DEAR NEW FARM:
We have a small home garden and have found flea beetles on
young eggplants. We want to use as nontoxic a treatment as
possible and wonder about Pyola and/or similar treatments.
We have tomatoes nearby; are they at risk from flea beetles
Though they do break down quickly and are made from natural
ingredients (chrysanthemums), pyrethrums, like Pyola, should
only be used as a last resort (and that’s precisely
what the National Organic Program tells farmers). Instead,
for flea beetles in your home garden, dilute 1-2 cups 70-percent
strength isopropyl alcohol in one quart water and spray on
plants (test a few leaves first), or try one part ammonia
with seven parts water as a spray (also test first).
We noticed the eggplants in well-drained soil in our raised
beds—freshly dressed with compost shortly after transplanting—outgrew
the flea beetle damage a lot better than plants growing a
few feet away in less-desirable soil. Also, there are many
tomatoes nearby, and the flea beetles don’t seem to
be bothering them. (Perhaps a few eggplants in poor soil work
as an effective trap crop!)
DEAR NEW FARM:
Thanks so much for your advice. We were away for nine days
and came back to find that, indeed, the eggplants seem to
be winning out and growing OK despite the flea beetles. Also,
I read that planting catnip and/or thyme near cabbage and
eggplant will repel flea beetles.
us with comments, suggestions and questions.