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Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

It’s becoming a summer ritual, but nothing fun like going out for ice cream or sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. Nevertheless, it begins every year around this time. We are preparing for battle against the squash vine borer.

Found several eggs on this plant -- very hard to spot

Found several eggs on this plant — very hard to spot (yes they’re in the picture)

I’ve written extensively about this problem before and always hope for the best. This summer we found vine borer eggs on our yellow squash and zucchini plants. They are hard to spot — very tiny light brown eggs laid on the plants not in clusters but individually.

My new nightly ritual for the next few weeks will be inspecting every inch of the plants, picking off and crushing any eggs I find.

Also, we’re taking a proactive approach and injecting each stem with Bt, a natural bacteria that can kill the borer if it hatches and tunnels into the vines. If the past few years are any indication, we’ll lose at least some of the zucchini and squash. If it happens again, we’re┬ádone with zucchini for at least a year or two so it can move on to someone else’s garden.

 

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So they’re not really a secret, but they’re new to us and our quest to have a great garden.

First up, beneficial nematodes. I never heard of these until we stopped by Worm’s Way to buy our compost bin last year. We told the incredibly knowledgeable worker about all our problems and it was her suggestion. The store’s blog has an in-depth explanation of all sorts of beneficial insects.

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It only took four days. That’s how long the deer “waited” before feasting on our newly planted vegetables. We planted the majority of our garden this past Sunday and after a couple days, everything seemed fine.

From bottom left: Tomato, spinach and zucchini all eaten by deer.

From bottom left: Tomato, spinach and zucchini all eaten by deer.

There was a little bit of a pepper leaf torn off, but not a big deal. Then, checking our garden this afternoon, we saw the full brunt of the damage, along with a few hoof prints left behind in the soil.

Our spinach was sheared to stems and the cherry/grape tomato plants were chewed to nubs. The deer also did a number on our pea and ate all but a couple leaves from both our zucchini plants. Oddly enough, they left the yellow squash alone. I also think it is a bit strange that for two months they never nibbled on the growing spinach, peas or lettuce and somehow decided this was the opportune moment.

So now we’re in full defense mode against these beasts, which, under any other circumstance, I don’t mind having around our house.

Mixed together with water, this helps deter deer.

Mixed together with water, this helps deter deer.

Here’s the plan:

Garlic and cayenne pepper. I tried this toward the end of last year and it seemed to work. I mix the powdered versions (what you buy in the spice aisle at the grocery store) with water and spray generously around and on the plants. I might even add egg or milk to the mix to help it stick to the leaves.

Mint. We’ll move our mint pot to the area we want to protect. Apparently the strong smell is not so pleasing to the deer.

Marigolds. It’s the same idea as above. The strong smell is supposed to keep the deer away. Probably buy several of these to put near each raised bed. Other plants could help and we might try those too.

We’ve bought two replacement zucchini and transplanted the others to pots and will do the same for the tomatoes. Last year the deer damaged tomato plants recovered a bit and actually produced some. The only positive to this situation is that the deer ate everything early. If it must happen, I’d rather it be now than when the plants are well established.

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