Full of beans

Troubled pepperWe’ve already spotted trouble with our two Golden Boy yellow pepper plants. Both developed small, then progressively larger holes, and now they’re developing these unhealthy-looking yellow patches on the leaves. None of these seem like good signs for things to come.

On Sunday afternoon, we also spotted what we identified as a Bean Leaf Beetle on the leaves of one of the two plants. A little Internet searching yielded that they love to make mincemeat of cowpeas, soybeans, beans and peas, none of which we have in our garden. But some sites referenced peppers and tomatoes as also being favorite foods for this little pest.

Bean Leaf Beetle

The problem? Apparently they don’t go away without pesticides, and Steve and I agree: if we wanted pesticides on our vegetables, we might as well just go buy them at the Hy-Vee. The goal here is to get these veggies raised with as few chemicals as possible.

So, to those more experienced gardeners out there, is there anything we can do to take care of these guys? Should we plant some flowers to attract predators? Pick these off by hand as we see them? Ignore this one and hope he’s not the forerunner of a whole clan?


4 Responses to “Full of beans”

  1. 1 steven May 23, 2006 at 8:19 am

    I am a big fan of dusting with diatomaceous earth if the weather is dry. The diatoms clog insect’s joints and pierce their shells which leads to death by dehydration.

  2. 2 Carol May 23, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    I favor picking them off if you can, then watering and fertilizing well so the plants can outgrow the insect damage. (A little nibbling won’t hurt a good, strong plant) I’ve also used cayenne pepper to try to keep rabbits out, I wonder if it would keep these insects from eating the leaves? Or plant some beans to lure them away!

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener May 23, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    Steven, I’m going to have to look into the diatomaceous earth option. We’re having a dry week here, but that’s certain to change soon enough. Still…sounds like an interesting option.

    Carol, this is also very helpful information. I’ve heard the cayenne pepper theory before, but I’ve also heard that picking the bugs off is the fastest way to success, especially in small plots. I can see how that strategy might backfire with a big plot!


  1. 1 Holy bean leaves, Batman! « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on August 2, 2007 at 4:44 am

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