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What type of pest control is safe for using on plants without harming fish?

I have lots of red and green "bugs" on tomato plants and am wanting some help for pest control in my beds without harming my catfish and blue gill.  Anybody out there with results that work?

 

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 being a organic farmer in Israel this is what we use/

for white fly 1 cup of tomato leaves chopped up   left to cure in 1 lit of warm water for 24 hours. then spray.

for Afords 1 cup of garlic     same above .  you can mix them with a teaspoon of washing up liquid   works all the time.

They also make a garlic based spray. I haven't used it but am going to try and make my own. The ingredients are 95% water.

 

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James Casey Brown said:
I just use a shop vac and ladybugs.It get all of them and no harm to plants or fish its work really well

I just use a shop vac and ladybugs for pest control .no harm to plants or fish .it works really well .

Hi Converse,

Can you use worm bed leachings with the same process (ie using molasses etc)? Would it have the same effect?

Converse said:

If you have access to worm castings you can make a simple Brewed Worm casting Tea that will rid you of your insect pest problem and is safe to use in your aquaponics system.  Just take 2/3 cup of worm castings (the castings, not worm compost) and add that to 1 gallon of non-chlorinated water.  Add 1-2 tbsp of table sugar or molasses.  Put an air stone connected to a fish tank aerator in the container with this mixture ( the aerators are cheap at  WalMart ).  Aerate for 12-24 hrs. .  Do not tighten a lid on this mixture.  You are creating a microbial bloom, and if there is a closed lid on this, either the lid will blow off or the container will explode, as pressure will build.  Use this mixture as a foliar spray on your plants.  Cover all foliage top sides and bottm.  Not only will you get rid of your insect problem, but you will be adding a great dose of plant available nutrients. Use this mixture up within 18 hours of removing from the aerator.    Hope this helps.

Sincerely,

 Converse

 

     It seems I missed a frew questions...But the last one I did catch...

Using leachate from a composting bin, even a vermicompsoting bin is NEVER a good idea.  This is because there can be a host of bad bacteria present you really do not want to introduce to  soil, and definately you do not want in your AP system..  Why? Because partly deteriorated matter can host all types of microbes beneficial and non-beneficial.  Once all the matter in your vermicompsoting has been proessed through the gut of your composting worms, it is safe. This is not the case with the liquid that leaches through and exits your composting bin.  By the way, a properly maintained vermicomposting bin should have very little liquid leaching out of the bin, except when it is first being established, or unless you are feeding pulped matter or very squishy-type food matters.

    The process of adding molasses and aerating worm castings to make 'brewed worm casting tea" is good in that the molasses acts as food for the beneficial microbial population in the castings, allowing them to exponentially multiply.  If you do this with leachate, you run a huge risk of growing bad bacteria exponentially too.  

  There are those who also make a compost tea, out of traditionally composted matter (as in not vermicomposted , but accomplished  in a traditional thermophyllic compost pile).  As long as the matter has been carefully hot composted the risk is minimized.

    I do not recommend using the leachate from any vermicomposting bin.  Most of us out in the vermiculture world are trying to get the word out to the world about this.  It does not help that some of the commercial vermicomposting bins (even expensive ones) have spigots on a catch basin at the bottom of theset-up.  The instructions with these systems often incorrectly call this stuff "worm tea" or "worm casting tea" which it is not, it is properly called leachate, and 'is only for for a weed patch you do not care about.

 

  I hope this information is helpful.

 

- Converse

  About  to get rid of bugs:

  Someone already gave a great answer to this query on this thread! Great info and resource to look up too. I wanted to add just a littel bit of information too.  If you look online at the Ohio State Univ. Soil Lab website they have a host of infomation about the using and effect of worm casting tea on insects and disease maladies in plants.  They do extensive research.  This information is great and the good thing is that I have personally seen the benefits replicated in our clients gardens as well.

   Besides the infomation a prior post contained, which I will not repeat, I wanted  to address the reason why castings also work to get rid of hard bodied insects.  The worm castings contain chitnase, which is an enzyme.  It attacks the bodies of insects which are comprised of chitin.  The insects leave or die. This works on ahipds, spider mites, etc...But the brewed worm casting tea also works to rid of tomato horm worms, etc..It will stop maladies like powdery mildew, damping offf and black spot  (a prior post by someone else contained an excellent description of why this works).

 

- Converse

Thanks for the information. do you have your own commercial facility? I have interest in getting into a small business. Which is the best way to collect worm castings without potentially picking up bad bacteria or unprocessed compost (eg coffee grounds)?

Is there a way to reverse any potential harmful bacteria if leachates were already used in house plants/garden plants etc?


