Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Sad Day for Our Garden

Yesterday was a very destructive day for the garden.  We were on vacation for a week and in that time we lost a battle with cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt that we didn’t even know we were fighting.  Before we left, we had noted that the cucumbers were struggling, so we sprayed them with an organic insecticide, but it was too little too late.  Apparently, the cucumber beetle is a carrier for bacterial wilt.  When they munch on a leaf, the wilt is transmitted and once a plant is infected, there is nothing that can stop it.  The entire plant dies.  Unfortunately, the cucumber beetle is not a picky eater.  They will go for pretty much anything with a yellow flower – zucchini, muskmelons, tomatoes, squash, etc.  When we returned from vacation, all of the cucumbers AND the crenshaw melons had bacterial wilt.  Yesterday, I removed the infected plants (I left one cucumber and two crenshaws that looked like they still had a little strength in them but it’s only a matter of time before they bite the dust).  After that, I realized that at least one of the zucchini plants was swarming with beetles so they were doused with the organic insecticide.  I am anxiously watching over the other two zucchinis and our tomato plants (which are officially taller than me and I am very protective of them).  I am afraid that I am going to have to turn to more conventional insecticides just for this year for this battle simply because we have lost so much already and apparently you need to do the integrated pest management against cucumber beetles from the start of each plant, so it’s too late for a more natural approach.  We were happy that we got so many cucumbers already, but the melons are such a disappointment because we had picked the crenshaw, which are not typically found in farmers’ markets.  No crenshaws for us this year…. 

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