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Beginner Gardening Questions: Mustard seed cake led to flies-cabbage maggot

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 2, Views: 20
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New Delhi

August 31, 2012
12:18 PM

Post #9260596

Need some urgent help here. On the recommendation of a nursery owner, I used mustard seed cake powder mixed with water on the potted plants and soil filled containers for conditioning for planting. He said to let the mustard seed cake rest in the water for a day. I did, it smelled sweet prior application, but he did not tell me it has to be applied 3-4" below the soil( which I learnt later). The next day, the balcony was swarmed by flies and there was a 'dead animal' smell coming from the balcony for the next 2-3 days and once the flies left, there was a swamp of cabbage maggots( postive ID from the Insect Identification Guide in the "The organic gardener's handbook of Natural Insect and disease control") in all the containers I had applied the seed cake.
This was distressing as we are aware of the illness the cabbage maggot is know to cause. So, the maggots would be out of their pots if they can and be all over the balcony and I would be flushing them out every day 3-4 times to keep the populations low. 5-6 days after, the smell died down and so did the maggots. Even after about 14-15 days, I still saw one today. However, I closely monitor the soil and I would say it is eradicated and so far so good and some of the plants have still survived.We had not planted any veggies except tomatoes and chillies and they are doing fine, getting stronger. Also, the soil where they thrived is leveled and crumbly.
Question- can we eat the produce from this soil as the maggots are all dead and I'm sure they are not getting into the veggies for sure(i.e. bore through the root, then through the length of the plant and then to the fruit without killing the plant). But we don't know if the flies could leave any toxins behind in the soil which COULD make it to the vegetables. So far not growing anything that grows INTO the soil, so far all ABOVE the soil.
I'm sure you understand my fears, so I would love an answer. I surely don't want to throw away the soil, but can still use it for flowers or small bonsai's.
Love plants thanks to the potential of seeds.


Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 31, 2012
5:54 PM

Post #9260937

Never had that problem, that is scary, I think I wouldn't use that soil, too many chances of it being overly easy for stuff to return, but, if you feel safe with it then I would use it for other things and hope the flies were totally gone.
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

September 6, 2012
8:41 AM

Post #9266917

I think you just witnessed some composting. All kinds of bugs and maggots can be in compost, which is then commonly put on and/or mixed into the garden soil of veggie plants. I don't know what this mustard stuff you're talking about is, but as long as it's some type of organic matter, it shouldn't have any negative effect on the soil (quite the opposite!) or the produce grown from it.

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