Using grow cloth in the garden

20130315-061440.jpg It is time to revisit the topic of whiteflies. At the beginning of the season we were overwhelmed with whiteflies. We used soap to try and deter them because it is the gentlest pesticide I know of. You can read about that struggle here . It didn't really work. They managed to destroy multiple plantings of tomatoes and green beans. However I'm happy to report that things are looking up! We have a two-pronged strategy: grow cloth to keep them out of very sensitive crops (green beans and an experimental tomato tunnel), and neem sprayed on everything else. Ok, I know I really knocked neem back in my November post, but after talking to Kathy, our local Gardening Guru , it may not be as harmful as I thought. Kathy says that industrially produced neem doesn't break down as quickly as the organic stuff. That means the neem pesticide we make ourselves won't kill as many beneficial predators as I assumed. At any rate, the plants are happy! They are so green and glowing after our frequent neem sprayings, I'm starting to wonder if they are also being fertilized by the minerals in the neem! Our green beans and tomatoes under grow cloth are beautiful and the tunneled tomatoes have set fruit before the control group (no grow cloth, but did receive neem sprayings). You can see here that the beans under the tunnel are much taller than the beans in front. The uncovered beans are still disease-free, most likely due to neem spraying. 20130313-173857.jpg