Monday, July 7, 2008

A Vegetable Gardener Learns to Research . . .

. . . Not that I have not done research before in regards to gardening, but lately I find myself more and more going to gardening books or typing in search words on the computer looking for answers to my questions. Is this insect a predator or a pest? Why are the lower leaves turning yellow? What does Mosaic Virus look like? Why are some of the cucumber plants wilting? Yes, pests and diseases have been increasing the past several weeks in our vegetable garden, but thankfully nothing that has caused any major difficulties so far.

One of the more interesting things learned lately was the identification of an insect found in the garden. It has quite the descriptive name . . . Wheel Bug (profound isn't it?! ;). It is so named because of the 'wheel' on its back. (For information and up-close photos of this insect you may find this link of interest.) The Wheel Bug is a ferocious looking creature if you get up close and examine it, and the good news is that it is beneficial! This little predator has been quite a help lately cleaning up some of the cabbage plants. And with handpicking pests such as caterpillars, squash bugs and Japanese beetles, the insect problems are being kept fairly under control. Though, we have lost some large portions of a few of our tomato plants due to borers. We have been looking for Dipel (Bacillus Thuringiensis-Kurstaki; try saying that! I always mispronounce it) around here, but are thinking that we will probably need to order it.


Harvesting has been picking up pace a bit, and zucchini and yellow squash have been finding their way into many of our dishes. The first pepper was picked yesterday, we have begun using the onions and have also had a few cucumbers for fresh eating, and the cherry tomatoes should begin ripening soon . . .


The one bean row that I have been picking is just about done producing and the other two are just about ready to begin being picked. Meanwhile certain types of vegetables in the garden continue to grow and mature for their harvest sometime in the fall; including this acorn squash.


The bee population in the garden has been increasing which has been a blessing, though, we are considering putting in a few bee hives next year to help with the lack of bees (plus to provide our own honey). That could be an adventure! I wonder who would get the job of caring for them?! :)

10 comments:

  1. That would be neat if you were able to get bees. :) While we were still living in Illinois we had several hives which was nice. We have been hoping to start a hive again sometime soon since we still have all the equipment necessary. :)

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  2. You are becoming so very knowledgeable about gardening and all the beneficial and harmful insects that are drawn to a garden in your region! I'm very impressed! I'm so happy to hear that the bee population is increasing. I hope you are able to set up a few hives next year. Will your garden be larger next year? Perhaps more bees will help with the pollination of a larger garden plot.

    How are your chickens doing, and how is the corn faring with all the rain you have been experiencing? Is the exceptional rainfall increasing the number of pests around your garden?

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  3. How fun that you had bees before, Emily! I hope that you will be able to start another hive soon.

    So, if we have any questions about beekeeping, we know who to ask! ;)

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  4. I am growing a bit more knowledgeable, Philothea, about pests and predators in the insect world! :) Now . . . if I can just figure out some of the diseases that would be nice. :) They are harder to identify than the insects; at least for me anyway as so many of them look similar!

    I am not sure if all the rain has had an impact on the pests or not, but I do believe that it has caused many of the problems with diseases. It has been so wet and humid that the plants and soil have not had much opportunity to dry out for the past several months. A perfect set-up for fungal diseases, mildew and molds! Thankfully the days between rainfalls is increasing . . . it has been about five days since the last rain (though, it has been/will be raining again today). The corn is looking very good! Thank you for asking!

    When looking at the list of things that we would like to grow next year, the garden probably will be bigger! I, too, hope that we will be able to get bees! We will just have to wait and see what happens. :)

    The chickens are doing well and are growing quickly. They are in a temporary outdoor, weasel-proof pen, and we are in the process of building their coop and getting their permanent pen all ready for them.

    How is your friend and her/his father doing? I have been praying for them!

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  5. I tried to post yesterday..but I was having trouble with my account and cookies! Anyways...I have found that wasps control cabbage worms very well. I was reminded of it last night when I cooking some broccoli I bought at a farmers market. I looked in the pot of salted water and saw a worm! In my garden I have seen wasps crawling on my cabbage and broccoli plants looking for worms. I have never had to spray them and have never had worms cooking with my broccoli! I recently read something about this too in a gardening article. Even wasps have a purpose!!

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  6. Your garden looks like it is producing wonderfully!

    I've never heard of "acorn squash," what does it taste like?

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  7. In response to your question, Amy, I do not know what Acorn Squash tastes like! I have never had it before, but my Dad has, and he wanted to try growing it this year. Mom and I found several recipes that use it so we are looking forward to when we can try it! :)

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  8. Thank you for sharing the information regarding wasps, Mrs. BB! Do you have any tips on how to attract them to ones' garden?

    Finding worms in the broccoli you are eating or preparing to cook is not very pleasant! I know that from personal experience! :) What types of plants do you grow in your garden? It is always fun to hear of others' gardening ventures!

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  9. Hi Sarah, In response to your question about attracting wasps..we have a large old two story garage that attracts the wasps for us in the upper level. The garage is right next ot our garden. My garden this year is scaled back from years past. I like to grow chile peppers...the mild kind. I also grow summer squash, beans, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes. I am also growing a really cool pumpkin called Rouge d'emtampes (sp?). It is flatish, with red-orange tones. Because its flat you can stack them for "harvest decorating impact"! Good luck with your garden and canning

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  10. Thank you for your response, Mrs. BB! Yes, an old garage would certainly be an attractant to wasps! Maybe I should hang out a sign by the garden: “Wasps are welcome!” (Just teasing, of course!) Well, hopefully as time goes on the wasps will realize that the garden would be a nice place to be visiting. :)

    You are growing quite a few vegetables! It is such a wonderful thing to be able to grow your own food.

    The pumpkins that you are growing sound neat! I believe that I know which ones you are referring to (my sister and I used to work at a family-owned peach and pumpkin farm many years ago, and they had some pumpkins just like what you are describing). I hope that the pumpkins and the rest of your vegetable plants do well for you!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)