Saturday, July 17, 2010

Garden Critter Battles

I am quite fond of gardening. I am doing battle with a number of critters right now. My husband suggested that I keep a gardening log to keep track of some of the things I've discovered. I thought a little sketch book would be cool, but decided I can type faster. I included links to the pictures for this particular blog entry in case you would like a visual reference (but I didn't include the picture ON the blog in case you are eating lunch.)

This year it's a double assault. It started with the Mexican Bean Beetle which my Victory Garden book defines mistakenly as a Cucumber Beetle. The fuzzy yellow larvae are really decimating my pumpkin and squash plants....or so I thought. As I plucked off these quite easily I noticed little troops of gray aphid-like bugs on the plants. They didn't appear to be eating anything, but lo and behold, they are called Squash bugs and can cause wilt in pumpkins and squash like the Cucumber Beetle does to cucumbers! Frustrated that I was going to lose everything, I sprayed with Sevin this evening. I have done quite a bit of research on Sevin and it seems to be very safe....for humans. My only concern is for the bees. The packaging suggests using it at dusk to avoid harming bees.

Another critter is the Tomato Horn Worm, lovely fellow. In the past planting Borage with my tomatoes has kept them at bay. This year my tomatoes are growing so rapidly that the Borage can barely reach the sunlight! There are a few peeking through between the tomatoes, but I guess not enough to keep away all of the THW like in the past. The THW are masters of camouflage. Although my children managed to find two of them in about 30 seconds, while I was out there for 20 minutes looking. I knew they were there, but for the life of me I couldn't see them. The evidence: munched leaves and tiny barrel-shaped poops. I don't know why I am so grossed out by them. They are basically pure tomato.

Well, that is my critter story. It's a different one almost every year. Last year was tomato wilt, the year before was the Cucumber Beetle. I have seen Japanese Beetles this year as well - I should probably look up their dastardly effects as well, but so far they are not doing too much damage...that I can see.

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