Flea Beetles and Homegrown Pineapple
By Reader Tips
Keep flea beetles away from eggplant using wood ashes and regrow a pineapple by peeling off the bottom leaves to find small roots.
Flea Beetles Be Gone
I love eating eggplant, and I’ve been trying to grow the plants for years. I’ve tried all the suggested ways to prevent flea beetles, from growing catnip alongside the plants, to spraying the plants with soapy water, to watering them with hot pepper water. I’ve also tried neem oil, diatomaceous earth, and reflective foil. Nothing worked!
This year, someone suggested I try wood ashes. I heat with wood and have a lot of wood ash, so I sprinkled it around my baby eggplants and dusted it on the leaves. I did this each time I saw new leaf growth or after a rain. I continued a regular application of wood ash until I saw fruit starting to form. After that, I just kept my eye on the plants and sprinkled more ashes as needed.
It worked wonderfully! I didn’t find a single flea beetle or other plant-chomping insect on any of my eggplants, even though I saw them on nearby weed-like plants. This is the first time in my gardening experience that I’ve had beautiful, 3-foot-tall eggplants loaded with lots of fruit and bunches of flowers.
You can grow your own pineapple plant at home from a fresh, ripe pineapple. Cut off the top of the pineapple, close to the crown. Cut away any remaining rind and fruit. Carefully cut away the stem until you see brown spots, indicating unformed roots. Wearing gloves, peel off a few of the short bottom leaves until 1-1/2 inches of stem is bare. Let the stem dry for one day to seal the end. Then, fill an 8-inch container with soil to within 1/2 inch of the top.
Plant the pineapple top so the stem is covered with soil. Firm the earth around the stem. Keep the pot in a sunny spot, and water to keep the soil lightly moist. New leaves will begin growing once the plant is well-established. At that point, transplant the pineapple to a larger pot. It can take a while, at least a year, but the plant should eventually fruit. Otherwise, it’ll make an attractive houseplant.
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