Rare Midweek Post – Today was an Education

Today was an education.  I took the day off from work to get some things done in the garden and house that I never seem to get around to on the weekends.  I removed a patty pan squash plant that had been yellowing and didn’t seem to be producing female flowers in the past several days.  It was a fairly large plant so removing it freed up quite a bit of space in the summer squash box.  I started poking around the remaining plants and lo-and-behold, discovered where all those mystery stink bug eggs that I remove daily have been coming from.

There were an abundance of stink bugs living under the dead and dying lower-level leaves of all the squash plants.  And a good number of cucumber beetles as well.  At least 100 various bugs met their fates today in my gloved hands as I starting squishing everything that moved in the general area.  I apologized to the one spider I accidently squished in my murder-death-kill frenzy.

Squash Box

The lesson learned was the importance of removing dead leaves from the squash plants in a regular basis.  I also made a mental note not to plant the summer squash as densely next year.  We try to get the most bang for our space, but in order to get in under the summer squash plants (which have a fair amount of prickliness) and move them around some to find bugs, you need space.  I had planted 10 squash plants in the box and we’re down to 6 but next year I will plant only 6 in an entire long box to space them out more.

Other garden tasks completed today included spraying the summer squash stems with BT in the hopes any squash vine borer larvae will eat it and die upon hatching; we’ll be doing this on a weekly basis as long as we have squash plants since now is the start of SVB season.  I also removed many tomato limbs that had diseased leaves and sprayed all of the tomato plants with copper fungicide.  The apple trees also were sprayed with the copper fungicide as cedar rust is an issue for us.

Cucumbers

We harvested our first cucumbers today!  The funny thing is that we had not even noticed these particular two cucumbers until this morning because they were growing low to the ground and were obscured by leaves.  We also got another okra pod off of the same okra plant that produced a pod several days ago.  I need to figure out what you can do with two whole okra pods…  Other harvests today were more summer squash and haricot verts.  I also cut numerous dill heads and dill fronds; all of the dill is currently drying in the oven to be used for making pickles.

Okra & Squash

Haricots Vert

I decided the remaining dill in this particular container can go to the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars that hatched this week.  Earlier in the week, I killed numerous just-hatched caterpillars but I felt guilty about it because I like to see the butterflies in the yard.  Well, three caterpillars survived my killing spree and are now happily eating my dill and I didn’t have the heart to pick them off today.  So I harvested a good amount, left the rest for the caterpillars, and decided to plant more dill in the front yard that will be only for the butterflies.  In the future, our culinary dill will be ours and I’ll attempt to move any caterpillars to “their dill” or squish them without guilt because I’ve done what I could to help the species in general.

Incipient Butterfly on Dill

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One Response to “Rare Midweek Post – Today was an Education”

  1. kitsapFG Says:

    You were on a bug killing rampage this week! LOL! It is very true that the denser planting can also make better homes for pests. I have to be particularly vigilant with my cabbage patch because they ground under the lowest intermeshed leaves is very damp and cool and has decomposing leaves under there – perfect home for the slugs and pill bugs.

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