Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer! Hot Hot Hot, and "a bit" buggy. On these days, your garden will need to be watered daily, ideally early morning or evening. It can be discouraging to lose plants to heat and pests. Each season in a little different depending on when we get moisture, how much, and how long the heat waves last, but don't lose hope. Gardening teaches us resilience, and offers the opportunity for life long learning! But what to do about the bugs?!
They slice and chew the plant stems leading to sudden wilting and death. They lay eggs in June and later in the summer. Warm temps enable the second round of nymphs to grow and they can survive mild winters.
For organic control, CSU extension suggests: 1) For small plantings, pick the bugs and their eggs off the leaves when you see them.Start surveying for eggs once a week in June and continue throughout the season. 2) Pull mulch away from the squash and pumpkin plants as that provides habitat for squash bugs. Yes, sometimes mulch is good but in this case, not around squash and pumpkins. Just grow squash in bare soil. 3) The area around the base of the plant is also a site where insecticide applications should be concentrated. Diatomaceous earth/pyrethrins applications around the base of the plant can be an effective method to control squash bug and is a treatment allowed in Certified Organic vegetable production. 4) If your plant dies please bag it up, including the soil around the stem and toss it in the dumpster, located near the barn
Source: CSU Extension Fact Sheet 5609 - Squash Bug Management in Home Gardens, Photos by Julie Lesnick
Bumble Flower Beetles!
Gardener Amy Ahrent discovered and identified these feisty guys decimating her plot, but she will not be deterred! She is currently researching ways to control them as none of the organic methods have worked so far including insecticicle soap, diatomaceous earth powder, Neem oil spray, and cutting and physically removing them from the Hollyhock plants and gardens. They always return the next day.
Garden VP Patty circled up with Pollinator Garden lead Nicole who suggested using a garlic solution, but the little beasts are persistent. Nicole suggests using ground garlic with the granular fertilizer when you fertilize the flowers. When the plant draws up the fertilizer and garlic it is absorbed by the plants / acts systemically and the bugs don't like the way the garlic tastes.
Also, make sure the plant is watered deeply every few days and cultivate / hoe the soil around the plant so that it is not compacted around the root zone. The plant should also be mulched to conserve moisture.
These pests love decaying organic matter, of which there is plenty at the gardens. They also love sap flowers and Hollyhocks are those.
Here is more info on these beetles.
Gardener Bonnee Basso shared that Jeffco county is tracking the location of Japanese Beetles within Jeffco. If you choose to report a Japanese Beetle problem, Here is the link.
Japanese Beetle | Jefferson County, CO Japanese Beetle. Japanese beetles have become established in the Denver metro region in Colorado. The adult feed on over 300 types of plants. The larva feed on the roots of plants and can be very harmful to sod and lawns. More Info Here.
At least know, as a gardener who rides the challenging waves of pests munching your veggies and flowers, you are among many cultivators over the centuries who try innovative organic solutions each season to prevail, and like weeds, pest control is part of gardening.
Innovative Pest Control