Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Home Grown Part 5: caterpillars, beetles and grubs.. Oh my!

Holy pests. They've just about wiped out my squash bed. Last week I was harvesting a zucchini or two a day, but about half of my plants have died since then. I spent the evening ripping out the dead plants, and was sad to see some of my ripening winter squash get ripped out with them. Take a look at the pictures below. I think squash bugs are the culprit, but I'm not sure. 
I had to rip up all the plants with rotted stems.
Gross, fat larvae have taken over the stems.
These pretty but obnoxious caterpillars (juvenile squash bugs?)
are munching my leaves.
An adult squash bug maybe? I've been picking these off the plants for weeks.
It's a bummer this spaghetti squash had to go.
This one, which was growing up the side of the shed, had to go, too.
The butternut squash plant survived though!
If anyone has any organic pest control methods for these specific bugs I'd love to hear them. My once very prolific squash bed has been reduced to a few vines. Logan is still being an excellent helper though!
He's learned to aim the hose at the plants instead of me..

.. but spraying the fence is fun too apparently.

I planted new seeds in place of the old plants. To be honest, I'm pretty sick of the yellow summer squash (I roasted the last of the harvest for dinner last night), so I planted cucumber seeds in their place. The goal is to make pickles! The seed packets say squash and cucumbers can be planted through July, so hopefully it's not too late for them. I did the same thing with peas, replanting pea seeds after harvesting the last bunch, but that's not working out so well. The peas are flowering and producing pathetic pea pods before the plants have a chance to really grow. It may be too late in the season for peas. Boo.
Puny peas

The rest of the garden is coming along beautifully. Check it out!

I've been harvesting beets and carrots from this bed, and check out that beautiful basil!
Tomatoes gone wild. I should have staked these, because they're really taking over.
My poor beans have completely disappeared underneath them.

This is supposed to be a pepper plant, but I think it's an impostor. Any guesses as to what it is? 
Follow the rest of my garden progress, with parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.


  1. My garden suffered at the mouths of hungry beetles last summer. I did as much research as i could in my limited time frame. Some of the best organic solutions i came across were a peper and soap spray which unfortunatley has to be reapplied every other day or so, as it rinses off with the morning dew, and planting hetbs that attract insects which eat the peky critters. That along with hood crop rotation were the best advice i can provide.
    This summer was a busy one for me (finished up my bs degree and got married) so i kept my garden pretty low maintenence but took the advice anout crop rotation, changed beds and omitted some of my more usual prolific crops in lue of low care items and planted a border of wonderful herbs and edible flowers around each garden bed. Even with the drought we suffered this summer in my region the butterflys and bees were beautiful and our usual asian beetle attack never came nor did those pesky tomato or squash beetles!
    I recomend checking which plants in your area attract prediture insects to the beetles and let nature run its course.
    Hope that helps - love the blog, keep up the good work

    1. Thank you for the advice! I'll keep those things in mind for next year. I didn't do much for pest control except picking the beetles off when I saw them. I had no idea that they were boring into the stems as well. Planting herbs and edible flowers that repel insects is one thing I regret not doing this year. It's in my notes for next year though! I'm glad to hear your garden was at least beetle free. Congratulations on getting married and graduating!
      Wishing you the best,