I am new at this gardening thingy. My daughter and I have planted watermelon, pumpkin, corn, green beans and sunflowers. They are all growing well, except that something is chewing on them. I went to the store and bought some organic stuff that is to not harm the fruit. Well now my plants are looking sick. Help us save our 1st 1/2 successful garden. We are almost ready to pick our first green beans. This is so cool.
Your stuff might be getting eaten by rabbits. That's very common. There are several things you can do. You can get chicken wire, and create a fence around the perimeter, and hope that they won't dig under the fence to get in or that they won't jump over it. You can buy fox urine at specialty gardening stores. It is available in powder and in liquid. If you purchase liquid, you need little containers to hold it. You can hang it from low branches of bushes or hearty plants. With the powder, you must sprinkle it again any time you water the garden or whenever it rains. The third and probably most economical way to go is to plant garlic around the perimeter. You can also sprinkle ultra hot pepper powder or seeds all around the area. They hate the smell, and this stuff acts as a deterrent. You can also sprinkle garlic. But again, you have to reapply it every time you water the garden or after it rains. With garlic, you typically plant it in the fall, to harvest early the next summer.
I hope you have a lot of space, because watermelon, pumpkins, and corn all need huge amounts of space in order to thrive. If you are hoping to get a corn crop, you will have needed to plant the corn in five parallel rows. Corn has to be planted that way so that it can cross pollinate. That is what enables each plant to produce the fruit. If you are seeing blotchy things on the leaves, or if you turn the leaves over and see a pattern of tiny red spots, you have a bug infestation. For this, if the plants are at a stage when they are about to produce fruit, you need to make sure that what you use is completely organic, and that you can apply it often and not have to worry about waiting for extended periods of time to harvest your bounty. You should be able to find Safer Insecticidal soap, or something similar at any gardening store. Sometimes hardware stores also stock this. It's not expensive, and it is very effective. One really good organic insecticide is called BT --- Bacillis Thuriengis. It should be easily found at gardening stores, and is relatively inexpensive.
If your plants are starting to look haggard, and there is nothing that is obviously eating them, an educated guess would be that the plants are far too crowded to be able to grow and thrive. The watermelon and pumpkin should have been planted roughly 1 1/2 feet apart. That goes for both the distance between the rows and the plants. These plants are vines, so you should also expect to see the vines spreading out everywhere. The corn should have been planted in rows that are roughly a foot apart and the plants should also be a good foot away from one another. Hope this helps. Good luck! (06/19/2005)
I keep one of those bottles that fit on the end of the garden hose, with scraps of Fels Naptha soap, once a week I spray everything with the soap mix. It will not hurt your plants, and the bugs (if this is what eating your plants) don't like the taste, so they leave. Also, critters such as rabbits, squirrels, etc. don't like the taste either. Just be sure to re apply after a rain. (06/19/2005)
If you have beans ready to be picked, I doubt that your chewing problem is from rabbits, as they would have devoured all the beans by now! Still, not a bad idea for the fence in case they decide to use your garden as their salad bowl. I have problems on flowers and vegs from earwigs. They can chew a lot in short order. I use Bug B Gone (granules). You could check on GardenGuides.com on the forums and see if the knowledgeable people can give you a natural remedy. (06/20/2005)
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