BY BARBARA STORZ
Identifying and controlling insects in a vegetable garden can be a challenge. However, more than 90 percent of insects are not pests, so it is important to identify which insects may be a problem, neutral in their relationship with your garden or which insects are beneficial.
While many different insects will visit the garden during the growing season, they do not show up all at once. You have time to gather resources that are helpful during the planning of your garden through the growing season.
Monitoring your garden is a first step to knowing who is visiting the garden. Be sure to check plants daily. Be sure to look under leaves for problems. If you are starting a vegetable garden, it is a good idea to visit aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and select vegetables. And then choose the Easy Gardening Series, which has a publication for the particular vegetables you are going to plant this season.
Texas A&M University Extension Service has a free publication on most vegetables that can be grown in Texas. Take advantage of this and download the information. Each three- to four-page publication has information on growing the vegetable and what pests can be expected, along with control methods, including organic methods.
Additionally, the Easy Gardening publication entitled “Insect Control” is a good guide to understanding what types of insects are common and includes photos of these insects and a description of damage and controls. Be sure to also explore publications on beneficial insects and learn to identify these, both in the immature stage and the adult stage.
Mississippi State University Extension also has free publications for home vegetable gardeners. Their publication, “Insect Pests of the Home Vegetable Garden,” gives detailed information on pests, including detailed black and white drawings of the insects and information on control methods.
This 19-page publication is worth printing or downloading. To access this information, visit www.msucares.com. Once you are on the site, choose publications and then enter the publication number 2347, or type in the title as listed above. The more you know about gardening, the more likely you will be successful at gardening.
For more information on gardening, stop by the Growing Growers Farmers Market in McAllen from 9 a.m. to noon today and pick up a copy of the “Vegetable Planting Guide” for the Rio Grande Valley. You will have an opportunity to talk with a master gardener and get information on their upcoming gardening classes. This market is located in Firemen’s Park, at the corner of 1st Street and Business 83, in McAllen.
Barbara Storz is a local horticulturist. You can listen to her garden show at 7 a.m. Saturdays on 710 KURV Radio, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.