Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cabbage root maggots

Thank you, Mr. H, you were correct, my cauliflower problem is root maggots.

Seemingly recovered cauliflower. 
I went out just a little while ago, and saw that the cauliflower appears to be recovering, as the wilting went away. The books I consulted said that the effected plants will generally wilt in the hottest part of the days. Had I not known that the cauliflower's roots were probably infected, I would have ignored the problem.

But, I pulled up the plant and inspected the root. There it was, an ugly maggot.

Root maggot. I broke off the root and let the chickens have a go at it. 
I consulted Steve Solomon's Gardening When it Counts Book mentions that root maggots are a huge problem here in Cascadia. He says that we can delay planting in the until late may through July when the flies are least active. I'm assuming that this also means that sowing seeds prior to that time under protection (row covers and tunnel cloches, etc.) will protect the seedlings from flies (but not from maggots already present in the soil.

Some varieties of brassicas are resistant to the root maggot. He did not say which in this book. Perhaps he mentions the varieties in his other book, which I cannot seem to find at the moment.

In addition he mentioned the work of a man named Blair Adams, who found that wood ashes placed around the plants will actually attract maggots to the soil. But, what does work (even better than traditional barrier methods, he says) is a ring of fresh sawdust placed around the plants, and hilling the soil a little around the plants so that the roots are buried a little deeper.

Evidently parasitic nematodes work well, as long as the nematodes are fresh and haven't been sitting around.

Other pest control articles.

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