Annual Vegetables, Pest Control, Sustainable

Experiment: Displacing Rootknot Nematodes

My primary vegetable bed has a Rootknot Nematode problem. They destroyed my fall harvest of tomatoes and peppers by attacking the plants’ roots.

Thanks to some stellar advice online, I will not be solarizing the soil to kill them, along all the beneficial organisms. Instead, I’m going to displace them using helpful plants (hopefully).

Vegetable bed

Here’s the plan:

1. No tomatoes or peppers in this bed this year. That’s what they attacked with vengeance in the fall and I am removing their favorite food supply.

2. I’m planting lots of leafy greens, especially Broadleaf Mustard. They are high in oxalic acid which harms nematode eggs and suppresses the population.

3. I’m adding Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Red Acre Cabbage. Something chemical in brassica plants has a toxic effect on nematodes. Admittedly I don’t fully understand the mechanism but I’ll give it a shot.

4. Marigolds finish the trap. Marigolds attract nematodes, which enter the roots but then get trapped. They can’t grow or escape, and the marigolds will eventually kill them.

It’s all planted. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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