Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The year of the pests

Well no garden year is without its problems and this year is no different. I have been so proud of my garden in how well it was doing this year. In the past I haven't seemed to have too many problems with bugs. Last year my ducks were able to take care of the grasshoppers that showed up in droves and I suffered little damage. Normally, diatomaceous earth and neem oil keep my seedlings safe and once the plants mature I have few problems provided they are healthy. This year though the mature plants are falling prey to grasshoppers and a new predator....stink bugs. These aren't your typical stink bug. These are brown marmalated (sp?) stink bugs, a relatively new pest to the United States that is beginning to wreak its havoc from sea to shining sea. Apparently it has had the department of agriculture befuddled as to how to get rid of it. These bugs don't necessarily kill the plant at first, instead they target the fruit of the plant causing it to rot and drop off before maturing. Eventually the plant is affected and dies. This is because they often affect the flowers of the plant also interfering in pollination. Apparently, though many people call these little critters squash bugs because they are very similar to the stink bugs/squash bugs that we have had in the past, this variety has no preference to type of plant. Reports are coming in that they are decimating fruit trees, beans, peas, melons and others right along with squash. I planted 10 squash plants which should be producing enough to feed the whole county. I have lost countless fruit and two whole plants have succumbed to the attack. I can verify that neither neem oil nor diatomaceous earth phase them. I learned yesterday that trapping them helps. So yesterday I destroyed hundreds and hundreds of eggs that had been laid on my plants and set about trying to trap the adults and nymphs. So I will head out to the garden with my flashlight in just a bit to look under the boards that I placed near my squash plants to see if I can kill the little buggers. Each adult female is capable of laying over 50 eggs a day. I am hoping I can save my garden. I have lost my cantaloupe and a couple of squash. One of my cucumber plants is kicking the bucket so I will pull it today. Each year it is something and sometimes it can get downright depressing, but for some strange reason I keep on trying and keep on plugging away. Truly, I must be crazy! Blessings from the farm, Kat


Kelle said...

Kat, gardening a disease, it's that or we are gluttons for punishment, LOL!!!

We've had far more pest already too! with all the rain and cold temps. you'd think it would be a good year, with very little bugs*sigh*

I still have to get my carrots, mangel beets, squashes, melons and some grain crops planted, we feel so far behind, although we really are only off a few weeks in reality. I guess it's because we're working on the garden and have yet to even clean out one flowerbed and trying to mow between storms is a full time job!.

BTW, Thank you for pointing out the blue on dark green issue, I too had a hard time seeing it. Somehow it didn't get changed and I never noticed it either. I fixed it so now it shouldn't be a problem, for either of us*wink* I really can't see blue on red or visa versa, it freaks my eyes out or something, LOL!!! The blessings of aging :o)

Blessings for your weekend, we're scheduled to butcher our meat birds and finish planting the garden, YEAH!!!!

Kat said...

Kelle, it seems like the weather has been one extreme or another across the whole country. Some folks are dealing with severe drought, wild fires, floods, late snows, nonstop rain. It is just a crazy year. Seems like I have read more and more homesteaders just saying they were giving up on their gardens this year. Fortunately, even though we are under severe drought condition my garden is designed to conserve water and to be easily watered. So far we are good, but are putting up as much as possible and only eating what needs to be eaten fresh right. If this keeps up everything might be burned up by mid July. Oh well, there is always fall and looks like I will be growing this winter also. Prayers for all of us. Blessings, Kat