Cucumber Beetles Spotted

cucumber beetle

Striped cucumber beetle adults have arrived in our garden plots. If you are growing squash, cucumber, zucchini or other cucurbit you should be looking for eggs under the leaves closest to the soil.

The eggs are oval and yellow to amber-colored. If you find eggs, remove and destroy them.

The beetles – which are yellow with black stripes – are currently feeding on leaves. Soon, if not already, female beetles will lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch the larvae will feed on the roots and pupate in the soil. Come August, the cycle will be complete and what are now eggs will be adults.

What Damage Do They Do?

They eat leaves and roots. Mature cucurbits can handle some damage. If beetle numbers are high the damage can mean reduced yields. A secondary problem with cucumber beetles is that they are vectors to a disease known as bacterial wilt. If you notice leaves turning a dark green, wilting and then dying, this is a symptom of bacterial wilt. Some plants – such as pumpkins – are more susceptible than others to this disease.

How Do I Know if My Plants have Bacterial Wilt?

Cut a section on the stem. Hold the stem together and then slowly pull it apart. If bacterial wilt is present the sap will appear string-like between the cut ends.

How to Control and When

Striped cucumber beetles are most active evenings and through the night. Since it is most effective to spray the beetle directly this would be the ideal time to apply a spray of Neem Oil. If you find beetles on your squash apply neem oil in the next two weeks. In addition to aiming at the beetle, be certain to spray under the leaves at the base of the plant where eggs and larvae are likely to be located.

A labelled spray bottle of Neem Oil will be placed in the shed in the next few days for everyone to use.

Never, Never, Never spray in the heat of the day. This can kill a plant. Wait until evening and aim for contact with the beetle.

If you have questions, leave a comment below.

Scarecrow Construction and Costume Ideas

I’ve started working on lesson plans for the Family Gardening Program at Moreau Community Garden. Not only do we walk through the gardens weeding, watering and looking for anything out of the ordinary, we also take steps to keep our garden entertaining, safe and looking good.

And I can’t think of a better source of fun than a scarecrow.

Scarecrows have been used for centuries to keep crows from the crops. Our garden might not need to scare off crows, but a scarecrow will be a friendly addition sure to bring a smile.

Since I’m new to scarecrow construction I went to the internet, did some research and found a suitable sturdy form. It has two legs for support and then the typical cross shape for the torso, arms and head. Once the stakes are in the ground, our scarecrow should stand strong. Here’s my drawing, which is open to suggestions and revisions. Scarecrow

I have collected a shirt, jeans and was offered burlap for the head. I have buttons for eyes. And someone offered me a fake mustache. We still need gumboots, gloves, a hat, a belt and maybe a bandana. What do you think?

If possible, I’d like our scarecrow to have a change of clothes….for example, a team shirt, a Hawaiian print shirt, a jacket for special occasions, a cowboy outfit. Something that will make people laugh when they see our “dapper” scarecrow. Ideas are welcome.

Research on scarecrow “inners” determined that straw was the material of choice and stuffing plastic grocery bags with the straw made stuffing the scarecrow easy for children to handle. It also keeps the center dry.

We will first fill bags with straw, tie them closed, then stuff the shirt, pants, etc. I will need to collect plastic bags and if any gardeners have some to spare, please bring them to the garden and leave them in the shed. Also, if anyone wants to donate a bale of straw, we would appreciate that.

This should be fun.

Once he is made, we should have a contest to come up with a name! Send in your thoughts and we can take a vote. The person whose name gets the most votes, names the scarecrow.

Thank you all.

Natalie

Amazing Peach and Rhubarb Kuchen Recipe

Peach Rhubarb cakeThe recipe for this wonderful kuchen can be found at: http://www.organicgardening.com/cook/peach-and-rhubarb-kuchen

Credit belongs to Edward Lee as this is his Peach and Rhubarb Kuchen Recipe.

I have to admit, I like kuchens. In the fall, I often make an apple kuchen that is a family favorite with apples, coconut and nuts. So when I saw this rhubarb kuchen recipe, I had to try it.

