The garden and the inhabitants

When we decide to equip our home with a garden, we not only choose to have a piece of nature all to ourselves, trying to take care of it as a hobby but also wishing to receive in return that serenity that only nature can give to the soul. human, but with that choice we do not create an ecosystem, and we become part of it. Admiring our garden we see: the plants, the benches, the fountain, the child, the stones, the plants and if we are lucky even some little birds; but behind all this there is more, much more. In fact, the garden contains perhaps millions of inhabitants, and we are not talking about the gardens of the Royal Palace of Caserta, because those “millions” refer not to human beings, but to other forms of life that are however very precious for survival in the correct balance of garden itself: they are insects, bacteria, tiny animals, fungi and everything that escapes our eyes but not the laws of Nature. Unfortunately, the relationship between the human being and some of these other “inhabitants” is not always happy and joyful, both because some of them disturb human peace directly (classically mosquitoes, or bees and wasps) and because others disturb in a way “Indirect”, but often annoying anyway.

Attacks on plants

Said of direct attacks such as stings and the like, which are resolved in a very short time with some ointment or even without, indirect attacks sometimes risk damaging much more important things, to the point of creating even serious economic imbalances. We refer to those interactions between plants and insects or fungi that see the plant itself succumb under the presence of the other two, which can both ruin the aesthetics of the plant and even lead it to death because they take possession of all the nutrients. Well, in the case of a garden this is certainly serious, because the aesthetic component of a garden is very important, but it is even more so if this happens in professional crops, where the harvest is the only good that the farm owns. If it gets lost, who will pay the company for the work? It is clear that neither insects nor fungi are aware of such scenarios, but they often cause small / large economic disasters, so we are studying how to limit the consequences of their “attacks” or how to avoid them altogether. The ways of combating these diseases can be divided into two large groups, those based on chemicals and those based on biology.

The cabbage

The vulgar and common name of this insect easily gives an idea of ​​which is the favorite and most frequent target of this insect: cauliflower. This is probably not public knowledge, but it is certain that our grandparents (most of whom have certainly spent at least the first part of their lives helping their families in the fields) know perfectly well what we are talking about. In reality, the scientific name of the cabbage is Pieris Brassicae and describes an insect that could very well be taken for a moth: it has a whitish or at most slightly gray color (depending on the period in which it was born and the sex) with black streaks at the top. in the males or two spots (one per wing) in the females, it flies gracefully and gracefully and is easy to meet even in uncultivated fields or open meadows. This is the adult form, but as often happens what creates the greatest damage is the larval state of the insects; with the cabbage this does not change: the larvae of the Pieris brassicae (very close cousin of the Pieris rapae, which infests turnips) are phytophagous, that is, they eat the leaves of the plant they infest – the cabbage – until leaving only the larger veins, and this it can make us understand how this prevents the plant from growing and bearing its fruits.

Cabbage: Struggle and remedies

The infestations of the cabbage can be diagnosed in various ways: first of all the adult form, as we have described, is very visible and recognizable, but above all, both the eggs and, subsequently, the larvae can be seen on the underside of the leaves of the plants under attack. in action. The eggs are small and light in color, usually in low numbers (up to a maximum of ten per leaf) and scattered individually, while the larvae are small vermicelli that eat the leaf by gnawing it to grow rapidly. The attacks occur in the period between March and November, because in these months there are two complete generations of cabbage. The remedy that can be implemented is of a chemical type when the infestation is massive, or when there is the presence of a large number of individuals on a small number of plants;

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