Sue’s PA Garden

Should I compost my garden now or is it too late. I am trying to clean it up for spring planting. My husband tilled the soil by hand as you recommend but he felt this year was one of the worst for our harvest. Cucumber beetles always seem to win.


  • Zoom Check-In

    WINS: Used the mushroom spores to make mycopesticide against lanternfly! Wow! How many gardeners can say that for themselves???

    • Planted the elderberries
    • San Marzano tomatoes
    • Peppers and Beets

    Peas & String Beans

    • Plant them in seed tray instead of putting them right in the ground
    • It's a bit more of a pain to start them indoors but you get more germination, faster germination and yield
    • Peas - you can start middle of March
    • Bush beans - you can start in flats mid to end of May
    • Arugula bolted and I got a second crop of them


    Not to kill the ones that we've planted.

    Clearing out the garden after the snow melts.

    Daikon radishes - just sprinkle

  • So good to hear from you Sue!!

    Yes, I feel like a mad scientist with you! I have never done it myself and honestly, when I opened the Botanigard that I sent you, I got all scared ran outside to make sure I wasn't putting the spores on any of the kids who were hovering around me.

    OK, I think just to be double-sure, put the killed lanternfly on a wet paper towel in a clean jar and sprinkle the Botanigard some more until it gets all fuzzy with it.

    You are cutting-edge, Sue!!! After this, you can give a webinar on mycopesticides for us, for other people to feel more confident they can do something about pests.

    See you on Zoom soon!

  • Hi Nicky and Dave,

    Thank you for the Botanigard. After our Zoom call I had ordered some on ebay from the same buyer you used. If you need more please let me know and I will send you some.

    I have two dead lantern flies each in a jar ( I found one and my daughter found the other) with some of the Botanigard. Do I put them on the wet paper towel now or am I suppose to wait until the spores form and then move them to a wet paper towel or can I put them on a wet paper towel and put the Botanigard on them since my are dead.

    Yes, this is very technical but your instructions and the video were helpful. I feel like we are "mad scientists" creating a killer insect.

    Thank you for the Elderberry plant too; that was very kind of you.

    We are getting our seeds started for spring planting and beginning to get in the swing of gardening again.

    We look forward to talking to you at our Zoom meeting this month.

    Take care and many Blessings to you and your family.


    Nicky Schauder
  • Zoom Check-In

    Troubleshooting the Spotted Lanternfly using Botanigard

    Some tips for nourishing the soil:

    • Add some more mulch, compost, topsoil and leaves (lasagna garden again)
    • Cover Crops that you can use to nourish your soil
    • Add mycorrhizal fungi

    LED lights that are grow lights. Please add here @David Schauder

    Dave's tips for growing tomatoes, eggplants and peppers

    • Start them indoors in late January and February
    • Put them outside towards the end of April
    • Use early variety tomatoes that require only 75 days to harvest
    • Make sure you fertilize the soil mid-season while the tomato fruits are forming. Calcium from crushed eggshells

    Carrots + Parsnip - scatter the seed on top of the soil. As long as their getting enough rain and moisture. Thin at 1-2 inches tall.

    We harvest when they are big enough.

  • Here's the link to the Planting Calendar which I would like for you to print out and bring to the Design Clinic tomorrow. The most important part is the calendar portion of it. So if you're like me and want to save on ink and paper, just print the calendar portion out.

    It is edited to reflect the average monthly temperatures in your zip code. So this one is unique to you, Sue.

    The plants you listed in the survey are the following:

    • Fig cuttings
    • Elderberry cuttings

    • Radishes
    • Carrots
    • Beets
    • Cucumbers
    • Peppers
    • Eggplant
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Cabbage
    • Leeks/Onions
    • Asparagus crowns
    • tomatoes
    • romaine
    • corn
    • strawberries,

  • Another way, using trees. But I think the video above is more effective.

  • Sue, please see this video

    Teen invents spotted lanternfly trap!

