Saturday, May 2, 2009

Asparagus Beetles Revisited

Back to the topic of asparagus beetles, the above photo shows what I found on several of the spears that I cut for lunch today: a multitude of eggs and obvious snacking damage. I garden organically, so there are only so many options for me to pursue in eradicating these vile creatures. My peeps just aren't to the point yet of letting them free-range about the asparagus patch, but beetles beware when they reach that stage!

For now I hand pick all the beetles I can find. Before I had the peeps I'd drop the beetles into a cup of soapy water. Now, I can feed the peeps a snack of beetles. Litter clean-up in the fall is important so the beetles don't overwinter in great numbers, and I must admit, I'm guilty of not cleaning up the asparagus patch like I should.

I've read that planting petunias within the asparagus patch will help deter asparagus beetles, as will planting tomatoes nearby. In the past I've tried the petunia idea, and it seemed to work for a while, but then the beetles appeared. At least the asparagus patch was pretty, all decked out with flowers. This year I'll have to give the tomato idea a whirl.

Close-up of Asparagus Beetle Eggs

Asparagus beetle eggs are disgusting sticking all over the spears, but at least they can be scraped off of what is otherwise a perfectly good spear. I'm going to have to do some homework on raising organic asparagus and see if I can't conquer the beetles! Surely there is something besides hand picking that really works. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying daily meals of nothing but asparagus!

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