In a recent OTG newsletter, the editor’s response to Concerned Gardener recommended using nematodes to combat grubs and mentioned online sources. The letter didn’t indicate where Concerned Gardener lives, but here in greater Los Angeles, I have seen nematodes offered in the garden sections of OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) and at a chain store called Do It Center. Though I have not seen them at the bigger stores (Lowe’s or Home Depot), they may be available in some of those outlets or at other large garden outlets. In both stores where I saw them, these items were offered at a counter that included a refrigerator where they sold ladybugs, decollate snails (which battle slugs and large brown snails—and seem to have worked for me), and similar biological controls. If readers can’t find these on their own, just ask someone in the store.
In another letter on the same date, Shopping for Storage sought Mylar bags for food storage and oxygen absorbers. I know I have seen the bags in the Los Angeles area at a military surplus store called Major Surplus (www.majorsurplus.com), and I think they had oxygen absorber material as well. Major does mail order. But again, before ordering by mail with the wait and shipping charges, check your local surplus stores, as they stock a lot of items for campers as well as survivalists, so they often carry things like dehydrated foods, MREs, and similar items.
Dear Happy Gardener,
Thank you for your response! These are great resources you mention, and I am sure many readers will appreciate the tips as much as I did.
I have read some conflicting and confusing info as per rice storage. Is “parboiled” brown rice more stable for long-term storage? Please advise.
Parboiled brown rice will not store any longer than regular brown rice. Whether it is parboiled or not, brown rice still has the germ, which contains the healthy fatty acids that separate it from white rice. Unfortunately, these fatty acids are also what cause the brown rice to spoil quicker. If you want to store rice yourself for longer than about six months, you will probably need to use white rice.
I have recently lost my entire garden of squash to something I have been told was a squash bug. All the plants started wilting, and then I noticed the stalk was destroyed at the ground level… I finally found two black bug looking insects inside the stalk. I sprayed the rest of them with 50/50 water peroxide to no avail. Any suggestions?
Unfortunately, squash bugs are a difficult pest to control in gardens. You have several options. Obviously there are poisons available commercially, including organic ones like neem oil and rotenone; however, even these organic options may have some risks. Some gardeners suggest planting other crops that may deter the bugs like radishes, marigold, or mint, but I will say that this has been less than effective in my own garden. Honestly, the best way to deal with squash bugs is to…. well, squash them. Check your garden frequently for the bugs and their eggs (a favorite hiding place is under the leaves of squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers). Try placing small boards on the ground around the affected plants—the bugs will gather under them at night, giving you an easy target in the morning. Finally, make sure you clear out the plot well at the end of the season. Remove plant debris and till the ground well—this will destroy any places the bugs can hide and will give you a head start on the pests for next year. Best of luck!
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