  • Update: Sue I found a cheaper source for a small quantity of Beauvaria on Ebay. I just ordered and will let you know if they are a good source.

  • edited August 2020

    Hi Sue!

    Yes, we are seeing some baby lantern flies in our yard these days. I am so glad to hear from you because I was just about to reach out.

    OK, I am going to try to invest in the Beauvaria (Botanigard) this year and see if I can catch some lanternflies (right now they are tiny) so we can "train" these mushrooms to attack them. Beauvaria are a strain of mushrooms that essentially mummify whatever it is that they are "trained" to eat. Basically, we will train them. Here is a video from Trad Cotter who has done this himself.

    At about 3:20 he tries to explain (super quickly) how he isolates the strain of Beauvaria that will attack ONLY the insects you want them to attack.

    1. Buy Botanigard (Beauvaria bassinia) - It is pricey starting at $85. That is why I've been hesitant to buy it myself. But I'll do it so I can do the research and help anyone you and anyone else with this problem in the future.
    2. Find a spotted lanternfly, dead or alive. (If it's alive, you can watch the Botanigard kill it in a jar)
    3. Apply the Botanigard to the jar.
    4. Now not all the beauvaria are going to kill the lanternfly. Only about 2% will kill them. Those 2% will be on the lanternfly and mummify it.
    5. Put the infected lanternfly on a wet paper towel and into another jar. This process helps create "conidia" (infectious spores that will attack specifically the lanternfly) Get them really white and fluffy all covered in the spores of that mushroom.
    6. Take the infected laternfly with paper towel and all white fuzzy stuff, and put it in a blender. Spray that slurry only from the blender and spray that on your plants.

    I'm sorry this sounds so techy Sue. Using the Botanigard alone without the slurry of infected lanterfly would only be 2% effective. Use the same rate of solution on the Botanigard label with the solution when you create your slurry. Trad Cotter in the video says that he's experienced 4 years of deterrence after a year of spray of his entomopathogenic spray.

    I hope that you might be brave enough to do this too. I'm so sorry again that you had this problem and wish I could have done this research sooner.

    FInally, here are other natural predators and pictures of the predators eating the spotted lanternfly from Cornell University.

    Dave has asked me to include that although this is an emergency situation, the danger would be to neglect studying more holistic approaches to dealing with this infestation if lanterflies are here to stay. If they are, then they will develop natural predators. What eats them in Asia, where they come from? What is their life cycle. Next year, what can we do to be prepared?

  • Hi Nicky,

    We had our friend spray Neem on the grapevines where the lantern flies appear to congratulate but it doesn’t appear to kill or deter them at least not many. Len has been picking them off by hand and killing them. The grapes still look good and beginning to turn color but not sure if damage has been done. We find them in our house. I have had about 6 in our bedroom. Those buggers are fast.

    Thank you for the information and I will check it out. Len has killed approximately 300-400 of the adults and another couple hundred of the nymphs. Len also used the organic pesticide Ziva for wasps on them but they still keep coming.

    Take care,


  • Hi Sue,

    I've done some research to see if I can find something immediate to help you with the lanternflies that is organic. The Beauveria bassiana that Nicky mentioned on the call has actually been tested against lanternflies in PA with some good results, so I've linked in the article with the research.

    It's a bit hard to find cheaply; I've found a link with a reasonable price here, but not sure how good the company is.

    Apparently, the spotted lanternflies target the sap of fruit trees and grape vines, so they don't really target the leaves. The problem is when they pierce the stems, sticky sap pours out that then attracts other insects and fungi that cause real problems for the fruit trees and grape vines.

    They only mate once per year, and their cocoons look a bit like wasp nests. Unfortunately they can place their nests anywhere, under furniture or on metal or plastic surfaces. I think neem can be effective as well, but it looks like you definitely want to try to control them in the nymph stage.

