The tiny white worms that eat out the tunnels in the roots of radishes, turnips, and other root crops are the larvae of the cabbage fly.
The insect outwardly resembles an ordinary housefly, only half its size. Larvae reach about 0.8 centimeters before becoming adults.
As soon as they settled in the garden, to drive away oh how difficult. So it is better not to let the pest into the beds initially than to risk losing part of the radish crop later.
Adult cabbage flies are attracted to moist soil, which is rich in organic matter such as manure or humus.
Female pests lay eggs in the ground near seedlings, from which larvae will hatch soon. They feed on the juicy pulp of root crops for three to five weeks, after which they are transformed into pupae.
In two to three weeks, adult flies are born from them. However, pupae can remain in the soil all winter to wake up in the spring and repeat the cycle described.
To prevent the appearance of worms in the radish, observe the following conditions:
- grow radish every year in a new place;
- fertilize the soil on a bed with a crop with only three-year compost;
- regularly remove plant tops, weeds and other organics from the site;
- periodically sprinkle radish sprouts with quicklime or wood ash;
- dust the soil around the plants at a distance of 4-5 centimeters from them with a mixture of naphthalene and ash (1: 5) or tobacco dust mixed with an equal amount of garden soil or sand;
- dig the soil in the autumn on a site on 1-1,5 bayonets of a shovel;
- keep the bed under a light non-woven fabric for the entire period the radish plants are on the bed – this will effectively limit the fly’s access to the soil where it makes its oviposition;
- place yellow basins with soapy or oily water near the bed. It is believed that cabbage flies are attracted to yellow, that is, they fly on it, fall into a water trap and drown.
Another super effective way to prevent radish damage from intolerable worms is to plant vegetables together. Let’s consider some of the most interesting options.
- Garlic + radish. Garlic is planted four to six weeks before the onset of the first serious frost, or two to three weeks before sowing radish seeds. The teeth are placed at a distance of 10 – 15 centimeters from one another with a row spacing of 60 centimeters. Radish is sown in grooves made in the center of the rows of garlic.
- Mint, rosemary, sage + radish. These perennial weeds are planted on a bed set aside for cultivating radishes, 1-2 weeks before sowing. At the same time, mint bushes are dug into the spaces between rows directly in pots (about 25 centimeters high), having previously cut off the bottom of them – this will prevent the further undesirable spread of mint in the area. In general, these plants have the properties of a repellent and make the fly stay away from the garden with a radish.
- Marigolds + radish. The smell of these unpretentious flowers is also not liked by many insects. In the southern regions, marigolds are grown as perennials, but to the north, the plant freezes in the winter. Marigold seeds are sown in spring on a bed with a radish a few weeks before sowing. The row spacing, in this case, depends on what sort of marigold you purchased. Some species grow only up to 15-30 centimeters, while others can reach up to 90 centimeters in height.
But if nevertheless worms attacked your radish and most of it turned out to be spoiled, immediately remove the damaged plants from the garden and burn them. Avoid laying their tops in compost, since the pupae of the cabbage fly successfully winter in it and return to the site next year.