Actually this is to the pros out there close to me. I want to know the status of your vegetable garden right now! I'm new at this and have just 'made' my hay bale coldframe.(I'm almost to the Red River in North Texas.) I'm going to attempt to grow lettuces in it.What do you think is the best way to do it?
There is a Strawbale Gardening Forum, and threads on Southwest Gardening and others.
Winter gardening here in SE TX is wonderful - almost no bugs. Only time I can successfully get cabbage, brussles sprouts, lettuce. Any other time, it's probably 80-90% bug food. Only chemical I use is Murphy's Oil Soap. I do pour a quite a bit of black coffee on things to slow down the snails, but still have some damage.
I know you are several zones north if us so hope someone closer can chime in, too.
My time is shy for a winter garden here so not able to offer much assistance with your question, sorry. I am guessing you are growing loose leaf lettuce? I know that in a conventional bed you can plant garlic and onions as well right now. They need no cold frame protection.
BubbaMo ~ have you ever tried spreading crushed eggshells around your plants to deter the snails? And, please share how you use the Murphys Oil Soap?
I mix an oz or two in a 32 oz spray bottle - fill with water and spray everything except tomato leaves. Seems to keep a lot of flying insects in control, and I have never seen any aphids in my garden.
Biggest problem I have is with the @!#$ leaf-footed bugs in the spring/summer on the tomatoes. They are killable when nymphs, but the only thing that works once they are adults is a rock and a hammer.
One of the DG'ers suggested I try Ortho-Max. I really hated to use any chemical, but mixed up a batch in my chemical sprayer. Hit one of the buggers straight in the face - drenched it. It took off flew up about 10 feet over the garden and flew clear to the street and beyond - over 150 feet before I lost sight of it.
Poured out the rest of the OM, and went back to Murphy's. They don't like it, but it won't kill adults or damage any of the good insects.
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Wallah ~ there it should be...
Have to admit, I didn't learn that till I joined DG. Wonderful place in this garden... pod