ask-tom-pictureDear Tom,

Help! Flea Beetles are eating my precious lettuces!

-Barbara (NC)

Barbara – The key to flea beetles is to outgrow them. I’ve never seen them on lettuce but they love cole crops and eggplant. The plants are usually most at risk when they are young.

One strategy would be to plant bok choi and then spray the beetles with Pyganic when they move to the trap crop. Another would be to dunk the crop in Surround before you plant it. Surround is a clay material that confuses the sensors in their feet. That might help them get past the young sensitive stage.

With all the rain this spring, my lettuce is growing slowly so you might try a side dressing of compost or fertilizer to help your plants outgrow the little hoppers. Good luck.

— Tom

Ask Tom © 2013 Tom Elmore & Organic Growers School

Tom Elmore

Tom Elmore

Tom Elmore is co-owner and operator of Thatchmore Farm in Leicester NC. He has grown certified organic fruits and vegetables for 25 years and serves on the Boards of the NC Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association and the Organic Growers School.