new gardener ... vacation, bugs, help!
Hi, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I have a brand new raised bed vegetable garden, which I am tending organically. I have three tomatoes, two cucumbers, one zucchini, four peppers, four swiss chard, lettuces, herbs and strawberries. And some questions about bugs!
I see striped cucumber beetles on the cukes and sometimes the zuke. I usually go out every morning and hunt for beetles and squash the ones I can find. Sometimes I do it in the evening too. I usually find a few on each cuke, no more than three, and occasionally one on the zuke. The plants are flowering but I'm not noticing any fruit yet.
Recently I've had trouble with leaf miners on my swiss chard (which was otherwise growing beautifully!). Over the weekend I cut off and threw away all the affected leaves I could identify, and also squashed the little white eggs on the leaves, but I've noticed more damaged leaves since then. The swiss chard is in the center of the bed which makes it a bit hard to inspect it as closely as I would like.
I'm leaving for a one-week vacation on Sunday and am a little worried about leaving these guys exposed to bugs for a whole week. Anything I can/should be doing to protect them?
I was thinking of just harvesting all the swiss chard before I leave -- thought this might deter the leafminers -- but if I cut it all down will it regrow? Anything I can do about the cucumber beetles?
Also - was wondering if I should be applying beneficial nematodes to the soil to kill any potential leafminer or cucumber beetle larvae. Any downside to doing this? Is there a brand or variety of nematode you can suggest?
Thanks for bearing with my new-b questions!