What is that beetle?

Jap Beetle

For the person who put the beetles in a jar asking for identification. These are Japanese Beetles.

An easy way to battle them without pesticides – which we don’t use in our community garden – is to get a pail of soapy water and put it directly under the plant being bothered. If you tap the leaf, the beetle drops into the water and drowns.

If you do this early in the day when the beetles are the least active, you will greatly reduce the number of beetles in short order.


Our Garden Today

camper7There’s plenty of great stuff going on at the Moreau Community Garden….and there are also some insects and diseases that need to be addressed.

Let’s start with the good.

Today gardeners in the Family Gardening Program harvested handfuls of cherry tomatoes, the last of the green beans and peppers, fistfuls of baby carrots and some sweet basil.camper3 campers2

camper1 Most of the harvest went into bags to go to the community center where they are eaten as snacks, but a few green beans were enjoyed right on the spot. YUM!

Tomato Taste Test

The gardeners also tried two different varieties of tomatoes in a taste test to determine which was better…Moskvich or Opalka. The children liked the Moskvich, a very meaty tomato.tasting

Garden Detectives

We also walked around the garden discussing problems. The gardeners looked at examples of Septoria Leaf Spot and Early Blight under a magnifying glass. I discussed the symptoms and what to look for on the plants. Once they knew the symptoms, I asked them to diagnose the problem in their plot of tomatoes.

It is like being a detective looking at clues.

They got it right, early blight had infected the plants. We cleaned the plants out of the plot and will do more to be certain to remove all plant debris, even the roots so it can’t overwinter.EarlyBlight2

We also spotted several parasitized tomato hornworms much to everyone’s amazement and, in some cases, horror. Certain wasps belonging to the Braconidae family lay eggs on the tomato hornworm. That is what those white eggs in the photo are. As the eggs hatch and develop, these wasps eat the tomato hornworm killing it.
We also saw Japanese beetles and squash bugs. If you have these in you garden, clean them up. Thank you.japbeetlesSquashbugs

Japanese Beetles Have Arrived

55-Japanese-Beetles Image from Cornell University Cooperative Extension Clinton County blog posting.

I was in the garden this morning and saw my first Japanese Beetle of the season. The Neem oil we have been using on the cucumber beetles is effective on the Japanese beetles, too.

You can hand-pick them or hold a pail of soapy water under the plant and give it a little shake. This causes the beetles to drop into the soapy water and drown. Either way, if you see them . . . act. It doesn’t take long for Japanese beetles to skeletonize a plant leaf.