, but I'm not sure if they will recover of not.

I've been given a organic recipe to help with some bugs, including aphids in extreme cases, but I'm not sure if this will work for worms too. The recipe is basically garlic, red peppers, oil and water.

Does anyone know if this will help? If not, can you recommend anything that will work? I don't want to use any chemicals.

I know egg shells works for snails. So I'll use the shells for the lettuce.

Thanks in advance.
Conrad

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/7/2011, 3:43 pm

I've seen people staple sand paper around their boxes. I'm going to do this myself to discourage slugs and snails. You might also try putting some cloth on top of your lettuce, like cheese cloth. That should prevent the green worms, which are probably from butterflies laying their eggs on your leaves. Since your in Africa, you may be dealing with a completely different worm than we have here, but that doesn't really matter. Also, if your growing cabbage or any thing in the cabbage family, that can be the next target, so keep an eye on those too.

Here's a recipe for an insecticidal soap that looks a lot like the recipe you have, except it has soap in it and that really does make a difference when your dealing with bugs.
http://www.ediblecontainergardening.com/organic-insecticidal-soap-recipe/

Also, I would use neem oil, which is organic. Neem oil will not harm your plants, but don't spray it when it's sunny or hot. The oil will cook your plants. I would imagine the same could be said about the insecticidal soap, since it has oil in it too.


Last edited by stripesmom on 5/7/2011, 3:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added a word)

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/7/2011, 3:46 pm

Opps, forgot to say-
Welcome to the forum! Very Happy

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/7/2011, 4:53 pm

Thanks for the info and the welcome Stripesmom!

I've gone and sprayed my lettuce with the mix I had. (Mixed it a while ago) It just smells so bad! No wonder the pests die or run away. I would too!

I sprayed it at about 10:30 PM now and we're heading into winter here, so the sun and oil shouldn't be a problem.

Great idea on the sand paper. I'll do that for sure.

I've heard that you can use beer to trap snails too. Just found this article on it. http://www.ehow.com/how_4470856_snails-slugs-using-beer-salt.html

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/7/2011, 5:06 pm

I completely forgot you would be heading into winter.

I have tried the beer thing with slugs, but they seemed to like my hosta's better. In fact, I never got one. I set a pie pan down in the soil, filled it with some of my favorite beer and nothing. Some folks swear by it though. Can't hurt to try.

Good luck!

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  outsideasy on 5/7/2011, 6:50 pm

Try BT for your worm problem and we use Sluggo for the snail problem. Good luck, it's all a learning process the first year and keep reading and asking for help right here. All the Best

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  jazzymaddy on 5/7/2011, 8:21 pm

I looked at that recipe for the soap. Would I be able to use the regular old dish soap, garlic and olive oil that I have on hand, or does it HAVE to be organic stuff?

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/7/2011, 8:35 pm

I've used dish soap in the past, when I was a lot younger. I had some little bugs in the soil of my African violets. African violets are pretty particular, so if they can take it, any thing can. I would suggest Ivory or maybe the blue Dawn. Castile is nice, but I don't think it's necessary.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  jazzymaddy on 5/7/2011, 8:46 pm

Thanks stripesmom. One more question: would it be advisable to spray this directly into my MM? I was out there today, and noticed a bunch of little gnat-type guys crawling around in my mix. Didn't see any on the plants per se, but then I didn't inspect very closely. I do know that some leaves are being eaten here and there. I've also seen quite a few mites (I think that's what they are - they're so tiny).

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/8/2011, 8:51 am

I'm having computer problems. Just wrote out a reply and it evaporated.

