Wireworms & Onion root maggots

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rosbeal
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Wireworms & Onion root maggots

Post by rosbeal »

This question is for Dan as we noticed in your introductory videos last year that your farm has had much success with growing onions. We have been challenged in growing onions in the past 3 threes because of pests such as the onion root maggots. The maggot eats the roots, the bulb will bolt and the bulb will rot even if it hasn't already tried to go to seed. Here is what we have tried:
1) Crop rotation - not planting these in the same bed every year. We have a number of raised beds and we have been putting the veggies on a 3 year rotation between these beds.
2) Bulbs - rather than seeds, we planted starter bulbs from either Westcoast seeds or Home Depot (when the first was sold out).
3) Crop cover - we covered our onion beds with cloth cover

All of the above failed to address the issue. We really need help if we are to continue to grow these veggies.
Danoost
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Re: Wireworms & Onion root maggots

Post by Danoost »

Without visiting your farm it's difficult to know exactly why you're having these pest challenges. What I can say is that pests thrive in anaerobic soil conditions (soils that are starved of oxygen). The first thing I would look at is drainage.

Can you dig down in the areas where you've planted onions. If you dig into hard, compacted soils that smell sickly, you'll know that this is the source of your problems.

Respond to this by showing a picture of the soil profile with as detailed an explanation of soil smell, texture, color. In other words, describe the soil using your senses.

Resorting to crop covers to deal with pests is a band aid solution. We need to get at the heart of the problem and I can assure that the issue is related to soil.
rosbeal
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Re: Wireworms & Onion root maggots

Post by rosbeal »

Thank you for your thoughts Dan. We just transplanted our seedling onions and leeks. Our first carrots are also making an appearance. Further to your comments. We have raised beds that are 18 inches above the ground. The soil is not compacted as it is never walked on. In the fall we cover our beds with mulched leaves. In the springtime we typically top dress the soil of each bed with either mushroom compost or our yard compost. We believe that after the many years of this practice we have a loamy soil.The soil does not smell. Even though we live in Richmond (we've below sea-level) the raised beds do drain. We believe that after the many years of this practice we have a dark loamy soil. We have practiced crop rotation but the onion root maggots still find our plants and destroy most of them.
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