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Thread: Root Maggot Help

  1. #1
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    Default Root Maggot Help

    I have a major problem with root maggots in my radishes and turnips this year. Being my second year gardening, and first time trying root vegetables, I am at a loss with what to do. Does anyone have any advice for dealing with them? I am trying to keep the garden as natural as possible, so any organic solutions would be appreciated but I am not completely opposed to chemicals. I appreciate any advice given!

  2. #2
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    If you burn wood save some ashes and apply them to the dirt around the plants when they are dry. Or completely cover with a row cover. Make sure there are no holes.

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    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    I also second the sprinkle of wood ashes, it works wonders! You can poke a few shallow pencil thin holes a few inches from and around your plants and it will also soak into the soil more once it rains or you water.

    There are some maggot resistant variety of turnips available and I also tend to grow more french breakfast radishes rather than the scarlet globe or cherry red. Not sure why, but the maggots do not like those as much.

    Good luck.
    Grandma Lori
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

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    mixing crushed limestone with the wood ash is a good idea to stretch it out and keep it from washing off the top of the soil as fast, and you should probably be liming more anyways. Not a good idea to add too much wood ash to any one spot, so the lime helps dilute it. And don't add it to potatoes unless you know your pH.

    best bet for turnips/radishes is to

    A. Grow many more than you expect to harvest, though keep proper spacing

    B. Cover your prized crops with reemay or similar material AS SOON AS YOU PLANT. Stuff is expensive but reusable and you can purchase a fairly small amount. Can google how to use it as a "row cover", and you want it to be tight to the ground. Also, you will likely have to open it every day or twoand shoo out a few flies occasionally.

    C. Key to longer term root maggot control is in spring to repeatedly (every week or so) plant "bait" radishes (those quick growing little red ones) in a semi-isolated spot, leaving them uncovered, allowing flies to land on these inside of your prized crops, laying their eggs, and then you come till each small patch every few days (don't let them get very big). Repeatedly tilling the area keeps the maggots from developing as they need growing roots to thrive.

    Ah, the wonderful thing about plants. They're much easier on the conscience to sacrifice.



    Also, I am regularly sprinkling DE (diatomaceous earth) on the surface of beds where i have crops that slugs like. I use it for the slugs but have read that it helps with flies. As soon is the bed is made/tilled for the year sprinkle it liberally on the surface. Won't harm below ground bug life but will keep the surface critters in check, which are most of the pesky ones.

  5. #5
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Try a heavy dose of predatory nematodes.

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    Thanks for the tips! I'm gonna give the wood ash a try to see if it can help my problem.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_dog60 View Post
    Try a heavy dose of predatory nematodes.
    I had found a place on-line that sells nematodes, but in real tiny fine print they don't ship to AK or HI
    do you have a source for them in Anchorage or out here in the valley...????

  8. #8
    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    I just spread some wood ashes over the onions.
    I had a few wilting as the root maggots attacked, & noticed several flies very interested in the onion patch.
    Sure hope it works.
    Was thinking of pulling the ones that got infested & pouring boiling water in the hole,
    read that helps kill the little suckers so they don't move to adjacent roots??.

  9. #9
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    I had found a place on-line that sells nematodes, but in real tiny fine print they don't ship to AK or HI
    do you have a source for them in Anchorage or out here in the valley...????
    A friend just got some on Wasilla. Too late to call him tonight.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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