A group of middle schoolers planning a garden project for the spring suggested that this might be a good addition to our educational links and we agreed! Happy reading!
We recently received a note from a teacher in Colorado Springs that came upon our website while teaching her daughter about gardening! It is awesome that we are reaching so far with our garden success. She provided a link to another site that has lots of great gardening information that could be helpful as well.
Thank you Rebecca and Katie Conner from Colorado Springs!
We are battling numerous insects on our garden this year. Japanese Beetles, Striped Cucumber Beetles, Squash Bugs, Mexican Bean Beetle, Squash Vine Borer and the most recent one discovered is the Asiatic Garden Beetle. There isn't much that we can do for for several of these other than making sure that we are picking them off and killing them as much as we can. Surround, Neem oil and various other home-made formulas are being used with mixed success. The Mofga web site is a great place to go for information of many of the pests that we battle here in Maine: http://www.mofga.org/Publications/PestReports/PestReports2012/tabid/2178/Default.aspx?PageContentMode=1
Squash Borer Damage - July 31st, 2012
Last night I went into the garden to check my beds and my once beautiful squash plants were looking suddenly wilted. I had just been there two days ago! That was not a good sign. After examining the plants I decided that there was something seriously wrong and the plant wasn't going to make it. So I pulled it out of the ground and looked at the area that was all mushy and there was a Squash Borer hiding. If you look closely you will see the white worm with some ridges on it. I proceeded to kill the worms that I saw, had to pull two other plants and put them on the burn pile outside of the garden. Unfortunately, there is no saving the plant after this happens. if you would like some information on how to deal with this pest you can read this report: Squash bug and Squash Vine Borer Control.
This document was given to us at one of the workshops with Dick Brzozowski of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service. Lots of good information. Organic Pesticides-july-3-12
This document was given to us at one of the workshops with Dick Brzozowski of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service. Lots of good information. Squash Bugs-july-3-12
The cutworm is a gray/brown caterpillar. It is somewhat shiny and plump. Cutworms feed on the stems of plants and are very fond of seedlings. The cutworm comes in several types with different feeding patterns. The tunnel-making cutworm feeds just under the soil surface where the seedling will spring up. There are climbing cutworms that feed on plant stems and flower buds, leaves and the army cutworm that travels in a group or platoon.
Identification of Infestation
The cutworm larvae will start to feed at the beginning of spring. The cutworm lays eggs on broad-leaved weeds or grass. All cutworms are night feeders. Because the cutworm is a night feeder you will see the damage before you see the cutworms. One of the major signs of cutworms is a row of seedlings which have been chewed in half at the stem. You might also see cutworm damage with chewed leaves or holes in fruit.
The best way to verify you have cutworm is to get out in your yard at night with a flashlight. Look at the soil just under the damaged plants. The cutworm will be just underneath the surface and will be about an inch long.
Treatment and Prevention
If you have had cutworm infestation in the past then dig up the soil in the fall and expose the cutworms. Also keep leaf debris to a minimum to keep cutworm out of the garden.
If you want to try a bacterial insecticide use Bacillus thuringiensis. The bacteria will kill the cutworms but will not harm humans or other animals.
To protect seedlings from cutworms cut a cardboard tube like a toilet paper or paper towel roll in half and put around the seedling. Secure the tubes by pushing them into the soil. You can also try a tuna or cat food can with the bottom and top removed. Place the seedling in the middle of the can and push the can half way into the soil. Both of these items will effectively block cutworms.
Sticky bands, available from your local nursery are also effective against cutworms. The cutworm cannot get by the sticky band and will not be able to harm the fruit or leaves.
Another effective tool to fight cutworms is bran. Mix the bran in a bowl with Bacillus thuringiensis and molasses and spread around the soil of plants that might be a target of cutworms. The bran will attract the cutworm and the Bacillus thuringiensis will kill the cutworms.
Removing weeds, especially those with broad leaves, will prevent cutworms from laying their eggs near susceptible plants. It might also be a good idea to put some type of barrier between your grassy areas and your seedlings as cutworms like to lay their eggs on grass blades.
You can also physically remove cutworms. The cutworm feeds at night and will curl up in a ball when touched. This makes the cutworm easy to remove.
Some of the plants that cutworms like best are Gladiolus, Chrysthanemum, Carnation and Petunia. Of the edible plants, cutworms prefer tomatoes, peppers, peas and beans.
Because cutworms are slow moving and easy to spot at night they are a pest that is easily overcome. Keep your plants cutworm safe with preventative measures and a quick response should cutworm the pest turn up your garden.
Information and Photo taken from http://todaysgardenideas.com
Here is a link to an article on late blight that affects tomatoes – especially organic tomatoes. Late Blight is moving up the east Coast and has been seen as far North as New York. Become informed now! http://www.rodale.com/late-blight-2012
As a committee member, one of my assigned responsibilities is education. I am hoping to help all of our gardeners by providing educational information that will help us all be successful this year. If you have any links or suggestions you would like to see posted here, just send me an email through our Contact Information page. Thanks. RM