Thursday, August 9, 2007

A few days ago I witnessed violence in our garden. One very large flying insect carrying another very large insect landed beneath one of the pepper plants. In almost no time it pulled its prey into a nickel sized hole in the ground and vanished. The incident happened so fast and unexpectedly that I was somewhat unsure of what I really saw and I could not identify either insect.

The next day I saw the hornet. It was as fearsome as an insect gets. Some of the larger bees are scary looking, but they ignore you and don't pose any threat. This hornet perceived that I was on its territory and was not happy about it.

Now I had a problem. I wanted to protect those that wandered in that part of the garden, but I did not want to spray its nest. So, I built a trap. And it worked. And I learned that hornets drown very quickly.

Unfortunately, later I saw a second one, which I also trapped. But it escaped before I could enjoy its demise. So, beware when you are in the middle of the peppers. You will know one's around by its noise and the shadow its casts as it passes overhead.

BTW, I mounted the first victim. Even when its dead, the hornet is unnerving.

After the 1.75" rainfall we noticed a much larger hole near the site of the first hornet nest. I am hoping it is from a mole hole and not a larger hornet.

This week the squash vine borers took a large toll. These flying insects lay eggs at the base of the vine. The larva hatch and bore into the plant where they feed on and damage the main stem, which ultimately rots the plant at its base. The Red Kuri, acorn and zucchini all suffered. The bug doesn't bother other similar vining plants like the pumpkins and scaloppini squash.

The squash borer arrives every year in my garden. This year we are trying a backup plan. We planted additional zucchini and crook-necked squash in the small garden several weeks after the 1st planting. The idea is that the insects lay the eggs early in the year before the second planting is up. So, the 2nd planting may not be infected. We'll see.

It has not been all mayhem this week.

We cleared off areas in the small garden that had 1st plantings of beets and chard, onions, and radishes. Rebecca planted more Chinese cabbage, and when the weather breaks we'll start more fall plantings.

OK, where are all the 'slicing' tomatoes - the regular, round, fat, juicy tomatoes for everyday use? We planted at least 8 plants labeled "Rutgers", which is a good field tomato. Something's wrong. Most of our tomatoes are Roma, which are good for sauces and drying. I do not know what happened. In spite of this, we're not in bad shape. We still have lots of Early Girl's that are a good replacement for the Rutgers.

Here's this week's status:
Cucumbers *** (2nd planting is producing a darker, more traditional looking cucumber. The Chinese cucumbers are best at about 1 foot long.)
Bush beans ** (First planting is fading, 2nd planting of one row is starting. Pick at about 1/8 inch in diameter.)
Tomatoes **** yes, for cherry, Roma, a few yellow, Early Girl (slicing)
Beets **** 2nd planting is nice. Some are the 'Cylindria' variety. Unlike the 'Detroit Red', they stick up out of the soil. We enjoyed these tonight.
Dill done
Hot banana peppers ***** (yes, yes, these are marked with a red string on the cages. There are some cute round red ones, too.)
Other peppers ****
Bell, Pablano (Ancho when dried), relleno (for stuffing), pimento (wait until red?), jalapeño (a little early, I think), & mild banana.
Chard ***** (2nd planting, very good greens.)
Onions ** (all harvested and drying)
Carrots done
Radishes none
zucchini ** try the plant in the small garden
scalopinni squash ***** (harvest when about 3 or 4 inches across, the large ones make fine weapons)
acorn squash * (wiped out. we have a few in storage if you want some.)
tomatillos **** we've enjoyed some verde salsa! they sweeten as they ripen. I like them raw.
potatoes ***** Harvest as needed! They are really nice.

Here is an updated map of the (green, red and purple bell) peppers. The plants at the bottom of the list are closer to the house.
gr. bell gr. bell pablano
gr. bell gr. bell pablano
p. bell ? bell pablano
p. bell jalapeño pablano
p. bell jalapeño pablano
red bell jalapeño pablano
red bell jalapeño pablano
red bell relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
sw banana relleno pimiento
Hot red cherry relleno pimiento
hot banana relleno pimiento
hot banana relleno pimiento

Warm regards,


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