Friday, July 27, 2012

too much too late?

After weeks of no rain, desperate prayers from farmers and choking on the baked dust coating Our Fair State, the storms arrived.  It's been raining, on and off, for three days now.  We've had 4 inches of rain, an astounding 3 inches fell in one night.  The world has taken on a faint tinge of green, though I suspect things just look greener because the rain washed the dust away.  Instead of remembering to move the sprinklers on the vegetable beds, I'm remembering to close windows.  And it's cooled off--a balmy 85 degrees instead of 95!

I'm not sure if all this rain will help the farmers, but at least our stressed trees, shrubs and flowers got some relief. 

The squash beetles arrived right on time again.  I stand torn between wanting to destroy them with poison in order to save the zucchini and throwing up my hands in despair because how can you effectively destroy one type of bug without killing all the beneficial bugs?  I look at those sweet honey bees, dragon flies (swooping and whizzing around our yard each evening snapping up the mosquitoes) and earthworms and they give me pause.  And then I read a little more about how I can organically decimate the squash beetle population without adversely affecting those insects I do like--butterflies, crickets and those colorful sharpshooter leafhoppers. 


The sharpshooter leafhopper.  A snazzy little bug with a snazzy name.

It turns out I should've left some pumpkins to rot in my gardens to attract some squash beetles last fall and then squashed/drowned them before they could burrow in and lay eggs before this summer. And apparently I should set a small board at the base of each squash plant and check beneath it daily for signs of squash bugs--and kill them on site.  I should've also dug a root cellar so I can store the pumpkins that are ready and protect them from those nasty beetles.

I know so much now, but all of it comes too late to help this season's harvest.

In other news, the prairie blooms vigorously and I've got plenty of green beans to pick for supper.


  1. Wow - that leafhopper is gorgeous.

    Glad you're getting some rain! Send some my way - it's one of those drought places you see on the maps!

  2. The rain has been crazy! My backyard and garden is like a jungle. We don't have squash beetles (yet), but we are lucky enough to have a pair of chipmunks with a taste for squash blossoms. I think we're doomed.

  3. That leafhopper is spectacular! I've never seen one of those.

    We have only had a small amount of rain --enough to set the weeds growing, and green up some of the grass in the shade. I'm grateful because I don't have to move the sprinkler constantly, but it's just so depressing to walk through the garden. So I've just been ignoring it. Poor burned out plants.

    Your plan for fighting the squash bugs next year sounds . . . hard?

  4. I've never seen a leafhopper.
    Squash and pumpkin growing is hard work!

  5. VERY cute leafhopper and so colorful! I thought all things that hopped were ugly, but this guy is showing that's not so. Good for your area getting rain... poor farmers must be ready to throw in the towel by now though... :-((

  6. That is a snazzy bug!
    Now you're armed with some great info for next season...better than pesticides.

  7. I bet the prairie is beautiful! I wish I could see it.

  8. Well, you're totally prepared for NEXT year, right? What a lovely bug!

  9. I use neem oil to repel the squash bugs. You spray it on the leaves and it works fantastically well without bothering the bees.

    I caught them in the nymph stage and I check every day. The leafs with the eggs on it, I cut off. So far, so good.

  10. yes..the evil beetles are back in my garden..I am still trying to pick them off but I see my plants wilting... I too hate the thought of spraying...

  11. *sigh* At least you'll be ready for next year? That is one spectacularly colored pest.

  12. Here? It's just hot, hot, hot. We've got an industrial fan and a water mister for the dogs. And I'm opening my car door with a potholder. The end.

  13. I soooo love the phrase "the prairie blooms vigorously"!!

    Also, even if you'd had the knowledge about what to do to rein in the bugs, would you have had the time?

    I'm glad you guys got rain. Super glad.

  14. That IS a snazzy little bug! Surely he had a cameo in A Bug's Life.

    Glad you got some rain. Hope the cooldown lasts!

  15. Ah, yes. Hindsight is always 20/20. Advice that tells us we "should have" done this or that doesn't help a whole awful lot. Oh, well, there's always next year.


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