Friday, May 28, 2010

The Squash Bugs Are Coming!

Everybody who raises squash dreads the arrival of two squash pests: the squash bug and the squash vine borer. Fortunately, the squash bug's egg clutches are easy to spot. While they are normally found on the underside of squash, zucchini, and melon leaves, these two clutches were sitting topside on two zucchini leaves. The eggs have to be removed with sticky tape or by just tearing off that portion of the leaf, and crushed. If not crushed, they'll hatch and create nymphs that will find their way back to the garden. I'll post a picture later this summer of adult squash bugs. The eggs indicate they're around, I just haven't seen them yet. The adults can be picked off and "dispatched."

Two clutches of squash bug eggs, the first one being a little fuzzy:



Nice zucchini. One of the best ways to eat raw zucchini is to make pasta out of it. I have a small, hand-powered appliance that shreds a zucchini into long strands just like spaghetti or pasta. Add your favorite pasta sauce and it makes a great mostly-raw dish. You can see to the right what happens to a zucchini or squash that doesn't get pollinated—dries up and will fall off:


Tomatoes on the vine:


I'm babying these "Black Cherry" tomatoes along in hopes of a harvest. I learned about these tomatoes from New Town Farms in last year's CSA program—the best cherry tomatoes I've ever tasted! The Black Cherries are the large, dark maroon tomatoes in this picture from last year's CSA. So good that I tracked down the seeds and am going to try to grow some of my own. You can eat these like candy standing by the vine.


The bread pan behind these Black Cherry seedling pots is filled halfway or so full of water, then set the green pots in the pan to allow them to wick up water from the bottom up instead of watering from top down. This helps prevent "damping off" disease from forming around the stalks of seedlings when the top layer of soil gets too wet. I'll move these starts into larger containers to grow—I have no more room in the ground.


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