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eggplant plant leaves are being munched

 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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help... i am a noob ... what is eating the leaves on my eggplant leave.... seems that is the only issue of leaf munching i have at the moment

i am working hard to get the whole organic/ quasi permi going in my 3.25 acre suburban lot which is mostly pine/oak/maple/birch trees.... probably others i dont know
I have about 1000 sq ft garden and am working to earn more space....firsrt 6-8 inchesl is clay (cob ready except for the rocks which i am screening)

needless to say i am generating alot of leaf fall. I am in the process of reclaiming everything that I have blown into the woods with my leaf blower....

I am in the process of developing a no till garden. got a bunch of comfrey just breaking ground .... for composting.

I have learned a great deal but still a long way to go... I gotta make mistakes to learn the right question to be asking

thanks

 
siu-yu man
Posts: 99
Location: zone 6a, north america
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i'm also having that issue....anything remotely in that same plant family as eggplant...tomatoes, potatoes, morning glory, shoo-fly plant, bindweed, etc...the leaves are getting munched...i noticed potato beetles on the potato plants but didn't see any specific bugs on the others, just holes...maybe they're japanese beetles?

been taking a 2 pronged approach to this:

1) we have a bunch of pyrethrum daisies growing wild in the field, so i've been transplanting small clumps of them near to the plants being munched. that seems to have helped so far. i have not used the flowers to make an insecticide, because pyrethium is a broad-spectrum insecticide and i do not want to be killing all the bugs, so the daisies have been placed more as a deterrent.

2) also, imho, insect damage to a plant is a sign of a weak plant. i've noticed certain plants of the same family in the same proximity not have any damage at all. they are also the ones with the most vigor. without a broad spectrum soil test, it's impossible to tell what you're lacking as it could be a micronutrient (something besides NPK). in this case, i've been doing compost tea brews using nettle, cattails & mugwort & other vigorous weeds fermented with probiotics and adding a little superthrive (a micronutrient additive). make sure you aerate the brew before you add and dilute your mixture (following Steve Solomon's advice, i do weak mixtures of 8-10:1 more regularly vs. a strong mixture less frequently).

i personally take the approach that the problems and answers to any insect/disease problem lie in the soil and that the soil is so complex with so many interactions that it's best to take a holistic approach to feeding it instead of trying to add specific minerals/nutrients like a chemist.

hopefully, some of the expert gardeners will chime in and add their wisdom.
 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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Thank you for your response.... My soil is clay/sand/silt... mostly clay... ammended with vermiculite, and compost, rock dust.... since transplanting the newer leaves (brand new) have not been attacked...your step one is something i dont have.... your two is an option when i bought the rockdust the package included some compost for brewing... i m going to the local pet store to get an small aquarium pump for aerating and will go with that for now...

I have been reading alot about the soil... and I know I have a long way to go.... I am sending samples outo the the local University to get the analysis for the garden soil. so I can get a base line and go from their....

thanks again, your response was well received and now I have a whole new area to explore .... namely your tea...we make alot of yougurt and i have a bunch of frozen whey... can that be incorporated in compost? would that qualify as a source of probiotics?

I read about bokaashi... and I am not ready for that. Just a task I dont have time for maybe this winter when there is three or four feet of snow covering the garden

 
Krystelle Ellaby
Posts: 27
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chicken duck food preservation
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If you could post some photos of the damage, it might help to get the culprit identified...
Rats eat plants down to the soil, leaving little shavings and twigs. Grasshoppers put random holes in the leaves. Caterpillars generally eat leaves from the outside in, and usually leave the central rib intact. Some beetle larvae, like the fig leaf beetle larvae and 28 spot ladybird larvae leave lacy patches on the leaves.
It can actually be fun to identify bugs and figure out if its a problem that needs solving, or leaving alone.
I leave all of my bugs alone, even spiders, since they eat other bugs I also encourage lizards with rocks, logs and mulch, as well as frogs and birds with water.
I agree that a stressed plant tends to get eaten more than it's neighbours, and the stress may be none of your fault, especially if you bought it as a seedling and didn't start it yourself. Seaweed is supposed to be a good immune booster, but supplies are suspect these days. I would recommend worm liquid, if you don't want to do a worm farm, buy some bottled juice of a neighbourhood kid/entrepreneur, or trade organic food scraps with someone for it.
 
