how soon should I be protecting seedlings against pests?

by Nadia
(El Paso TX)

I planted zucchini and yellow squash seeds just to see what happens, to my surprise they sprouted and seem to be doing very well. I just wanted to know how soon should I spray them with home made organic pesticides to avoid these fragile babies from getting eaten by pests?

Comments for how soon should I be protecting seedlings against pests?

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May 01, 2012
When to protect seedlings from pests NEW
by: ~ Megan

No surprises there. If you plant seeds, they usually grow (grin).

It depends where your seedlings are. If they are outside and still small, then slugs and snails could appear overnight and nibble them off at the stem. If you've had snails and slugs problems before, or you've started to see other plants with holes in leaves or seedlings eaten, just go outside with a torch at dusk or dark and check and remove.

The most obvious problem with squash and zucchini is downy mildew in spring with cool wet weather, and powdery mildew later in the season with humid conditions.

Best to avoid these by planting these veg in full sun and when watering, don't sprinkle on the leaves late in the day, but water from underneath so that moisture doesn't stay on plants overnight. Keep plenty of air flow around the plants.

I usually find that at the very end of the season when sometimes one of these fungus or parasitic diseases finally appears on the leaves, it doesn't affect the fruit still left on the vines for a while, and anyway, I've already had a huge crop and it's no big deal, because I never want to see another zucchini or squash for a while!

If in doubt about your growing conditions, or your area has had diseases before, or the likes or mites, bugs, cutworms etc, by all means start a regular preventative organic spray.

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