Bugs, Weeds and Water

 Dandelion weeds—Photo credit: Gia Parsons 

Photo credits: MG Gia Parsons (butterfly) & MG Linda Shepherd (dandelions & irrigation system)

Mar. 27, 2019 — Bugs, Weeds, and Water

How can you identify good bugs versus beneficial ones? When does a plant become a weed? What’s the best way to water your garden?

Nature is full of “good bugs” — flying and crawling creatures whose diet includes pests that ravage our precious food plants. Learn to identify these beneficial insects and attract them to your garden with plants like spearmint, feverfew, fennel, and parsley. We don’t want to mistake the good guys for the thug bugs. Ladybug larvae may look ugly, but they eat even more pests than the adults.

Learn to identify, prevent, and control common garden weeds such as chickweed, purslane, plantain, groundsel, pigweed, lambsquarters, dead nettles, stinging nettles, dandelion, yellow wood sorrel, quack grass, reed canary grass, field bindweed, creeping buttercup, and dock.

Discover the best way to water your garden during our dry summers. Designing an irrigation system can be daunting, but this class will help you understand the drawbacks of overhead watering and how, instead, to use flow restrictors, manifolds, timers, soakers, connectors, and various types of emitters.

Below are resources to enhance your learning.

Bugs

  • Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Other Mini-Creatures in Your Garden — WSU Extension Publication EM067EE, a free 20-page download PDF, has numerous color photos of beneficial predatory bugs, with brief descriptions of their habits and life cycles.
  • Pollination & Protecting Bees and Other Pollinators, Garden — WSU Extension Publication FS174E,a free 9-page download PDFcovers the mechanics of pollination, the decline in honey bee populations, and ways to reduce pesticide hazards for bees.
  • Washington Bumble Bees in Home Yards & Gardens  — WSU Extension Publication FS263E, a free 8-page download PDF, helps readers recognize bumble bees, understand their general life cycle, and suggest things people can do to encourage these beneficial insects.
  • Lady Beetles: Should We Buy Them for our Gardens?  — WSU Extension Publication FS268E, a free 6-page download PDF, discusses the drawbacks to using purchased lady beetles and suggests some alternatives for attracting and retaining local species.
  • Pest Control in Home Vegetable Gardens — WSU Extension Publication EM009E, a free 7-page online publication, provides a list of vegetables, their common pests and registered pesticides, with cautions about environmental protection.
  • Row Covers  — WSU Snohomish County Extension, Community Horticulture Fact Sheet #19, is a 2-page online publication describing the confirmed benefits of row covers.
  • How to Install a Floating Row Cover — WSU Extension Publication FS089E, a free 3-page download PDF, describes the different types of row covers, how they protect crops, and how to install them.

Weeding

  • Hortsense  — WSU Extension website that weeds in Washington State and links them to webpages with color photos of the weed and a description of the biology, habitat, non-chemical and chemical management options and IPM.
  • PNW Weed Management Handbook  — a PNW Extension Publication. If you know the name of a weed, you can search this online handbook for chemical options for control. However, not all chemicals recommended are available for sale to home gardeners.
  • Organic Pest & Disease Management in Home Fruit Trees & Berry Bushes — WSU Extension Publication EM066E, a free 29-page download PDF provides PNW gardeners with an organic approach to keep their homegrown tree fruit and berries pest free.

Watering

  • WateringHome Gardens and Landscape Plants — WSU Extension Publication EB1090, a free 6-page online publication, covers best practices for watering plants and strategies for conserving water.
  • Drip Irrigation for the Yard & Garden  — WSU Extension Publication FS030E, a free 6-page online publication, provides an overview of drip irrigation systems, including the benefits and costs, the various components, and the basics of design and operation of such systems.

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