For example, the ichneumon, a small, harmless wasp, lays its eggs inside aphids. When the wasps hatch, they consume the aphids. In the meantime, though, they look like strange, white, bloated bugs on your tomato leaves. If you don't stop before you stomp, you might interrupt this beneficial parasitic arrangement.
Other insects cause only minimal damage, like the golden tortoise beetles on my sweet potatoes. They might make a few small holes in the leaves, but they won't do significant damage to a crop. You can enjoy their pretty golden carapaces without fear.
By identifying the insect before you go into attack mode, you'll learn how scared you should be (if at all), and what the appropriate controls are for that particular creature.
Take evasive measures. This is a multipronged approach:
Pick your battles wisely.
Kill crabgrass, then aerate
Charles Fleshman, of St. Albans, wants to know if he should kill his crabgrass before he aerates his lawn this fall. The answer? An emphatic yes -- get rid of that crabgrass before you do anything to encourage growth.
Davis Park benefit
The Kanawha Garden Club is hosting "Party in the Park," a benefit to support the refurbishing of historic Davis Park in the heart of downtown Charleston, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Capitol Street park between Lee and Washington streets. Rain location is the Capitol Conference Center, 815 Lee St.
Tickets are $50 per person, and include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and tours.
To purchase a ticket, mail a check made payable to Kanawha Garden Club to Elizabeth D. Keightley, 22 Brittany Woods Road, Charleston, WV 25314. The Kanawha Garden Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
For information, contact Keightley at 344-9667.
Last week's mystery plant
Not as many of you are familiar with last week's mystery plant. Here's what you said.
Teresa Campbell said, "If this is the mystery , it is a bush sun flower called 'First light.'
From Jeannie Skaggs: "The picture of the mystery plant in yesterday's newspaper (Sept. 23) looks a lot like some cosmos seeds that I planted this summer. I have had cosmos before but never like this one, at probably five feet tall it started to have blooms on the sides but the top has yet to bloom, very strange cosmos! It has very thick stems also, the seeds came from a store-bought package so it should have been the correct plant and the blooms look like cosmos blooms. Great conversation plant!"
From always-entertaining Lawton Posey: "I always enjoy your informative columns, and even though I am no longer the possessor of a garden, I am always interested in what you come up with. The answer to your question about the Mystery Plant Number 2 is easy to acquire.
"It is the common Planta Viridis Westvirginiaenisis. That is, a Green West Virginia Plant. Sub category: Topus Carrotus.
"So there, Sara. I win! Right?"
Yes, Lawton, you win.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.