[Market-farming] Diatomaceous Earth and Moisture

Shawnee Flowerfarmer farmingflowers at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 7 18:56:11 EDT 2011

This season, I've been using a diatomaceous earth for crawling insects (OMRI approved) to control all the cucurbit creeps.  (I have used a food grade DE in the past also...cheaper from the feed store but not OMRI approved brand))  I'd rather not use it but the vine borers have been awful.  I've kept the base and new growth dusted since transplanting at the end of May.  About 10% losses so far-I can live with that.  I am hand dusting a relatively small patch (1/4 acre) after every rain or heavy dew....could be tricky for a commercial size.  It has been very humid here also, but I'm only reapplying when rain causes the white powder to "disappear".  Observed the vine borer moth unable or reluctant to lay eggs on the dusted stems.  Have had some squash bugs and lots of eggs, but minimal damage. DE has also helped with Flea beetles on eggplant which I usually never have this late.

Shawnee, zone 5

Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2011 06:28:26 -0400
From: allan.balliett at gmail.com
To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [Market-farming] Diatomaceous Earth and Moisture


I'm having the worst outbreak of squash bugs I've ever had (or heard of, really) 

In the 100+ weather with very high humidity, I've hesitated to use row covers over late plantings of cukes and squash.

I've lost several of these plantings to hordes of squash bugs who suck the juices out of seedlings as soon as they emerge. 

I just read that a table spoon of diatomaceous earth around the seed hole will deal with squash bugs (or diatomaceous earth scattered around the base of mature plants, especially on plastic mulch) 

I've never really understood if diatomaceous earth can operate if it gets wet, which it would here in the high humidity. 

After being convinced that it was useless when damp, I learned about the sprays that actually contain DE, so I have to assume I'm wrong about this assumption.

But I'd like to hear about your experiences with DE in the field and, maybe, with squash bugs, before my next planting.

A planting is a terrible thing to waste


-Allan in WV

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