summer 2013

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dog Days and Bad Bugs

Welcome Ireland!  19 countries and counting.

Well, they are back! STINK BUGS!  At least they have left my home.  I have found stink bug damage on some tomatoes, I have even found them mating on my zucchini.  They pierce the skin and an inject an enzyme that starts to rot the fruit.

This week I have taken down the last of my sugar snap peas and will save the seeds for the next crop.  I also have some blossom end rot on some of my tomatoes.  Totally my fault.  Since I don't live at the farm, I can't see the garden every day to water.  Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium.  There is calcium in the soil, but inconsistent watering is the culprit.  I picked and tossed the ugly tomatoes.  This is not a disease that affects the plant, so the new tomatoes  setting fruit will be fine, it is up to the gardener to step up!

Lost my first squash plant.  Probably squash bugs.  It wilted overnight.  Looking under the leaves, you can see the nymphs going to town sucking the sap out of the vines.  I sprayed the surviving plant with an insecticidal soap.  It was a small plant, the kind these bugs can really damage.  On my larger zucchini plants, just some eggs are on the leaves.  The best way to deal with this is to smash them.

nymph stage of squash bug

more eggs - they look like copper in the sunlight

Dog days.  In the Washington DC area (just rated the 6th hottest city in the US),  It will be hot and humid until mid September.  4 years ago my daughter had an outdoor wedding on Sept 8 and it was still 98 degrees.

On the positive side, some things are thriving.  My native plants.  They belong in this environment, so they will survive the searing heat and inconsistent rain.

This garden is alive with pollinators

Maryland state flower    Black eyed Susan

Some interesting vegetables.  Gita beans - over a foot long.  Scarlet runner beans, bought from Monticello.  They have beautiful red flowers. And, a cute watermelon.  I have the vines running through my tomato bed.  The vines sit on top of the straw mulch.  Just a little experiment.

gita bean

scarlet runner beans

cherry tomato
I am always a little relived when the squash is finished.  They don't freeze well, and we've already had baked, grilled, bread and raw.  Time to move on to another vegetable.

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