Converse said:

 

     It seems I missed a frew questions...But the last one I did catch...

Using leachate from a composting bin, even a vermicompsoting bin is NEVER a good idea.  This is because there can be a host of bad bacteria present you really do not want to introduce to  soil, and definately you do not want in your AP system..  Why? Because partly deteriorated matter can host all types of microbes beneficial and non-beneficial.  Once all the matter in your vermicompsoting has been proessed through the gut of your composting worms, it is safe. This is not the case with the liquid that leaches through and exits your composting bin.  By the way, a properly maintained vermicomposting bin should have very little liquid leaching out of the bin, except when it is first being established, or unless you are feeding pulped matter or very squishy-type food matters.

    The process of adding molasses and aerating worm castings to make 'brewed worm casting tea" is good in that the molasses acts as food for the beneficial microbial population in the castings, allowing them to exponentially multiply.  If you do this with leachate, you run a huge risk of growing bad bacteria exponentially too.  

  There are those who also make a compost tea, out of traditionally composted matter (as in not vermicomposted , but accomplished  in a traditional thermophyllic compost pile).  As long as the matter has been carefully hot composted the risk is minimized.

    I do not recommend using the leachate from any vermicomposting bin.  Most of us out in the vermiculture world are trying to get the word out to the world about this.  It does not help that some of the commercial vermicomposting bins (even expensive ones) have spigots on a catch basin at the bottom of theset-up.  The instructions with these systems often incorrectly call this stuff "worm tea" or "worm casting tea" which it is not, it is properly called leachate, and 'is only for for a weed patch you do not care about.

 

  I hope this information is helpful.

 

- Converse

  I realize this is a bit off the subject that the original question posed in this thread...I'd no intentions of running away with the thread...Worm casting tea made form worm castings though really are great for getting rid of insect pests, and are safe to use around AP systems and ponds.  

 The best way to be sure you are not starting out with a 'bad' bacteria is to first heat treat the matter you are feeding your redworms.  This can be done on a large scale in a hot compost pile, or on a small scale in your oven. If your main product to market is going to be worm castings this is not a bad practice, but not inexpensive.   Back to the "bad bacteria" issue" However research shows that if you allow all the matter to be processed through the gut of the redworms, they will kill the pathogenic organisms, etc.. The way most vermicomposting is done successfully commercially is by making sure that the matter is run through a bed of redworms more than once ensureing that all the matter has been consumed by the redworms.  This is your best 'insurance'. ...You will need to check your state regulations as to how you can market worm castings.  Also you may run into labeling issues and need to do testing...meaning you have to have a constant formula in your feed make-up for the redworms so the nutrients in the worm castings are always the same. As I said though, this depends on your state, and how you can market your castings. 

    You can buy worm castings that have been heat treated.There will be no bacterial issues with these.  These are a fantastic fertilizer, but as far as the beneficial microbial population that is the hallmark of worm castings goes, if the castings are in any sealed container or if they have been heat treated, then the stuff has no benefit other than as a fetilizer, and a soil texture conditioner.  The microbial population will be dead, both the beneficial and the bad.  This is also the case with any sealed bottle of "worm Castings Tea" found on the commercial market.   This is why we only work with freshly brewed worm casting tea.  Our clients know they are getting a valuable product that will work. Our worm castings are never put in air tight packaging.

 

  If you look online you can find plans for making a small scale separator out of a 5 gallon bucket cut in half and 1/4 inch hardware cloth as the main compontents.  Since we operate on a large scale we have something similar made out of metal materials and much, much larger.  These are called worm separators.  For anyone starting out, I recommend using a window screen.  Just run your matter out of your vermicomposting bin across a window screen. YOu'll have to create the sifting action.  The castings will fall through but uncomposted matter, worm cocoons and redworms will not go through the screen. 

   Be sure to clean your separator and any equipment used in brewing worm casting tea.  You want to avoid the chance of bacterial buildup that can bloom unwanted bacteria in your worm casting tea in future batches...  We brew it in 55 gallon sized barrel batches; and yes, I go right into the barrel and scrub it clean after each batch.  Of course this is easier if you are brewing in a jar making small batches at home.

   How to get the bad bacteria out of your soil if you already used it on plants?   At this point, unless you have noticed an unhealthy reaction to what you have already put on your plants, I would not worry about what has been already done.  There is no turning back the clock on that one.  Just move forward operating more cautiously.  If you really want to start fresh, remove the soil from the house plants and start over with new planting medium. 

  And yes, we have a decently large operation for a family-run farm.  It is not fancy. Redworms do not care what it looks like, but just that their needs are met. 

   Hopefully this is of some help to you.

 

- Converse

 

 

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