Well I finally cracked and did it.
I bought a 5 gallon bucket.
Because really, who doesn’t need a bucket?
I had a bucket- but I tried to do bucket compost in it and then forgot about it for 5 years and when I opened it…
So I have a new bucket.
Why do I have a new bucket?
Beneficial nematodes baby! Gonna treat my Brassica beds with the good good stuff that kills nasty awful no good cabbage fly maggots!
Look. I have no pictures of it because my instinct was “kill it with fire” but I had what can only be described as the worst experience with my last big Joi Choi. I knew from my many times growing turnips that cabbage fly maggots like to eat the roots of brassicas- which is why I don’t plant root brassicas anymore. (Which is sad as I love turnips and radishes) Now cabbage flies can affect not just root brassicas, but all brassicas by nibbling at the roots and killing the seedlings. But as long as you time it right and you take care of your seedlings the plants will be healthy enough to withstand the onslaught.
Integrated pest management! It’s not about killing all the pests- it’s about managing them.
I thought I was safe. After all they die back in autumn, there will only be a few…
But then I picked my last beautiful Joi Choi- brought it upstairs, and when I cut into the stem- a maggot popped its little head out. It traveled up the stem! All the stems had maggots in them!
There are some pretty detailed instructions- but my lack of a bucket was a challenge so I picked one up.
I did this right at dusk which is the right time apparently, though that wasn’t a sign of any pre-planning (pre-planning? What’s that?) on my part, it just happened to be when I was free.
Gross! And blurry!
You dump the contents of a container that’s within the main container into some water and then wait a bit for all the microscopic nematodes to get dissolved in the drink. What floats to the top is carrier.
You’re then supposed to water the beds with it. My problem was getting the carrier bits off the top. I do not have a mesh strainer that I was willing to dirty with nematodes. Also I was concerned about getting the bucket water into the watering can and not the ground.
Old pitcher and old Giants branded cardboard cups? Check.
Everything in this garden is Gerry-rigged and I’m ok with that.
After I skimmed off the carrier and filled the watering can with nematode water, I just… watered all the beds with brassicas!
I also watered my cut back squash vine because if it does fail that bed will most likely host brassicas of some type.
I could not take any pictures of this in the moment as it was no longer dusk- it was night.
Night-time gardening. It’s the Neanderthal way.
Here’s the view from the next morning.
While you skim off the carrier you also use it as it most likely still contains nematodes and you want to get your money’s worth.
So I just sprinkled it where needed.
The north beds should now be protected!
As should the West beds!
And my favorite- Mr. Tree collard.
All in all this wasn’t too difficult, doesn’t pollute the water table, won’t poison me or wildlife, and wasn’t stinky.
So 10/10 would nematode again!
This type of nematodes is really good at combating lawn grubs- that’s the really gross looking thing on the container. I don’t have a lawn, but nematodes eat a lot of things.
So here’s to integrated pest management.
And my new bucket.
It’s a nice bucket.