Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bugs, Critters, and Diseases - Oh My!

Hi Everyone,


It was another busy morning with a great group of gardeners….Jamie, Susan, Michelle, Lauren, Susan, G.A., Karen, Greg, Martha, Latanya Simpson (first timer), J.J. James (first timer) and myself. Susan got here at 7:00 to open up for the other early birds. They started out harvesting our bounty of tomatoes (regular and cherry), peppers, tomatillos, beans, potatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, beets, blackberries, turnips and eggplant. Cathy delivered to the women's shelter.

Cathy weighing our harvest
We dumped the second potato tower with a total of 4.5 lbs. We plan to wait a few weeks before we harvest the third and last tower, as there are still green shoots growing, and maybe we will get more and bigger potatoes by waiting. We are definitely thinking of doing the towers again next year, with the plan of putting them at the far end of the bed where not much will grow because of the black walnut trees. Since the towers will have their own little environment and will get enough sun, the roots and toxins from the trees shouldn't affect them, and we will be able to utilize space that is otherwise unproductive. The blackberries were picked by our Saturday crew, and I was surprised that we got any this first year, although it was just a smattering (6 oz). We are looking forward to big ripe berries next year.

Now on to the pest and disease issues. There was the beginning of what looked like powdery mildew on the cantaloupe (both in the containers and those planted in the hugelkultur). Affected leaves were picked off and Neem oil was sprayed on them. Then the ant/aphid thing was going on with the purple hull peas (yuk). For those of you who don't know about this ant/aphid relationship: Ants deposit aphids onto the plants so the aphids can feed off the plants, and then the ants feed off the aphids. Clever ants huh? These were the brown aphids, which makes everything look dark and slimy and disgusting. We applied a mix of dish detergent and water to the infected areas, and will see what happens. A few Japanese beetles and squash bugs were seen and squished, and fortunately was not an infestation. I don't see as many Japanese beetles, so maybe they are at the end of their cycle, at least in our garden. We saw a few white flies or mites on the underside of some tomato leaves. Mary Elizabeth has these on hers at home and is treating them. We will see how the treatment is working for her, and proceed from there, if in fact we need to do anything.

Tomatoes have grown up over their cages, and some of these had to be tied up. We have watermelons and cantaloupe growing nicely. A few more bean seeds were planted. Wormy tomatillos were picked and gotten rid of, and a few good ones were harvested. Some more beans were planted, and now most of our beds are full. G.A. and Jamie worked on the irrigation system, and plans were made to replace a broken spigot/faucet.

Everyone was waiting to see how to inject the squash vines. The syringe and needles were there for us when we arrived (thank you Peggy for dropping these off). I was really hoping we'd have someone who had a feel for doing injections, although I guess we could have figured it out. I think God had a sense of humor when he sent us an actual M.D. in the person of Latanya Simpson!!!! What more could we ask for. We used 1 tsp. of Bt to a cup of water and then Latanya injected about 1 ml in the area of the SVB damage with an 18g needle. She did all of the "Fall Sweet" squash and then the yellow squash and zucchini that were infected. All the squash still looks good with no wilting. Susan brought goggles for us to use. We will be reporting the results.

Latanya injecting the "Sweet Fall" squash.
Wish I could have gotten her beautiful face in the photo!
Greg set some of the mousetraps for the voles again after the raccoon fiasco last week, but this time did not use bait. He just set the traps near a vole hole and covered over with a bucket. I am not getting my expectations up on this one. 

Here's what we found last Saturday!
The grass on the manor grounds had been cut recently and there were piles of grass which were turning brown. We got wheelbarrows full and hauled it to the compost bins. We were able to pile this up layering it with leaves, which added a nice amount to our diminishing compost supply.

We've been having some problems that have been making us scratch our heads, but we've also had some successes as evidenced by the amount we are harvesting, which we are so thankful for. I still need volunteers to help me with setting up our tomato tasting on the 18th at our monthly meeting. With everything being late, I don't think we will have as many tomatoes as I had anticipated when this idea was first hatched! If it is well received, maybe we can try it again next year. There is an article in the newsletter sent yesterday that explains everything, so check it out, and let me know if you'd be able to help me with the setup.

CONGRATULATIONS LAUREN! Those of you who didn't see the article, check out the link below and you will see our own Lauren Bangasser on the front page! Great job Lauren. If you haven't been to Grahamwood, stop by for a visit and you will be in for a treat. Lauren is doing a wonderful thing there.

'Til later,

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