    I hope this information helps; they were first spotted in 2014 in Pennsylvania so there isn't a lot of research on natural predators or organic alternatives aside from the beauvaria fungus. Definitely please let us know how it goes.

    Nicky Schauder
  • Zoom Check-In 6/24

    Arugula Bolted -

    Spotted lantern flies - Neem Oil still. We will add here in a day or 2. Thank you Sue!!!

    Everything is growing great in the garden!

  • my arugula bolted. I am still harvesting; will it start growing again in cooler weather?

  • our grape vines are being over run with the spotted lantern flies. We sprayed Neem but not sure if working.

  • edited May 2020

    Zoom Check-In 5/19

    Arugula is ready to harvest
    Romaine is doing well but afraid of bolting
    Sweet potato yams in a barrel - planted them deep

    Pull up the radishes now. You can pick one of them as a test case. Usually, you can see them push up the soil
    Beets are cluster seeds. They can grow through the summer and you are waiting for them to get to a harvestable size. You can tell by the amount of leaf they are producing. You can use the leaves of the beets as a spinach alternative. It takes longer for beets to get ready than radishes. If you are starting to see seedlings now it might not be until July/August till you harvest them
    Sweet Potato
    Snip off the "slips" and plant these "buds" in the ground. It doesn't need to be deep.
    Put them in the hottest part of your garden
    The longer you wait, the more sweet potatoes you can get. So as soon as there's a light frost, that's when we start harvesting. It's a fall crop.
    How many of the seedlings should we plant? You only need 4-5 slips in a raised bed.
    You can also eat the leaves

    3 Raised beds
    8 X 10

    Radishes + lettuce + beets
    tomatoes + peppers
    Rhubarb (spring) + strawberries + sweet potatoes (summer)

    Nicky's HW: Send rhubarb seeds to Sue

    GOAL: Keeping the weeds down... Maintain the garden!

    Kayolin Clay -
    For pests - we use Neem Oil ( or

    Kayolin clay that you spray on your fruit

    You can use a hand pump that looks like this


    bugs #rhubarb #beets #strawberries

  • Zoom Check-In 3/25/20

    Wondering where their strawberries in the yard are coming from. - Wild strawberries
    Recommend pulling them out before planting your good strawberries.
    How far apart should you put each strawberry plant - put them 6-12 inches and stagger them if you have enough space for two rows
    Topsy turvy and cover the strawberries with mason jars

  • Zoom Check-In Call

    Viability of Seeds

    Winter Radish:
    Daikon (end of fall)

    Spring Radishes:
    French Breakfast Radish

    Put in the Arugula and the Lettuce outside and maybe spinach, strawberries
    Start the peppers indoors and maybe some eggplants

  • edited January 2020

    20 ft X 16 ft garden
    Apple Tree
    Pear Tree (some shade problems)
    Blueberry bush (time to prune)
    Raspberry bush (time to prune)

    Try raised beds this year
    3 raised beds

    (3) 8 ft X 4 ft beds

    More shaded space
    Wanted to put more strawberries in as a border on the outside of the garden
    Select June-bearing strawberries instead of Ever-bearing strawberries because June-bearers tend to propagate themselves more. The Ever-bearing puts more energy into fruiting than propagating.

    Dave's Link - Grow Organic
    Varieties: Eclair - spreads out and very sweet

    Lettuce and arugula on the 16 ft side
    Aquarium with basil and oregano

    Put in the Arugula and the Lettuce outside and maybe spinach, strawberries
    Start the peppers indoors and maybe some eggplants

    To break up the soil more:

    Please add Mycorrhizal fungi



  • Zoom Check-In Call

    What you currently grow:
    Cucumber - problem with beetles,

    Dave will write a few more things about dealing with cucumbers.
    Kaolin Klay is what he recommends as an addition to keep the cucumber beetles away

    (Instead grow the Tromboncino rampicante)

    Goals for next month:

    **Design Course - plan out your raised beds & what you will be planting

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