Turns out, it is delicious and the perfect not-too-sweet cake to serve with tea or coffee.

The only change I made was in using canned peaches. There were no fresh, ripe ones at the market.

The cake came out very well. I served it to friends and family and it was devoured…yes, I mean devoured… quickly. Poof. Gone in a day.

That’s a sign of a good recipe.

Work Day Tomorrow

I Love Community GardensHi Gardeners –

I will be in the garden tomorrow from 9 to 11 a.m. roto-tilling.

Everyone needs to turn the beds before planting to mix in the manure we placed on top of the beds last fall. If your bed has weeds in it, pull them out first.

All gardeners are welcome to come help get the garden in order. We are renting a rotor-tiller and gardeners can roto-till their plots. If you can’t be there, let us know you would like this job done. We will take care of it.

Also, be sure to weed not only your plot but the pathway around it to keep destructive insects that hide in weeds away from your crops.

I am bringing seeds to share. If you have seeds you won’t be using, a seed exchange box will be set up on a picnic table.

Hope to see you in the garden tomorrow.

Natalie, Master Gardener

The shirt pictured above can be purchased on Zazzle. http://www.zazzle.com/community_garden_shirt-235667053207406818 It was designed by yours truly.

It Poured Last Night…

but now the sun is out and it looks to be a good day coming. We can’t roto-till at the Moreau Community Garden because the ground is too wet. That was rescheduled for Wednesday morning.

But there is still plenty to do in the garden:

At my home, I need to weed dozens of tiny maple seedlings that have germinated in the mulch. They are easy to pull as they have no foothold, but there are many this year.

Next, I will trim back any dead branches I missed from the hydrangea, smoke bush, Rose of Sharon, rhododendron and azalea shrubs. I waited and watched until now to give them time to bud. I have scraped a thumbnail along the questionable branches and looked for signs of life…meaning green as the scarped spot. And if I have doubts when I’m out there pruning, I will wait a little longer still.

I applied the crabgrass and lawn fertilizer.

And, I will plant arugula in one of seven Earthboxes that I affectionately refer to as “The Farm.”

Then, I will try making a new kind of iced tea that looks healthy and tasty. It is made with green tea. Here’s a link: Green Tea http://skinnyms.com/the-new-southern-style-sweet-tea/

I love the colors and think it will look festive at the upcoming garden party.

What are you up to today?

Roto-tilling Rescheduled for Wednesday

Dear Gardeners –

Due to the forecast of heavy rain today and tonight, we will not be able to roto-till tomorrow.

Soil needs to b e dry when tilled. Otherwise, the soil structure is damaged.
I hope you can make it next Wednesday, which – at this point – is forecast to be sunny.

If you can’t be there Wednesday, be sure to turn your beds before you plant to mix in the composted manure.

See you in the garden, Natalie

Planting Guide for Family Garden Plots at Moreau Community Garden

FG - Moreau

I spent time this morning creating a plan for Family Gardening plots with consideration given to bees, butterflies, and plants that work well together.

As you look at it, note that details, such as the heights of plants were included in the plan. This will be relevant when I’m planting and make the job easier as I will reach for the tallest first to plant in the center down to the shortest along the edge without having to read each packet.

The group of bee and butterfly luring flowers were included for maximum delight and to attract pollinators for the vegetables.

Last season, everyone enjoyed the butterflies that came through. swallowtail1

I made certain to include companion plants to repel each crop’s troublesome insect, For example, borage deters tomato hornworms and these two plants will grow side by side. Nasturtiums discourage bean beetles and, as I mentioned yesterday, dill repels squash bugs.

Hope you enjoy seeing this plan. I may tweak it a bit as I haven’t found borage seeds yet. Does anyone know where I can get some?

This weekend I will be turning the soil for the plots that are part of the Family Gardening Program.

It is too soon to plant outdoors some of vegetables and flowers I intend to grow, but a few – like peas, kale and spinach – can be seeded now.

What will you be growing? If you need help knowing what to plant and where, I will be in the garden from 9 to noon this Saturday, May 17th.