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General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

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Old March 10, 2006   #1
soeur
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Default Flea beetle control?

Flea beetles attack my eggplants when young, overnight making the leaves look like someone blasted tiny buckshot through the foliage. I've sprayed pyrethrin, also pyola, also rotenone/pyrethrin to very little avail. I'd love to hear what you more experienced eggplanteers do to successfully combat these little buggers. They do a number on my melons, too.

TIA!
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Old March 10, 2006   #2
giardiniere
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Flea beetles are my BIGGEST garden pest... hands down. I've had the best success, albeit limited, with rotenone. I've never covered them with floating row covers, even though it supposedly helps, and I've heard of using neem oil, but have never tried it either. This year, I'm going to interplant with catnip. I thought, what the heck, it's worth a shot. Nothing else really seems to be too successful.

I guess I didn't mention that catnip is a natural deterent for flea beetles.
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Old March 11, 2006   #3
grungy
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Default Flea Beetle Control

The best thing I have found for flea beetles in the garden is to plant summer turnips through out all the other crops. The beetles seem to go nuts over turnips and pretty much leave the rest alone. Hope this helps.
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Old March 12, 2006   #4
Teacher_Mike
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Hey Val, a couple of questins about the summer turnip thing. First, does the "summer" part of the name designate a special type or variety? Second, will a row in the garden prove enough of a trap or do they have to be interplanted? Third, how far in advance do you have to sow the turnips so they are ready when you transplant the eggplants, and do they last the entire growing season?

Thanks in advance - the flea beetles just DECIMATED my eggplants last year...
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Old March 12, 2006   #5
montanamato
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Somebody posted awhile back that once they quit planting their eggplant plants together they did much better.
They staggered the plants throughout the garden.
Turnip grows fast here. I plant it about 3 or 4 weeks before the eggplants and the leaves are tall enough by then to be appealing. Arugula and mustard will collect flea beetles too.

Jeanne
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Old March 12, 2006   #6
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I used diatomaceous earth (de) last year and it seemed to help.
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Old March 12, 2006   #7
grungy
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Default Flea beetle control?

Hi Teacher_Mike,
By summer turnips I mean the ones like Purple Top, ect. Just not the old Swedish Turnips or Rutabags. Found out the flea beetle control quite accidently, because we like summer turnips for stews and soups, so we planted them next to our chard and beets. Needless to say we didn't get any turnips that year. The patch looked like some one took a shot gun full of bird shot to it, but the chard and and beets did very well with very little infestation. They were all planted in sections of a 3'X30' raised bed. Since then we just scatter a few turnips through the garden and don't worry about flea beetles and they also seem to help keep the leaf miners down to tolerable levels also.
Happy gardening 2006
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Old March 13, 2006   #8
nctomatoman
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Heresy spoken here....then again, I AM a chemist, so what's a few chemicals amongst friends??

For my eggplant seedlings (for my use, not the ones I sell), I spray with a very dilute mix of malathion and sevin, just a few times and prior to any blooms. Once the plants get bigger, and blossom and set, the leaves are large enough to withstand the flea beetle assault. If I did not do this, I would not have eggplant.

I don't spray anything at all on my peppers or tomatoes.
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Old March 13, 2006   #9
JohnF
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They never bother my eggplants but can ruin my bok choy and chinese cabbage. Rotenone seems to work somewhat for me if used often. I like the trap crop idea.
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Old March 13, 2006   #10
Teacher_Mike
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Agreed, I think I'm going to give the trap crop idea a try, too...and thanks for the details, Val. Not much to lose, right? I can always hold my nose and spray a little later on, if needed, but what can a bag or 2 of turnip seed cost?

Mike
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Old June 30, 2006   #11
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They also like a mustard I plant called Savannah Hybrid.
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Old June 30, 2006   #12
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Well, my interplanting with catnip was a complete.... failure. I think the dang little critters were even feasting on the thing that was supposed to deter them. So I sprinkled a little 5% sevin dust on the eggplants a few times and no more flea beetles.
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Old July 1, 2006   #13
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I planted catnip right up close to each egglant and pepper I planted this year (I had an abundance of catnip - boy does it ever self-seed) and I have had no flea beatle damage so far. I usually get a lot of FB damage early on. I did have Japaneese Beatles on my eggplants this year -a first for me. Too bad the catnip doesn't stop the JB's - I'd plant it everywhere.
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