Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Has Started

Most people thought summer was on June 20th, but in my garden it is when the summer pests start to rear their ugly little heads. Yes that would be today. I saw my first Japanese beetle and first vine borer today. Japanese beetles are annoying, but are easily killed by brushing them into soapy water. At 10:30 today the first drowning occurred marking the transition to summer. I found it strange that it was also the day of the first vine borer.

Vine borers are harder to deal with. I've yet to find an effective solution. I am going to plant a late planting of zucchini and yellow squash around July 1st and keep them under row covers until the borers disappear. But what can you do about them if you don't use a row cover, like my first planting? Each borer can lay a zillion tiny little eggs. Ok they lay about a hundred or two. But all by themselves along the stem, on the leaves, I've even had them on the fruit. Everywhere. I pick them off when I see them, but you know I'm going to miss some lots. I dig them out of the stem as soon as possible, but still the plant suffers, and eventually are weakened and they succumb to mildew. Sigh. Maybe I'll row cover my pumpkins while they still have a chance.

At least the butterflies were out today. I saw a yellow swallowtail and a monarch today, along with a lot of other lesser, but pretty butterflies that I don't know the names of. I tried chasing them down with my camera, but they wouldn't let me get that close. My black swallowtail caterpillars are long gone. They each reached a particular size and disappeared. I think they are off pupating. I'm hoping. I thought they took about a month and a half to grow big enough for that, but I recently read that if it is early enough in the season they can take less than 2 weeks. So initially I was worried that they were eaten by birds, but now I think they are ok. Maybe I'll have another batch of them later. I'll have to plant more dill for them, my current dill is going to seed. Or maybe they will be happy with my parsley.

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