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Posts Tagged ‘insects’

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 done with zucchini for at least a year or two so it can move on to someone else’s garden.

 

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We’ve tried for a couple of years to get great broccoli but it’s not working for us. Earlier this month we had a crazy hot spell — something you’d expect in July and not early May — with temperatures in the 80s and creeping toward 90 on some days.

Bolted broccoli. Again. Still tasty though!

Bolted broccoli. Again. Still tasty though!

It started really well — big leaves and small, compact broccoli heads. But once the temperatures spiked, it was all over. What broccoli was growing started to bolt. The stalks were separating and starting to produce flowers. Some of the other ones weren’t even growing (though now that the weather has cooled significantly, they seem to be bouncing back.)

Oh well. We plan try again in the fall, starting from seeds. Next year, I’m going to use our old garden beds as cold frames and get the broccoli, peas and lettuce started way early. Maybe even February. Maybe even when there is still snow on the ground. We’ll see how it goes.

The mysterious cluster of insect eggs. Or pollen. Who knows!

The mysterious cluster of insect eggs. Or pollen. Who knows!

Random side note:  This year when we cut the main heads, I discovered a cluster of what looked like yellow eggs on one of the broccoli stems. After a bit of searching, I came up empty as to what it was. Best guess was maybe ladybugs, but those looked like shinier eggs. It could just be a bunch of pollen trapped in a spider web, too. Has anyone else seen something like this?

 

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One of the few snakes hanging out in our yard.

One of the few snakes hanging out in our yard.

So it’s not as exciting as the movie title, but that’s where we found a small family of garter snakes this afternoon. Matt came home from a business trip and said there were a bunch of snakes hanging out on the tree stump between our yard and our neighbors’ yard.

I walked over and sure enough, there were four snakes slithering around the dried leaves, emerging flower plants and the tree stump. We watched them for a little bit and saw them disappear and re-emerge from a small hole.

It makes sense why we saw so many. Apparently April is near their peak breeding season.

While I’m not a fan of snakes (and consistently think they’re slimy even though I know they’re not), these garter snakes don’t bother me.

We don’t plan on getting rid of them because they can be beneficial to our garden and eat some insects (hoping they stick to the bad ones that destroy our plants).

Check out a few of the photos of our snake family below.

This is their home.

This is their home.

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Not too happy with the photo shoot.

Three of the four "family members."

Three of the four “family members.”

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