Monday, May 20, 2013
The saga continues
The squash vine borer is my sworn enemy. I have accepted this. Every year I try something new in order to get rid of this nasty pest. I know my sworn enemy is not as bad as Lex Luther to Superman or Moriarty to Sherlock Holmes. After all, no one is injured except my plants (and my pride) and I can continue to grow them, possibly even inside. I could poison the villains or I could always buy organic squash at several local supermarkets.
I just think there must be a way to rid an organic garden of vine borers and have a decent crop of squash, not worth swearing over or resorting to using Sevin. I will continue to try new things in hopes that I will one day find an answer.
One year I cut the dastardly worms out of the vines. The vines died and were weakened so that squash bugs finished them off. That was a really bad year.
The next year I tried planting in stages. All the vines became infested and I hardly had any squash.
Last year I covered the vines until they began to bloom. Much better. I did get some squash at first before the vine destroyers attacked. I also tried growing some in straw bales at my house. I didn't have enough sun and the vine borers found them. It was all over but the crying!
This year I am spraying a sticky neem oil on the vines and then covering them with a diatomaceous earth. A substance that is like walking on glass to insects. I will have to do this after every rain but I have had success with this product, it is even edible and the bees are not effected by it. Since it has been unseasonably cool, I don't think the vine borer wasp has hatched out yet so I can't know if my plan is working.
I also have some syringes and if infested, I will try injecting some Bacillus thuringiensis into the hollow leaves, which is supposed to kill worms.
Yes, this is another episode in the story of Me vs. the deadly vine borer. I just hope to win one day.
All I can say is hurry up Extension offices around the country and Master Gardeners--the elite military forces for garden good. This gardener sure needs your help in putting this bad guy away. I'll let you know if my new tactic works!