Meet Linwood’s newest garden mascot – the wireworm! As you can probably tell, we are trying hard to have a sense of humor about an infestation that is not only hungry but hard to get rid of! The wireworm is the larva of the click beetle, and boy do they like our potatoes! They pretty much destroy any root vegetable by tunneling though them as they eat, and of course they are more content to eat little bits of every single veggie rather than just eat all of one or two of them.
So, we have been exploring how to get rid of these little buggers, and it turns out it’s not easy. Other than putting down heavy-duty conventional pesticide (which obviously we are not going to do), the options are beneficial nematodes or pyrethrins, which we are also reluctant to apply unless we absolutely have to. So, beneficial nematodes are our weapon of choice. As luck would have it though, it snowed again last weekend and has been cold all week. We were really excited that we might get our low tunnels up really early this year but nature certainly has not cooperated with us! So, the beneficial nematodes are going down this evening, and fingers crossed the weather will stay nice all week and allow us to get some home gardens tilled and low tunnels put up (and more potatoes in the ground!).
For those of you who are unfamiliar, beneficial nematodes are basically worm-like parasites (so yes, we like to joke that we are fighting worms with other worms) that infest a wide range of pests and kill them from the inside out. Our research points out that they are effective, so we think they are a wise use of time and money. We will certainly report back once we see what happens.
In other news, we are going to be building a second community garden in Cass at the Burner Homeplace. This is the oldest building in Cass, and is being renovated to become a museum and community center with art and yoga classes, and a garden. We are very excited about this undertaking. Additionally, we have a homeowner in Green Bank who offered up her property as a place to build a garden. We are still feeling that situation out so will blog our update when we have one. Lastly, we are partnering up with WVU Extension Family Nutrition Services to do a Jr. Master Gardener class the second week in June. This is particularly exciting because we’ll be using that time to build a kids’ community garden at the Valley Head Elementary School, which is scheduled to close at the end of the school year (another blow for an already very depressed town). At least we can do something positive there!