Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Garden style

As you can see I have a squash problem. Or more accurately a squash vine borer problem.

Alas...they are my nemesis. Every year they take a toll on my summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins and cucumbers. Some years we have better luck than others....some none at all.
This year may be a low luck year even though I am treating the plants (now) with Bacillus thuringiensis by injecting it into the main stem of the plants. Obviously,as you can see from my picture I have for sure lost one of the vines already---and even before I got one squash off of it!
Supposedly C. moschata varieties of this family are less susceptible to attack---and we have noticed that when we grow those varieties. Though...if under stress (as in drought) they will still be attacked too. However for us summer squash seems to be the MOST likely to be attacked. I think those bugs watch for me to come out and plant these babies.
During part of it's life span the borer retreats to the soil to finish pupating so rotation of your plants and cultivation of the soil to expose them is advised. the South the plants are just, in my opinion, up for grabs.
So...what's a gardener to do? Well, obviously I won't be growing these guys on a commercial scale but I will attempt something new next year that I have thought about but never done: A growing cage---similar to the picture I added. I think I will just put regular screen on mine though and hand pollinate.....Lots of work? Maybe...but for the 3 or 4 plants we use throughout the year no big deal really. Maybe then I could get a really steady harvest of squashes. Maybe even some baseball bat size individuals :-D

Now these pictures show a bit of luck I had the other day. Driving down the road I realized Ooops! I had forgotten gas---bummer! Luckily there was a gas station just down the road---the next closest was at least 5 miles away (quite the walk). So I pulled in a filled up and spent a small fortune while doing it. As I looked over I noticed that they were replacing display cases in the store and had all these neatly fold boxes ---heavy heavy boxes---that the cases had come in. I almost didn't ask (laziness had settled in and it was busy with people there) but kicked myself and did it. Yes, they said. Absolutely take them. So I did and I am now working to cover them up with sawdust we get at the local mill for $5 a truck load (we load--but it's light and easy work).
GREAT path mulch don't you think? And amazing grass/weed cover to help try and lessen our work. Over time things like this will help us to keep down the ongoing weed problems----at least a bit.
Notice to the left side there is a large stand of plants. That's my cover crop of buckwheat. It came in nicely this year...we have had good rain. I will cut the tops soon since it is about to flower. Also, right below it is a row of shallots with clover in between them. I weeded and waited for the shallots to grow up...then seeded in the clover.
My soil is still lacking in nitrogen so I am always looking for ways to add it...and to cover up soil, add tilth and/or block weeds. Anything that does all three, as in the case of clover, is great.
Too bad the buckwheat didn't add nitrogen...but it will add a small bit of tilth and it absolutely blocks weeds. Only the edges have weed issues---right were the sun can get into the stand.
By the Jack Russell loves that stand of Buckwheat and the large artichokes behind it. I think she believes herself to be jungle stalking whatever she might be able to find in the denseness of the whole thing.


Robbyn said...

I love how lush and dense the cover crop looks, and didn't realize you could oversow the shallots with clover for weed control - what a great idea!

TOCCO said...

I didn't know you could in inject the bt! I will have to try that!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Robbyn: it's the makes my garden look like I really know what I am doing! :-D

Tocco...I understand you can also slit the stem slightly and spray it in. The injection is a bit difficult...but it seems to have helped however I can see that slitting the stem, spraying/pouring it in, then piling dirt on it to help it root some more might be better...maybe??
Good Luck---I hate borers as much as japanese beetles!