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Old 04-19-2006, 06:11 AM   #11
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I agree that the Box Elder bugs aren't too much to worry about, but without knowing what was planted there before you don't know what diseases are laying dormant in the soil. You may stick your young tomato seedlings straight into a death trap and then you've wasted all that time when you could have been killing the disease.

Swann - Bingo! That's Solarization.

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Old 04-19-2006, 07:12 AM   #12
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Okay... talked to my friend.

They are definitely box elder bugs. She would like to plant this year, so she is going to:

1. Try cleaning the garden space (which has not been used for 7 years) and getting rid of the detritus before tilling and sowing, hoping the bugs go as well.

2. Use solarization if 1. doesn't work. Unfortunately, it would require spending more money than she wants to.

3. Plant a relatively inexpensive garden this summer to see what happens. The ultimate goal is to raise inexpensive organic food. She's saving to come visit me.

Thank you to everyone for their help. A special thanks from my technology-deficient friend. (Could YOU live without the internet now????)
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Old 04-20-2006, 04:37 AM   #13
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I had a problem with some kind of bug that was eating away at the roots of my veggies the first year I planted (the plants would thrive, put on one set of peppers/cukes, whatever), then die. Hardly worth the trouble to get one or two vegs, if that, off each plant. A local master gardener told me what my problem might be (seems to me there were two possibilities, box elder not being one -- we have a lot of them around here, but seems to me they're in the trees, not in the soil under the veggies). Recommended solar sterilization, but it sure didn't cost anything besides missing a planting season. Just heavy duty, dark plastic covering weighted down. Natural heat over one summer did the trick. That year we planted in containers and other parts of the yard. Put the plastic (it's a small garden, so we just used big garbage bags) down in spring, left it 'til the following spring, then tilled, added amendments to the soil (humus to loosen it, manure to fertilize it) and planted. Worked OK for the two years since then. We'll see what happens this year.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:26 AM   #14
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Oh! Well if it hasn't been used for 7 years then I doubt that she'll have a problem with previous diseases. She might want to till all that leaf litter into the soil, that's organics that will airate the soil and give her plants a boost. Tell her not to thow all that out. If she dosen't want all of it tell her to start a compost heap with what she don't want in the garden. She'll never be able to buy what she's throwing away.

Actually, the best possible advice I can give is to call her County Extension Office and talk to someone there personally. Explain the situation to them and they can advise her what's best for her area.


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