Maddy, you could use the recipe on your MM, but it will also kill good bugs. If you haven't done it already, look up aphids and spider mites on Wikipedia and try to identify what your bugs are. If you don't have a big problem yet, then you might consider lady bugs, praying mantis or some other natural preditor. If your plants are being devastated, then a home made insecticide would be quicker. Here's a link for some other recipes using more common ingredients.
http://www.essortment.com/homemade-insecticide-information-recipes-13985.html

Good luck Mrs. H Very Happy

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  jazzymaddy on 5/8/2011, 10:37 am

Very Happy

Thanks again Stripesmom. I am pretty sure that I don't have aphids. What other insects are good to have around, other than the ladybug, bee and mantis? If I did a round of the pesticide, then went and found some ladybugs, would I be okay? I've got the box covered with tulle now, so I'm thinking I just need to get rid of what's currently in there, and then I should be okay. Of course, once I've trellissed my climbers, I will no longer have a completely closed environment (I plan to just drape the tulle around those plants and let them outside the barrier, and do my best to close off the rest of the area - maybe a little tough since my hoops are what's keeping the tulle up, but I think I can make it work).

Then we come to the problem of what to do with those that are outside my sanctuary. I'm thinking, from the research I've been doing, I'll hand pick off the bugs in the evening, and spray with neem oil. Am I on the right track?

Thanks!!!!!!!!!

Oh, I got some Ortho EcoSense insecticidal soap, and have since read reviews that it's not really "eco" anything. It even says on the package that it does not intend to imply that it's safe for the environment. I actually didn't start this whole process intending to be 100% ogranic, but the more I read, the more I'm starting to lean that way. Should I avoid this stuff?

Tracy (mrs. H)

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/8/2011, 11:59 am

Tracy,
You know, I'm not organic either. I try to be as much as possible, but some times, you just have to do what you have to do. I think about what will be in my body eventually, so I try not to use chemical's if I can avoid it. Also, the other people in my family and if I would want them to eat that stuff. On the other hand, my folks used DDT in their garden and we ate that (good grief, lol). I saw that Ortho Ecosense the other day and didn't think it was very organic either. The most powerful natural insecticide is probably pyrethrum, which is made from a flower (crysanthemum). Raid was selling this last year (haven't looked this year), under the name Earth Options. But, it will also kill all insects. It even kills red wasps down south, so it's powerful stuff.

I think you are on the right track. I'd try to get rid of the bad bugs you have now and then follow up with the good bugs. Lady bugs will eat a lot of aphids. Praying mantis are also good and your kids will get a kick out of watching them.
Here's a link to another thread where they were talking about good insects
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t6174-beneficial-insects

BFN, Nikki

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/8/2011, 1:08 pm

Hi all,

I made the startling discovery today that my Nasturtiums has what looks like Black Lice! And a lot. Little buggers was hiding under the leaves. I planted 4 per square. (And 4 squares) I realized a while ago that I should probably have only planted one per square, so after seeing the Black Lice I decided to pull them all out and plant one per square.

But this led me to pick up my mulch and then I found slugs underneath it. I even got some slug eggs! I've come to the conclusion that mulch is a breeding ground for these nasty things so I picked it all up.

I'm thinking my mistake might have been that I was keeping it too wet. I like watering the areas in the square that doesn't even have plants just to make sure it is all wet. Might this have been my mistake? Have any of you ever had a problem like this?

I might also have put too much mulch down. So I'm planning to keep it off for a few days just to get it a bit dryer and put a thin layer back. Should I? Maybe I used the wrong kind? I used wood bark, some pieces are quite large though.

I also noticed that there are some root like things in my mix. I was told that this might be because of moss? Is this right?

I found a article on ways to trap snails and slugs. http://www.weekendgardener.net/how-to/snails-slugs.htm I'm trying the dog food way tonight.

Thanks for all the help. I really appreciate it.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/8/2011, 1:43 pm

Hi Conrad, I've read that nasturtiums can be what is known as a trap crop. The black bugs were lured from your veggies and to the nasturtiums. You did the right thing. BTW, were they yellow or orange flowers? One is suppose to repel (I think it's yellow) the other is the trap crop.

It does sound like it may be a bit wet in your mulch or your mm. I've been wondering what kind of mulch to use myself. I know there is a lot of discussion about it. I'm almost leaning toward no mulch, but summer is going to be here soon and it's so hot out where my boxes are. I've used pig bedding before in my straight row garden. It's basically pine shavings. Maybe you should bring this up on a new thread and see if you get any more responses.

