Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fight with the Cucumber Beetle, Part 2

The cucumber beetle has hit hard, and my plants are suffering the effects. Every time I go out to harvest a cucumber, I have to squash dozens of these beetles. Dozens more drop off or fly away before I can squash them.I tried coffee grounds (which works very well on my brassicas to keep away slugs and cabbage maggot, cabbage worm, and cabbage moths). I tried a solution of eucalyptus oil, biodegradable dish detergent, and water sprayed all over the plant in an effort to be rid of them. They were mildly bothered, but came right back as soon as the leaves were dry.

Now, I am trying a red pepper spray. I use crushed red pepper which is mixed in a jar with hot water and stirred around for a minute or so, then let to sit for about 5 minutes. I strain the large parts of pepper through the special strainer jar lid into a measuring cup or other empty jar.Then I use cheese cloth and a funnel to pour the liquid into a spray bottle. The cheese cloth further strains any bits of pepper that might clog the sprayer.Once it is all strained, the solution is in the spray bottle and ready to use. The cheese cloth caught all the tiny particles and looks like this:Funny that Bee Creative's experiments had me thinking when this cheese cloth had completed its job. What can I do with it now that it has these color stains on it? What will happen if...

I sprayed the cucumber plants with my red pepper spray, and I must mention one caveat: do not spray red pepper spray when there is a breeze or it is windy. I tried to stay downwind, but I did catch a little in my nose and almost one eye. Luckily, I was quick with the shade pull and got my eyes closed just in time! I used almost the entire bottle. I also dumped the used wet ground pepper from the jar around the base of my plants.

I will keep you posted...


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