If tomato leaves start disappearing, look beneath remaining foliage for a large green caterpillar, the tomato hornworm. Handpick worms and drop into soapy water, or squish them. Hornworms covered with white tic tac-looking things have been issued a death sentence. The tic tacs are cocoons of a predatory wasp. Let the cocoons hatch, and your garden will be filled with tiny, non-stinging wasps that feast on pests.
Japanese beetles love to feast on dying flowers and overripe fruit. Remove spent flower blossoms and ripe fruits from the garden. Bump adult beetles into soapy water, where they'll die. Don't hang Japanese beetle traps: If you do, you run the risk of attracting more beetles than you already have.
When the leaves of cabbage family crops (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts) become riddled with holes, caterpillars are likely the culprit. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a bacterium, provides natural caterpillar control. When a caterpillar bites into a leaf coated with Bt, the bacteria enters the worm�s gut, eventually eating the caterpillar from the inside out.
Add a birdbath and birdhouse to attract birds to your garden. Birds provide natural insect control, eating the pests that bug your plants.
Continued on page 5: July Lawn Care