Not sure what the root like things in your mix would be. Possibly some thing that was not composted enough and it's starting to grow again.

I covered my 4x4 box with a fitted sheet an hour ago. My pepper transplants were looking kind of stressed out from the sun. Fifteen minutes later, I found my cat laying in there. She was using it like a tent, lol. Last night a stray dog ran through a couple of boxes. This morning, a rabbit was hopping along with in a few feet. Guess I'm going to have to invest in some netting for animals or nothing will survive.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/8/2011, 2:22 pm

It is the orange flower. So it was a good trap then. I was under the impression they are all supposed to repel. Thanks for that!


We have a thing here called sent off. It is supposed to keep cats and dogs away. Dogs can't get to my box, but it has kept the cats away so far it seems. I would think you can get something similar in the States.


I read a bit about mulching in the mean time. But the more I read, the more it looks like my mulch bark was way too big.


Just as a side note, here is a photo before the worms and snails/slugs attached my box and a photo after I got done out there today. (Not sure if this is gonna work. Never uploaded a photo on this site.)




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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/8/2011, 2:32 pm

IMG-20110504-00547

IMG-20110508-00574

Finally figured this out!

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/8/2011, 3:39 pm

Really nice box. You must hate worms and snails right about now. What is that in the back you have kind of trellised up?

I would imagine there is some sort of cat repellant. But, we also have deer. We live in a field of about 10 acres and there is all kinds of wild life around here. It would be better if I did put some plastic fencing around them. I have chicken wire, but I hate to mess with it. The cats are only interested in getting in the boxes if there is a cover over it. I was afraid they'd want to use them as litter boxes, but so far, no.

I will post pictures eventually. I don't have a digital camera, so it's going to be awhile. When I do, I might have to ask you guys how to post them.

What I figured out just now, is you better be happy with where you put your box. When I set them out, I had no idea how heavy it would be. I want to move one just a couple of inches and there is no way. Guess it's all a learning experience. Might have to look for my crow bar.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/8/2011, 4:48 pm

Thanks. Very Happy And yes. I really hate them. Lol.

The stuff at the back is Rotsamige Broad Beans. The don't grow up a trellis by them selfs, so they need some kind of support.

Good luck with your fench. I hope it won't be too much of an efford.

I read about someone who made a box on wheels. That would have been handy now wouldn't it? Hehe.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  stripesmom on 5/8/2011, 6:39 pm

Yeah, box on wheels, that would be handy about now. Wish I'd just thought ahead as to where things should be. It looks so nice, but I would like to change it up. I again tried to move it, couldn't find my crow bar. Thought I was a whimp, but no, just can't pull that kind of weight.

I've never even heard of Rotsamige Broad Beans. New to me. Want to exchange seeds some day? I can send you some of the best corn you've ever eaten. Iowa is known for that.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/8/2011, 10:31 pm

Conrad

It's really nice to have you join us. We have one pair of members in the forum for Africa, who post occasionally.

I certainly hope you are able to get your worm and slug issue under control. Slugs are especially vicious in the Pacific North West of the US. They will eat just about anything. I used beer as a trap, and from the number of drunken slugs I found last summer, I guess it was pretty sucessful. Unfortunately, there is very little that is better than picking them by hand. In our area, they tend to hide during the day, very often under bits of wood, so some people actual place a piece of wood on their beds, then pick it up in the morning and remove the slugs to a bucket of salted or soapy water for disposal. Sluggo, mentioned by Outsideasy, is an organic product that is sometimes helpful.

Thank you for providing pictures, cause we really enjoy them.

Hope you find a good solution to your pest problem.

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

Post  conradcpt on 5/10/2011, 1:19 pm

Yes stripes mom. That will be nice! Very Happy

Thanks for the welcome and tips Ferbalsmom. I found one worm on my lettuce this evening, but it seems to be getting much better. Laughing

Thanks to everyone here for all the help. Hopefully I'll be able to help others on here soon!

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Re: Little Green Worms and Snails on my Lettuce

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