Dear Pixie – I see you have run up against the first big hurdle in organic gardening: BUGS. After successfully nurturing the seedlings into healthy plants just about to start bearing good things to eat, after all your care and hard work, the bugs show up one day and start wreaking havoc. It’s not fair!!
This is the time when you have to become a warrior gardener and protect what’s yours. It’s tricky because you have to be fierce but only selectively destructive. I’ve never met a successful organic gardener who wasn’t cut throat when it came to slaughtering without mercy any bug or fungi or other creepy thing that threatened their plants. But it must be done without causing harm to anything else. It’s not too hard when you have the right tricks.
First, water. Some bugs can be washed away with a strong spray of water. If that doesn’t work put some soapy water in a spray bottle and squirt the little suckers. Just don’t get any in the soil or on the roots of the plants. If that’s not the cure, try chili powder solution in the spray bottle, garlic maybe.
There are a gazillion non-toxic remedies for specific infestestations online. But the best cure is prevention. Keep your plants strong and healthy. Get rid of the weak ones, hand pull weeds, keep a good mulch around plants, feed them when they need it (never feed them after the fruit appears).
Probably most important, welcome the birds and the lady bugs. They will gladly do your work for you. And if you lose a few veggies to the bugs anyway, that’s the way it is with organic growing. If you lose them all, clear the ground, let it lie fallow and keep it cleaned out and bare. When the bugs are all gone, set out some strong seedlings and do it again.
What else would a good warrior do?
After many years of happy warrioring, I salute you and wish you well!
. . . love you . . . swan . . . .