Friday, June 12, 2009

My Three Worst Enemies

1. Japanese Beetles

These things love to mate and make lace out of my leaves. In case you didn't know, lace is not pretty in the garden!

My husband goes out daily with his scissors and likes to snip them in half.

2. Bambi

Bambi has been eating my green bean and okra leaves. Stupid deer! I don't even live in a forest!

That vine is supposed to have luscious leaves.

3. Squash Vine Borers
I was wondering why the bases of my zucchini plants were looking like this so I looked it up online.

I cut open the stem and there he was the ugly ugly Squash Vine Borer. BAD! VERY BAD!

Cross section view. I tore out all my zucchini plants because I was so disgusted and most plants were beyond saving. I learned that I need to control with something in May. Whoops. I take back anything I said about zucchini being easy to grow. I think I figured out why my zucchini stopped growing.

So we had an impromptu science experiment to see which method was most effective at killing them. We concluded that the methods involving water were most effective, probably because it drowned them and had nothing to do with the pH balance of the liquid. The ones in the plain salt and baking soda were still squirming by evening. This was also a lesson as to when revenge is appropriate.

I hypothesized that the ugly grubs would fizzle and die when immersed in salt like snails, but instead concluded that plain salt acts as an aphrodisiac for Squash Vine Borers and makes them want to kiss and snuggle. (Yes, the ugly brown things are their heads.) Plain baking soda caused them to want to make Squash Vine Borer snow angels. Those things are anything but angelic.

One more photo of a garden failure. This cucumber seems as if she is trying to watch her figure.

Gardening is no longer a relaxing stress relief. I can't wait to garden in heaven.


  1. I watched something on Martha Stewart today about gardening; they gave tips of things you could use to protect your plants and other great ideas! One thing they said was to mix eggs and water, and spray it on plants to keep the deer away. Here is the link ; you should check it out, and see if you learn anything you can use. I was not blessed with a green thumb, so I have to pass along others' advice. I'm just happy our upside down tomatoes are growing; we are starting small. :)

  2. Thanks, Carrie. We've tried multiple things to prevent deer including David peeing into a milk jug for an entire day and dumping it along the perimeter of our yard. (We're desperate.) Unfortunately the deer around here are being squeezed out by development and seemed to be undeterred by repellents because of the need to survive. We just bought some deer netting last night to keep them from eating the foliage. It's not the most attractive thing to have a black net over our susceptible plants, but we want our plants to survive!! I will definitely check out the link though. Martha is pretty savvy when it comes to gardening.

    Starting small is good. We started small just 3 years ago and kept expanding upon it. Please do share your experience with the Topsy Turvy tomatoes. I was tempted to do those this year. I'll bet they need a lot of watering in this heat and I'm sure I would've killed them by now.

  3. papmphil5@bellsouth.netJune 13, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Aw, I'm sad for you! I gave up gardening because I think I have a black thumb. :(

  4. Me too (about the topsy turvy tomatoes). I also saw a hanging pepper bag with several plants at the hardware store a couple of months ago, I almost got some, but I was there for roundup and it seemed like it would have been bad karma to buy them at the same time. Plus I wasn't totally sold on the whole idea since I never remember to water.

    We also have lacy leaves on some plants. I just wish they were from Japanese Beetles. Unfortunately, ours are the orange midget lady bugs. That means the neighborhood kids think I am evil for hating them. Of course the recommended way to control them is hand picking at NOON. Yeah, cause that's when I want to be in the garden. here is a fun article with lots of pictures of the damage those cute bugs do:

  5. and you were doing so good! btw, that is disgusting that david peed in a milk jug and put it around your yard! my sister has a friend who, while gardening in her backyard, found some 'grub' and decided to grill them up and eat them! they enjoyed them! just a thought! get some extra protein in your diet! hahaha i thought you'd enjoy that.

  6. Amber - I considered trying to eat them for a small moment, but it quickly passed. When Emily looked at my bucket of them, she said they made her feel sick to her stomach just looking at them. Although, battered and fried might not be so bad. People eat shrimp and I think those are just as disgusting. And don't be too disgusted by David's pee. He drinks so much water, that he practically pees 100% water. Maybe that's why it didn't work. Maybe I will have to try collecting mine. I'll just need a funnel.

    Becca - we don't have orange midget lady bugs (that I know of). The larvae of the squash beetle is pretty cool looking though. Apparently Japanese Beetles were brought to the US through NJ and they are slowly migrating westward at about the rate of 10 miles per year or something like that. So be prepared. They are on their way...

    Pam - I'm sure you have some green in your thumb, but maybe Bill, your brother, took it all? Just remember the key to gardening is - COMPOST. Mushroom compost is best.