You might be a gardener if…you’re out spraying neem on your plants at 10:30pm on a saturday night in your slippers! At least i’ll give the neighbors something to talk about. The silverleaf whitefly (kale and brussels sprouts) and spider mites (string beans) are seriously on the job, which means (besides dropping the ball already), i too must be on the job. I’ve been mixing 1 teaspoon 70% neem oil in a 16 ounce spray bottle: be sure to get it on the underside of the leaves where the bugs live.
Why am i spraying at night?? A few reasons, the main one being that neem oil can burn coated leaves that are exposed to full hot sun. Also, the flies are tucked in for the night, making them easier targets. My plan is to spray at night, rinse it off in the morning before the sun gets hot. It seems to be working very well so far: after 1 night of doing this, they’re at least 2/3rds gone.
A few lessons learned for next year: aphids like it cool and damp, get the cabbage fly eggs early, and whitefly and mites prefer hot and dry. This way, hopefully i can stay a step ahead of the bugs. A baby step, but at least its a start! Now that the bugs are somewhat under control, i might try releasing some beneficial bugs (lacewings, lady bugs etc.) to join in the fight.