This simple ingredient saved one crop and destroyed the other

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Brock Ingham
Brock Ingham
Bar of castile soap

To give you a little bit of a back story, I got this bar of gardening soap as a gift a few months ago. It’s right up my alley as far as gifts go but I tend to wait until I go inside to wash my hands after my gardening adventures are done or the day.

It’s basically a mix match of castile soap bars with essential oils, perfect for keeping garden pests at bay. So when I noticed my sad looking cucumber plants were covered in bit marks I know it was time to pull out the pest control.

I placed little 1×1 shavings of this soap around the root base of each cucumber plant.  A few days later he pest were gone and my plants were healthier than ever.

This isn’t the fit time I’ve used this gardening trick but I may think twice after my recent experience. 

purple corn

What worked well for the cucumber beetle spelled disaster for the earwigs in my garden. Like I mentioned in my last pest control post, I’m eagerly waiting for a new type of purple corn to grow husks. It grows a deep shade of purple cereals that I know my kids will get a real kick out of seeing. Most colorful corn is grown ornamentally or for drying popping, so when I found a variety that tasted good cooked, I jumped on the chance to try growing corn again (the last time was unsuccessful). 

Overall it had been an easy grow so far, direct sown seeds in a small 4×4 bed.I was even able to shift some around to empty spots that didn’t sprout. That was until they became infested with earwigs.

I’m talking 6-8 of them living in each stalk with a round of offspring ready to hatch.  

Seeing that castile soap works pretty well on most bugs, I diluted some in a cup of water and poured it into the nest of the 4 most effected plants.

Garden pest

Barely 8 hours later and one stalk was snapped in half. I’m still not quite sure how this happened but at the time I chalked it up to a squirrel  or other small animal climbing the stalk and it snapping under the weight of whatever was climbing it.

Annoyed, I continued on with my day thinking nothing else of it. The next morning I looked out my window and noticed some of the stalks were slanting.

Taking a closer look at them, all 4 of the treated corn stalks that remained were bending away from the middle point at nearly a 45 degree angle

Bent corn

Clearly the soapy water had this impact since the ones in the back that hadn’t been treated were unaffected.

I learned a valuable lesson this day. What works well for some plants may be the downfall of others.

Thankfully I tested my idea before applying to the entire crop. At least this way I learned something new and have some corn to speak of. (for now)

purple corn stalks

As for the pesky earwigs, they seem on alert but largely unaffected.

Since I have a few “test subjects” I’m going to try a few more concoctions to see what sticks. The last thing I want is this colony to make it rounds to other more healthy plants.

I’ve heard that neem oil can break the reproductive cycle so I’ll give that a shot next. Keep an eye out for an update. If you’ve had a similar experience with something in your garden that worked great one time and failed the next time let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Till text time!

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