Blog Archives

Squash Vine Borer Monitoring

If you’ve been reading this blog before this year, you’ll know that we try all kinds of things in an attempt to outwit the Squash Vine Borers. This year I’m not sure what all we’re planning to do, but we will be using the monitoring trap again, courtesy of the fine folks in the K-State Entomology Department.

Here’s a look at our fresh trap. The bottom part is covered with sticky glue, and I placed one of the vine borer pheromone lures  in the center.

**IMPORTANT NOTICE** This trap is for monitoring purposes only! It will not get rid of all your vine borers and completely protect your plants.

I decided to put the trap on one of the trellises in our vertical garden for 2 reasons. First, it is the area where we had squash planted last year. Second, it’s where we have squash planted this year. That wasn’t good planning, was it?

Technically, the trap will be next to the beans and melons. However, I think that 4 feet won’t be too far to expect the moths to fly!

I think it has been a little cool to see the moths coming out yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I see the first moth in a trap.

Seedlings & Aphids

Tomatoes and peppers in my office are growing like crazy, and at 4 weeks old, it is time for them to start getting some sun outdoors. Yesterday they spend several hours out in the garden, enjoying the cool, sunny weather with minimal wind.

I hope the weather is nice next week, because these guys definitely need to get outside more! Unfortunately, the flats of peppers that were on the lowest shelf of the light stand have been infested with aphids. I suspect that the aphids came from the rosemary plant that has been residing in my office.

You can kind of see several aphids on this pepper plant. I got some neem oil/pyrethrin spray and gave all the peppers a good dose of it. As soon as the plants have dried, I’ll bring them back inside. I’m afraid of leaving them out too long with an oil spray on them, because it might result in the leaves getting a little too scorched from the bright sunlight. Hopefully that will keep the aphids in check until we get everything planted.


One of the side effects of keeping greens growing all winter under a row cover is that not only do the plants survive, other things survive as well!

I went to pull out all the old spinach plants yesterday, and they were covered with aphids. The spinach was really past using since it was getting bitter, and a good thing too. The plants were almost slimy with aphids when I pulled them. You can see from this picture that some of the aphids have wings, which will allow them to go find new places to feed and multiply. (Oh goody!)

An infestation this sever would definitely warrant some sort of spray if we wanted to keep it going. Probably a neem oil or pyrethrin would be the product of choice. (Honestly, the spraying should have been done right when we took the row covers off, before the aphid population exploded!) I just pitched the whole mess into the compost bin. Probably not the wisest choice, but the winged aphids were going to go their merry way no matter what I did.

At any rate, we have lots of fat, happy ladybugs that have also survived the winter with all the aphids. We’ll just let them do the cleanup duty for awhile.


Friday PhotoEssay

Are you surviving the heat? I’m going to be taking off next week and heading to northern WI and southern MN, where the high temperatures are supposed to be in the 70s! Of course then I’ll be back here the following week and the 90 degree temperatures will feel hot again. I’ll probably post a few things of horticultural interest while I’m off gallivanting…we’ll see what there is to see.

I love growing radishes. They are all about instant gratification! You can’t get much more instantly gratifying for a vegetable gardener than to plant seeds on Tuesday morning and be able to take pictures of the seedlings by Friday morning. We have seedlings growing of the ‘April Cross’ Daikons, the ‘Green Meat’, ‘Red Meat’, and Mantanghong radishes. No sign of beets or carrots growing yet, but if they are going to grow, I would expect to see them coming up in the next several days.

Look what we found hanging out in our pepper plants! Isn’t it cute? I really love hornworms…well, if I find them before they can do major damage. You can really see the little hairs on his back, the suction cups on his abdomen, and his pointy little feet.

Sorry, I just had to indulge in another hornworm picture, especially since you couldn’t see his horn in the other picture.

We have a couple really nice (but still green) Brandywine tomatoes on our plant. I think we have a total of 3 fruit set on our plant…at least that’s all I’ve found so far in our tomato vine jungle.

The ‘Sunbelt’ grape is ripening and hasn’t yet been attacked by robins. From this picture, you can almost pretend that it’s in a huge vineyard, rather than the Demonstration garden!

Don’t those grapes look luscious and delicious?

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

It’s Friday, and that means pictures! Which reminds me…you all should go out and take a couple great tomato pictures to enter in our Tomato Day Photo Contest! Categories are Mr. Tomato Head, The Artistic Tomato, and Unique Tomato Growing Methods. (Maybe we need a category for critters that eat tomatoes?!?)

Speaking of critters eating plants, we have some quite content Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars on our fennel.

Then there’s this ugly guy on the long beans. I’m definitely not thrilled to have him around. It looks like either a corn earworm/tomato fruitworm (very lost, granted), or some sort of cutworm. Either way, he was smushed into the ground after I snapped a good picture!

Our ‘Mars’ seedless grape is starting to ripen. It is always the first of the three grapevines, and usually the most affected by black rot. You can see a shriveled grape that probably had black rot. There were whole clusters that were affected this year. This vine also has more leaf cover, which probably caused the disease to be worse than on the other two vines.

The ‘Orange Blossom’ looks like it will be the first non-cherry or non-early tomato to ripen. I have a picture of this same cluster from Tuesday and they are all green. This morning there are two beginning to turn orange. This isn’t the fully ripe color, but it will be exciting to see what they’re like!

Our Suhyo Cross Cucumbers are starting to take over their territory too. The plants went from being fairly small to covering the whole section of the garden in just a couple weeks! The cucumbers aren’t quite ready to pick yet, but they should be by sometime next week.

Have a great weekend!