So I decided to give diatomaceous earth (DE) a try. I just applied it to the green beans two days ago, so I'm not sure if it's been effective yet. The way it's supposed to work is by getting underneath the gnats' exoskeletons and drying them out until they die. Apparently, the DE has to be dry before it can affect the bugs, so that makes it a little challenging when trying to decide when my plants need more water.
The day after I applied the DE to the green beans, I also found a bunch of fungus gnats in our strawberry container, even though that one is in our other room and we always keep the door closed in order to prevent pest infiltration. I guess they are either making their way to different rooms in our apartment through cracks, or they are able to come in through small cracks around the windows.
Anyway, I have now applied DE to all of our plants except the soy beans (to use as control, since they are dying anyway due to the weird yellowing leaf thing). The DE on the smaller plants in our clothes drying room is still wet since it's a lot more humid in that room, and I've found gnats crawling around on top of it, so I at least know that this stuff isn't effective when wet. Hopefully it will dry out soon and start killing the gnats before they kill my plants. It's been cloudy and rainy here for the past few days, so I think I need a good day of bright, hot sun to dry out the DE.
Our basil (formerly known as Malabar spinach) is really thriving and starting to smell like basil.
Our strawberry plants are growing more sets of leaves and starting to spread out.
Our broccoli has sprouted more leaves and is getting a little taller.
One kale plant is really growing out. The other kale plant is still quite small, but fortunately a new kale plant snuck in on the side of the container and seems to be doing better than the original plant. If it keeps growing faster, I'll remove the middle one and replace it with the one on the right side.
Work has been super crazy lately, so I haven't had time to start a real Malabar spinach seed yet. I also want to try growing some 空心菜 (Chinese spinach) because we got a packet of seeds as a freebie from one of our Taobao orders a couple of weeks ago. It's one of our favorite vegetables, so we're excited to try and grow it, but I haven't had any free time to plant it, so that will have to wait until early June when school ends.
Here's a look at the recent growth of the smaller plants pre-DE applications:
We had our first harvest from the green bean plants. I only picked three beans since most of them weren't ready to be picked yet, but we couldn't wait to try them out, so Matt fried up the small serving of beans.
Today (2 days later), I picked three more, and Matt boiled those. Both times, they tasted delicious. So awesome to eat them knowing that there were no pesticides used on them.