Thursday, 28 July 2011

Diatomaceous earth

Growing summer squash, winter squash and cucumbers organically can be something of a challenge due to a pest called the striped cucumber beetle. They have been particularly difficult to deal with this year, since they seem to enjoy hot, dry weather. They eat the plants, and worse yet, spread bacterial wilt which causes the plants to wilt and die.
You will occasionally see a bit of a white residue on cucumbers and zucchini. It is diatomaceous earth, a mineral powder which we sometimes use to help reduce the amount of damage cucumber beetles do to the plants. Food grade diatomaceous earth is completely non-toxic, and is approved for use in organic growing.