Thursday, May 26, 2011

Using diatomaceous earth in the garden

No, this is not frost on my green beans but diatomaceous earth. I am trying to protect my beans from insects, particularly Japanese beetles. We always seem to have a problem with these beetles and according to what I have heard, diatomaceous earth is very effective as a natural insecticide. We also had a problem with bean beetles and this natural substance is suppose to help protect plants from all crawling insects.

Crawling bugs just don't like the way it feels and will go elsewhere for a meal. Apparently, it also works like boric acid to dry up slugs and other insects. Some people use it in construction to preempt bugs crawling in walls, foundations or crawl spaces. It is evidently catching on because it is safer than boric acid and other insecticides.

I heard before that it is volcanic and I have also read that it is made from some kind of crustaceans that are mined and finely ground. It is very fine and also very powdery. I use a powder sprayer to apply it and it is still a messy job.


Interestingly, when I was purchasing my bag of diatomaceous earth the other day, I asked if they had larger bulk bags and they said they did have it and wanted to know if I wanted the "food grade." Evidently people eat it because they feel it has health benefits and the food grade diatomaceous earth is safe for people and animals. Some use it as a safe pet-de-wormer. I was blown away when I read that. It can also be used to control ticks and fleas.

I didn't buy the food grade kind but I am a little awed that something that can kill insects in the garden can also benefit animals and humans.

So far, it has been very good and it is something that will wash off of vegetables and is not harmful to boot. I don't know if this is the best answer for organic vegetable gardening but it is nice when you find something that is safe and also helps get rid of pesky bugs that eat your food. If it is effective as I hear it is, I think it will really help in my garden this year.

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