Dear Carol and Mary Ann, et al.,
Can you believe we’ve reached week 17 in our vegetable journey?
This week is all about bugs. With the extremely warm weather, the insects both good and bad are doing their bit in the garden. I don’t yet have squash bugs (I hate to type that for fear that I will jinx the poor zucchini), but I do have squash vine bores which are almost as bad. Now, I didn’t take a photo of the damage because I was up to my waders in muck from the rain soaked soil and weeds. I was afraid I would get dirt in my lens. I already broke one Nikon lens this week, and if this other one goes down, I am lost. Squash vine borers are a real drag because the stupid moth lays an egg inside the leaf stems or the vine itself, and unless you want to inject Bt into the stem (which I don’t), you just have to remove the infected leaves. Or, you can slit the stem and remove the larvae. Then, you hope for the best. You can dust Bt around the plants, but I’ve not found that to be all that effective.
I also have hornworms. Giant, ugly, green worms that can defoliate an entire tomato plant in a week or two. I found one today, and with pleasure, I cut it in half.
I also have dratted cucumber beetles. So far, none of them have found the cukes. I don’t know why.
I tied up all of the tomato vines today and worked on Rosa ‘New Dawn’ because she was again trying to take over the garden. I use both tomato cages & tripods. I also have a new structure this year which is like a large cage made of those green bamboo-type stakes. I like how tall it is. I don’t have to tie the tomatoes to it. Because it is green, it doesn’t show up like the other metal cages. It is very sturdy, and once the season is over, it folds up for storage. So far, it is my favorite.
I’ll leave you with a photo of a plant which I wish had never placed its roots in my soil. Dysphania ambrosioides, Epazote a/k/a Mexican tea, Wormseed and Jesuit’s tea, is an herb native to South America and Mexico. I used to buy herbal plants from a guy in the country, and one year, he said I needed Epazote for my garden. Well, I bought it along with garlic chives, a plant that I’ve also tried to eradicate, but it has escaped my garden. Anyway, I was told Epazote was used to season bean dishes in Mexico, and that is true. However, at the time, some of our Hispanic employees were helping us to build our split rail fence and one of the men was so concerned about my new plant that he went to HH. He told HH that Epazote was a weed, and it would take over my garden. HH later gave me this information, but being such an expert (ha!) I thought, oh no, it won’t spread here. It will die in the winter.
Moral of the story. If you’re about to plant something which is native to another region, and someone from that region tells you not to plant it, heed his/her warning.
See ya next week,