|Last Fall’s Beans
Photo by Tinywater
My beans and corn are missing. Well, most of my beans and corn are missing. The beans and some of our corn in our two new beds have almost all come up and are doing great. 2′ over in our older beds only half a dozen or so have come up of each. What’s going on? So Tuesday afternoon I decided to go poking around to see if they are even germinating. No they were not. But that’s not all. Most of them were missing! My first thought was “It must be those damn squirrels!” until I came across the shell of a bean. The insides almost completely eaten out. Oh no! Some sort of pest has been chomping on my beans seeds! Then I looked over. Where are all of my squash? Some have come up, but not all of them. Dig, dig, dig. Crap! Those got eaten as well! It appears that our Sluggo Plus isn’t working all that great. Our culprit? It’s either earwigs, pill bugs or slugs, but my money is on the slugs.
But only if it were that easy. Sure, the tops of my beans are getting munched on. Most likely slugs. But the seeds? I took a closer inspection of a nearly hollowed out corn seed. There the culprit was. Little whitish colored larvae. Yes, we’ve got an infestation of Seedcorn Maggots. Ugh. Cultural management is the only option.
It’s an important lesson to learn. I’ve never had to deal with seedcorn maggots before. It’s a pest I had never even heard of until this week. It’s widespread throughout the U.S. so anyone here can potentially be effected. We didn’t have this problem last year because of one primary difference. A top dressing of compost on the older beds. The high organic matter of the top dressing is what drew them to our garden this year. Next year we’ll have to make sure to either top dress in the fall and dig it in come Spring.
I reordered more bean seeds and this time I’ll be sowing them in flats before planting them out. I’m considering redoing the corn as well in flats.
4 thoughts on “Saturday’s Farm Diary – Where are my beans and corn?”
Oh no! At least you've identified the problem though (one I hadn't heard of either). Even though they're attracted by the rich organic material, would physically blocking them via floating row covers over those crops while the seedlings are small have potentially helped? It does wonders for keeping our slugs at bay.
Nothing I have read, even in my organic books, mention floating row covers as a means of protection. Our slugs live in our soil to make them even more difficult to control.
What a disappointment 🙁 Gardening isnt' without it's challenges.
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