Garden wars…

If you don’t like graphic images of bugs you ought to just move on to something else now…Just a warning. Not trying to run you off or anything, but there isn’t any quilting in THIS post! LOL

Someone commented earlier today that once you begin planting a garden and you get that first little green plant growing in the ground, that your battles with the bugs just begin. Boy, were they ever right! I am learning so much with my garden this year. I have heard so much about beneficial bugs and bad bugs, the problem is, when you are just starting out you don’t know the difference!

I didn’t have much problem with bugs until about the last two or three weeks. The moisture we got in July was hard on the garden and I had fungal problems then. I think this is a result of a fungus. This is mainly confined to the Champion tomatoes which I had no problem with last year.

Here in August the heat AND humidity has set in, and the bugs are multiplying in droves.

First was the squash bug scare at my mother-in-law’s garden. They decimated her squash plants….so that got me looking here at my pumpkins, cukes, and melons. Darned if I didn’t begin finding eggs on the underside of leaves! So I had to begin spraying those. I was pretty aggressive as I had seen the quick damage they did to the MIL’s plants, but I did lose some of one plant. I think it was more squash vine borers that got that one as opposed to the squash bugs.If you look very closely near the  base of the stem on this pumpkin you will see a hole that goes up into the stem. Here is what was in there – I think this is a vine borer, but don’t quote me as I am no expert and just learning. Fortunately this hadn’t bored into the skin of the pumpkin, just into the vine going away from the pumpkin.

The same day I found the vine borer, I had picked some beans and I found these little buggers in a couple of the beans! I have no idea what they are and haven’t had time to research that one yet….

Same day…different plant species – This was an ear of corn (I will have to tell you my funny story on my corn….) and look what I found there. What is up with that? Can’t I grow anything without having the bugs eat if first? I looked it up at the time and this was some kind of worm common to corn, can’t remember the name right now, but the rows of spots were very distinctive.

See why I have been a little paranoid about my garden? And not getting so much quilting done?

This is the underside of a sunflower leaf. I don’t know if you can see them or not, but each of those little black specks is a baby bug.

I think this is the parent-I haven’t been able to identify him at all. He has a hard shell that is vertical, not flat, and is spiny. He almost looks like part of the plant. Mini-me and I ended up squishing all of these we could find by hand….a gardener has to do what a gardener has to do.

This is what I found last night on one tomato plant that has struggled all year. I researched them on-line and found these are leaf legged bugs and are related to squash bugs and stink bugs. Mom called them army bugs, because they come in swarms and they destroy. I think this was the scouting party…..I didn’t have time to spray the lower gardens last night before it got dark, I was busy spraying the pumpkins (did I mention my family LOVES pumpkins, and these are PIE pumpkins, not jack o’ lanterns!). Important things first.

This picture shows several stages of growth. The little red one is the youngest nymph, and then the dark gray one on top is probably the oldest of this bunch. See the parts on the back legs of the big one that kind of looks like a leaf? That is why they are called leaf legged bugs.

Here are some more on some dried up leaves. This plant was absolutely covered with them! They are, like squash bugs, very skittish and fast and are hard to catch and squish by hand. Not a viable option like some other bugs….

This discovery caused me to look around more –

and here is one of those babies on a corn leaf. Hmm. Action needs to be taken but had to wait a day….which was almost a fatal mistake. I can only spray in the evenings when the bees and other beneficial insects aren’t so active and I didn’t have time to do this lower garden. Then Mom told me they were called army bugs this afternoon….The kids and I went out after supper to check the garden and spray. Before I even had the sprayer out, Mini-me was yelling at me that there were leaf legged bugs all over the corn. Sure enough, I looked and there were probably 200 or so of the bugs on each ear of corn! The scouting party had called in reinforcements! At least I could see a lot of progress when I finally got around to spraying.

This is an unidentified bug. Mini-me is my bug hunter. He can find bugs anywhere, the only problem is he thinks he has to pick them up to bring them to me to show me! I really wish he wouldn’t do that. This one wasn’t biting him, so I took a picture of it before we squished it (preventive measure just in case it was a bad bug!).

I promised I would tell you my corn story. This is the first time I have ever tried to grow corn. Mom never grew it either. My MIL has grown it the last couple of years and has always gotten really nice stands and quite a bit of corn to eat so I just assumed it was pretty easy. Well, my corn had problems, probably cutworms, and so was started late, actually three different plantings of it! Then when it grew, I joked to the Hunter that I had planted “dwarf corn” as it was only about 2 feet tall when it began to silk out and pollinate. I had one type of corn that was a little taller, maybe 4 feet tall. A couple weeks ago I picked some where the tassels had dried even though it didn’t look big enough to eat. Sure enough, it was ready, but the ears were only about 2″ long! We had a dinner with five 2 inch ears of corn. I think I really did plant dwarf corn! The corn that is now infested was going to be picked this week to see what might be salvaged, but now I think it is going to get burned….

Have I told you I am learning to hate bugs?

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