The case of the disappearing asparagus beetle

028I always seem to get asparagus beetles on my asparagus. The ones I get are the common asparagus beetle. They nibble the lovely shoots as they appear, and lay a bristle of eggs on the ends. Sometimes they make the spears grow into a curve, described poetically as a ‘shepherd’s crook’, and the constant nibbling can weaken the plants. 025

The usual organic control of the beetles is to pick them off and squash them! You can also use companion plants, which are tomatoes and marigolds.

Well this year, I had to try agro homeopathy. In his book, Homeopathy for Farm and Garden, Kaviraj has a list at the end, the Repertory, which is a list of ‘symptoms’. Under pests, beetles, I found asparagus beetle, for which he suggests Calendula. This is the Pot Marigold, a commonly used companion plant for deterring many bugs. So I watered some Calendula 30c on the spears.

064Two days later, there was only one beetle, which was easily picked off. After that, some days there were none and some days just one. So there was a definite reduction in beetles. The new spears grew with no damage. Last year, towards the end of the season, all the spears were getting eaten and looked most un-appetising. I think if I had re-treated with the Calendula I may have reduced the beetle numbers even more. I have stopped cropping the asparagus now, so I didn’t bother to re-treat. The eagle-eyed reader will notice that the nice un-damaged spear on the left has changed to purple. Well, I have a few purple asparagus plants, as well as the usual green. They actually taste the same, but they look pretty!