siu-yu man
Posts: 99
Location: zone 6a, north america
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hey Gregory,

glad you found it somewhat useful.

you seem to be much farther ahead than you may think. adding rock dust from the jump was a smart move.
but, the minerals from rock dust are not immediately bio-available for plants to use. they need the soil microorganisms to convert them and offer them as food for the roots. hence, the reason why your supplier included the compost to make brew. so depending on when you amended, your eggplants may not get the results. but any fall veggies will, and next spring's veggies will even more. in other words, with rock dust, your soil will improve over time, provided it has healthy biological activity.

so yes, make your tea and concentrate your application around the root zone of any current plantings, foliar spray the weak/bug bite ones (best to foliar spray around dawn/dusk as that is when the plant "pores" are most open to receive liquid nutrition).

i'm with Krystelle, i don't intentionally squash any bugs except for ticks (for obvious reasons). then again, i'm willing to sacrifice a plant or several to understand the overall balance (or lack thereof). if you haven't already, you could plant some companions that attract predatory wasps (yarrow is my personal favorite).

as for bokashi, yes, i use an EM type concentrate as a base, but you don't have to, considering you already make yogurt and have excess whey. i would consider adding some whey to your compost tea mixture before you aerate. and when you're ready, do a search for "newspaper bokashi", you may already have all the materials you need without having to purchase anything more.

one last idea to try: if you have a mugwort patch accessible, stick a shovel into the soil and see if there are any white stringy globs in there. if so, you've hit paydirt, cuz that's mycorrhiza. i've been digging up random patches of mugwort all spring and without fail, every one of them is full of myco networks underneath. scoop up some of that soil and white globs and add to your tea mixture. in this application, you wouldn't have to sift out the roots, but if you were to add that soil as a straight amendment, i would most definitely sift them out, otherwise you're going to spread the mugwort, and that plant is vicious once it gets going.

purely anecdotal so YMMV, but it's been working for me.
wish you good fortune with your experiments.

p.s. that uni soil test may not give you a micronutrient reading, which you are going to want to know, especially since you're doing the rock dust thing. if they don't, try Logan Labs or someone else who does an Albrecht style testing method. it's a little more expensive, but immensely more valuable.
 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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eggplant pictures as requested
eggplant 1.JPG
[Thumbnail for eggplant 1.JPG]
eggplant
eggplant 2.JPG
[Thumbnail for eggplant 2.JPG]
again
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 123
Location: Elgin, IL
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Hmm, I've seen slugs, earwigs, caterpillars/cutworms, and sowbugs (although not usually in that quantity) all leave damage like that. Maybe try sprinkling some diatomaceous earth around the base of your plant and keep a close eye out for caterpillars?
 
Krystelle Ellaby
Posts: 27
7
chicken duck food preservation
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Personally, that "damage" doesn't seem much like damage at all. Man you would panic if you saw my garden.
They really look pretty healthy. Unless you want to get on the martha stewart show or something a few blemishes won't matter.
It's definitely not enough to affect the production. Just leave it and see if it sorts itself out.
Would you be willing to try some mulch? Lucerne chaff or sugarcane? just don't let it touch around the trunk, or the plant might suffer. bare soil is just an invitation for nature to fill it up for you, especially if you are doing all those great amendments mentioned before. It'll also help with moisture retention since you're in summer, (it's 'winter' here). the mulch will also provide habitat for good bugs, lizards and frogs who want to eat the bugs eating your leaves.
 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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lol... thanks for your kind reassuring words...nope not aiming for Martha Stewart we just don't know whats normal yet.

the whole mulch thing has me reeling. I watch a ted talk about leaves as your only need.... Some in this area say they prefer the use of green mulch.. that collection of weeds clover etc that is typical...

Some say that in 5b zone they dont mulch to allow the soil to heat up... some use black plastic until they get the soil temp up and they replace it with mulched leaves..leaves I have a ton of.

I am also planting spinach, carrots, cilantro in that area ... i'm was just tossing seeds out every day.. I've stopped that now as I am to the point I don't know what I got where... mea culpa... LOL

Better planning for the rest of the year! (I hope)

Greg

 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 123
Location: Elgin, IL
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Actually, the "scatter some seeds and see what does well" method can work quite well If you notice something doing particularly well, take a picture and post it. I'm sure this group can help you i.d. some things.
 
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