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Friday PhotoEssay

The handout from today’s Lunch in the Garden is available on that page, including this week’s recipe, Spring Lemon & Thyme Dressing. Yum! Thanks to Lisa for sharing this recipe with us!

Everything may not be “coming up roses” in the Demo Garden right now, but there sure are a lot of things in bloom! Herbs, squash, flowers, and more every day. Sadly, one thing that isn’t going to be producing any more roses  is the climbing rose bush that was on the trellis of our Quiet Garden.

The rose had just started putting on some new growth after being pruned, and that new growth came out dark red with excessive thorniness – a sign of Rose Rosette, an incurable disease. Any rosebush with this disease needs to be removed ASAP. For all the sad, gory details about Rose Rosette, you can view the K-State Fact Sheet.

The tomato plant with the best looking fruit right now is the ‘Orange Blossom’ Tomato. It is a determinate, and it does have a much smaller plant than some of the others. It looks like it’s going to have a nice crop of early fruit!

The Monarda (sometimes called Bee Balm) is in bloom in the center of the herb garden. I’m not sure why some of it is lighter pink – maybe it’s a different variety and I just didn’t realize it.

It’s so pretty that it almost makes you think that grasshopper is harmless! Yeah, right. There are tons of tiny grasshoppers hopping all over right now. They are cute enough, except that they will become huge, destructive grasshoppers by the end of the summer!

This is a flashback to the end of last summer…now that’s a big grasshopper! You could really sink your teeth into one of those. (Yes, I’m kidding…sort of.)

I’ll leave you with this as your warm, fuzzy picture for the weekend. This is one of our thyme plants that is just gorgeous right now. (There, is that better than another grasshopper picture?)

Friday PhotoEssay

I think the garden, by and large, is enjoying the warm weather this week, especially the fact that it hasn’t rained! The strawberries are pretty much done for the time being, but the other fruit is hot on their heels. I’ve posted the handout & recipe for this week’s Lunch in the Garden, featuring Lemon Balm, on the Lunch in the Garden page.

Don’t these look luscious? They are just starting to ripen, so I seem to get too impatient and end up eating a not-quite-ripe and a little bit tart berry every third one or so. The black raspberries are an unknown variety that was mislabeled as a ‘Chester’ Blackberry when I started working here. The red currants are ‘Cascade,’ and this is the first year that the plant looks really good and has a decent number of fruit on it.  Unfortunately, our plants are rather too close together, so I’m sure I’m missing some fruit.

The Bean Leaf Beetles are having a field day with our beans. You know, if the critters weren’t so destructive, there really is a rather artistic quality about some of the holes in the leaves.

This ‘Blues Hybrid’ Napa Cabbage is headed to my plate pretty quick here…I think there is a pot sticker recipe with its name on it!

The Chinese Long Beans haven’t been bothered by the Bean Leaf Beetles, and they love the heat! They have finally really taken off, and I think they are growing at least 3-4″ up the trellis each day. The best part is that they are finding their way up the trellis all by themselves, without any assistance!

A pair of Mallard Ducks have decided that our compost bins are the best place to build their nest. The mama duck has been dutifully sitting on the eggs for several days now. I’m glad she found a relatively safe nesting site, but it does rather hinder our efforts to make compost.

Have a great weekend!

Attack of the Squash Vine Borer, Thwarted?

Does my title strike you as perhaps slightly too optimistic? Maybe just a little bit…

We have caught 2 or maybe 3 Squash Vine Borer Moths in our pheromone trap so far. 2 of the moths I know are SVBs, but the third one I’m not 100% sure on. (Isn’t that an awful picture? A SVB moth and miscellaneous other insects in the death throes of a glue trap. Okay, I just made it worse, didn’t I?)

Knowing that we have some “unprotected” squash plants on the other side of the garden, I thought I’d check them to see if there were any signs of SVB eggs or larvae. Lo and behold, what did I find on BOTH of the squash plants? Yeah, you guessed it.

If you look really close at the base of this squash plant, you can see those brown, scaly disks, which I believe are Squash Vine Borer eggs. It fits pictures that I’ve seen, and they look like eggs. I scraped them off all sides of the stem that I could see on both of the squash plants. I haven’t checked the ones under the row cover yet to see how they are doing – and if they are egg free!

Friday PhotoEssay

Another week and everything is STILL a soggy mess! It looks clear over the weekend – clear and hot, so everything can burn to a crisp! (I’m in a really cheery mood today, aren’t I?) We had our Demo Garden work day this morning, since we got rained out on Tuesday.

We have been seeing TONGS of these tiny little grasshoppers all over the garden. They are still quite small to cause major damage, but I’m not looking forward to all the big grasshoppers in a month or two.

I took a peak at the squash under the row cover this morning, and they are looking great! They are at least twice as big as the squash that aren’t under the cover. Extra warmth, and less beating from rain and wind really do wonders! Unfortunately, the weeds under the cover are twice as big too.

The very first citrus marigold flower, on the ‘Tangerine Gem’ plants. Look at all those buds coming! These will be really pretty in a couple weeks.

Two of our Master Gardeners are conferring over which annual flowers should be planted where in our front lattice garden. We are trying out a bunch of Prairie Star annuals and some Prairie Star annual trials.

Except for the Chinese (Napa) Cabbage that is getting really big and beautiful, all the other Asian greens got pulled out to make way for our summer vegetables. Here a Master Gardener is planting ‘Suyo Cross’ Japanese Cucumbers where those greens used to be.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Keeping Insects Out – Literally

This morning in the Demonstration Garden, we implemented 2 1/2 methods of insect control that are maybe something different from what you’ve seen before.

The first thing we are trying out is bagging our apples. We have all of 3 apples on our tree, so it wasn’t too labor intensive!

We just took 3 sandwich bags and zipped them over the apple, enclosed on the stem of the apple. Then we put a staple on either side of the stem to help hold the bag in place. The idea behind this is to prevent most of the insects that infest apples from laying their eggs on the apples. This method is supposed to work very well against apple maggot, but I don’t know how effective it will be against codling moth. It will be interesting to see how the apples do!

We also put up this pheromone trap for the Squash Vine Borer. The intent of this trap isn’t to catch every single Squash Vine Borer moth so that they don’t lay eggs on the squash plants. The goal is to catch some of the moths so we know when there are squash vine borer moths out flying around and laying eggs. When we catch a moth or two, we know that it is time to spray the plants to kill off any larva that are hatching. The general recommendation to prevent squash vine borer is to spray every 7-10 days! The trap could help us only spray when we really really really need to. (This is the “1/2” of a method, in case you were curious.)

The other thing we are doing to try to outwit the squash vine borers is to use light weight row covers on hoops (low tunnels) over our new squash seedlings. Similar to the apple bagging, this method is trying to exclude the pests in question. By putting on the row covers, the moths won’t be able to lay eggs on the plants. The only way this method works is if you are rotating where you plant your squash, because the pupae of the moths overwinter in the soil near where the plants were the previous year. The moths hatch out when it gets warm in early summer. Obviously the row covers would be a bad idea if the moths hatch out under the row covers!