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Grubs on my tomatillos!!

 
Jody Tracy
Posts: 19
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Hi All!

I am growing a garden for the first time this year. I am doing sort of a mash-up of square foot gardening and permaculture gardening, at least as far as I can do it in my 4 foot square garden. I'm not growing in rows and similar things are as far apart as I can manage. We've put in onions and marigolds to discourage pests, and are growing other flowering things to try to encourage the beneficial bugs.

My tomatillos which I bought at the Friends' School Plant Sale are now covered in little brown squishy grubs! There are also little lines of orangey-yellow eggs. They've eaten most of the leaves half off - they sit on the under side of the outer edge of the leaf and just eat their way in.

I think that the pest might be a grub of a potato beetle, at least from the research I've done online so far. I laid down diatomaceous earth around the plant stems and the nearby tomato plant stems. These guys haven't shown up yet at all on the tomatoes, which is a blessing. I also sprayed an insecticidal soap on the leaves of the tomatillos and have been doing 'search and destroy' missions daily.

Any advice on why these guys showed up and are so apparently healthy? Also on what exactly they are and how I can get rid of them - and prevent their showing up next year?

My neighbors are growing tomatoes and I'd rather not be a 'typhoid mary', but since so far they don't seem to like my tomatoes I figure that's a clue.

Thanks!

Jody
 
Jody Tracy
Posts: 19
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So no responses on this as yet. I have discovered this is most likely the grubs of the three-lined potato beetle. I haven't seen the beetles yet, only the grubs. The internet says this grub leaves its excrement smeared on its back as a defense. Makes me even less excited about pulling them off the plant but that's the only way I can keep it from being fully eaten! I also learned that they drop off the plant when they're ready to mature into adults so I'm hoping they run into the diatomaceous earth I've spread around the stems and dehydrate. I'm putting down the DE and spraying organic insecticidal soap on the leaves after every rain.

Still looking for something these little fellas avoid or something that eats them so I can chase them away rather than killing them. Any ideas?

Thanks,

Jody
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Is the soap working ? Usually it works with squishy things - dehydrates them. We make our own - much cheaper. Is BT exceptable in permie world ?
 
Jody Tracy
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The soap seems to help - anyway I've seen less and less of them on the plants. However I saw two beetles on the plants yesterday - one on each. I sprayed them with the soap and they looked like they were dying - makes me feel bad but they are eating my plants! I have been spreading diatomaceous earth under the plants after every rain but I'm not sure if that will help with the beetles because they can just fly away? I've also been putting the DE under the nearby tomatoes but so far the bugs seem to much prefer the tomatillos, they haven't even touched the tomatoes. Thank goodness, because I am the only one in our patch with tomatillos, but there are a lot of tomatoes and I don't want to be the cause of an infestation!

BT would be acceptable to me, I'm wondering if just any kind from the store would do it or if I have to get something particular? I don't know if I can get it in my area but I'm thinking about trying.

I wonder where the grubs/beetles came from? I built my garden last year and brought in compost/dirt/peat moss to fill it. Neither I nor my neighbors have ever seen these guys here before. Maybe they were on the plants when I bought them?

Anyway, the tomatillos are in blossom and growing every day, they look very healthy other than their chewed-up leaves! If I can keep them going we should get a good crop.

Thanks!

Jody
 
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