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I really don't want to use chemicals but.....

Posted by belita1 Texas (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 17:49

Hi, I am a new gardener and I have a watermelon patch that is doing good. I never saw a lot of bugs(I planted late) except for rolly polly until now. I know for a fact I have snail and slugs and add leaf miners to the bunch with a side of ant war-fare( fire ant and a smaller species I have never seen before are doing battle under my melons, they are also destroying them) but there are two other bugs that I know nothing about. I have let the spiders have at them( there are three wolf spiders, two types of jumpers and some weird boxer-looking one) but they seem to be over-whelmed. I have no problem letting the keep it up that was until I saw four of my largest melons rotting because the vine was being eaten away, there is extensive damage to the leaves and the main three vines. There are also two more bugs but I did not get a picture of them. I really don't want to use chemicals, but I will if this keeps up.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I really don't want to use chemicals but.....

Another bug and I don't know what it is.

RE: I really don't want to use chemicals but.....

The damage so far: There splits in one of the off-shoot vines. I have cut a lot off bu the one I am worried the most about I do not want to cut off because there is a melon( my only one) on it.

RE: I really don't want to use chemicals but.....

Base of the Vine and also there is a misshaped melon. It is not rotten or anything the misshaped.

RE: I really don't want to use chemicals but.....

I don't think insects had anything to do with your split vines.

RE: I really don't want to use chemicals but.....

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 22:30

Your plants generally look healthy in the photos and bugs are a normal part of gardening. They only become a concern when the damage they do is severe - yours isn't - of when there are lots of them. Your melon leaf in the first picture shows some signs of very early Downey Mildew (the yellow spots). Otherwise I wouldn't worry about the problems you have described.

Splits in stems aren't caused by bugs but by inconsistent soil moisture levels. Just leave them alone and they will usually scab over. The stem base damage in your last pic is due to slugs or snails and there are organic controls for them but it doesn't seem to be hurting the plant.

New gardeners too often over-react and that can lead you to doing more harm than good so developing some patience and tolerance for less than perfection goes a long way toward successful gardening. :)


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