We started building our raised garden beds in January. By the time May rolled, around, we were shoveling the last of the garden soil into our beds and we were ready to plant. We fenced to protect the garden against deer. Never did we consider the possibility of other garden pests.
We thought we were ready to plant our seeds and seedlings and everything would be good to go. Boy, were we wrong. It’s been an onslaught of garden pests since planting our garden, and some of them came from our very own soil!
It started with seeds not coming up that we’d planted. I know sometimes seeds don’t come up, but an entire half bed of seeds didn’t sprout.
Then, the seedlings I’d carefully started and grown started to wilt and die no matter what we did. It was so incredibly frustrating, and one morning we pulled a seedling up to look at it closely and discovered little white centipedes on the roots!
Having no idea what they were, I literally googled “tiny white centipede” and discovered we had an infestation of symphylans!
Garden Pests: Symphylans
- They are native to our area.
- They live in the soil and thrive on organic matter. They also love to eat roots and seedlings of a variety of garden plants. Basically we provided them with a feast of food.
- They are incredibly hard to control because they move fast and can dig up to three feet below ground to wait until conditions are good to come back up. I searched just about every pesticide and none claim to kill symphylans.
One thing we did learn is that they are fairly sensitive to heat and Diatomaceous Earth. So, as our first garden bed has been harvested and cleaned out, we have now dug out the entire bed to dry out the soil and hopefully kill them with dry and hot conditions.
Check out the wiki on symphylans to see them and read more on them.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE GARDEN PESTS!
Remember earlier I mentioned that we fenced the garden against deer? Well, never once did we consider that most of our problem would come from squirrels.
Suddenly, we had a camp of squirrels make their home on our property, and they’ve been eating the tops of our carrots and digging plants out of the garden. It’s war with the squirrels right now.
We have live traps set out and I’ve lost count how many we’ve trapped in the past three weeks. I remember thinking squirrels were super uber cute and now I see them in an entirely different light haha.
It’s been an interesting first season of gardening. I feel as though we’ve learned a lot in the past few months, and we have a lot more to learn.