Thursday, May 6, 2010

Scattered Garden Notes

May 6th, 2010
Yesterday, I looked out my window and the heirloom roses we’ve had for all these years (brought by Grandpa from their tree and propagated here) were covered in black dots and green inchworms. The leaves had almost all been completely eaten and the completely healthy, flourishing rose from the DAY before was half way gone. Today? It is almost entirely gone. Hundreds and hundreds of these inchworms are on the underside of almost every leaf.
I am creating a shelf for nothing but my gardening books, pamphlets, journals and more so I can grab things as I need them. I got a growing favorite (The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control edited by: Barbara W. Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley) and found the problem after an unsuccessful internet search.

Caterpillars. Who would have thought tiny caterpillars could cause such extensive damage in a matter of HOURS.
We have the choice of treating this by manually destroying their nests or egg cases (haven’t inspected it closely enough to find these though!) OR spraying the leaves with BTK at the first sign of damage (too late?) OR as a last resort, applying pyrethrin spray.
1. I doubt as bad as the damage is on this plant and another just like it on the other side of the yard that removing the nests or egg cases is feasible. I haven’t seen either of these so maybe it would be easier if I knew what they looked like.
2. I had never even heard of BTK so I checked the book’s index and found out it is bacillus thuringiensis --- some sort of bacterial pest control and the first of it’s kind on the market. It sounds terrible because it produces crystal toxins that poison, paralyze, and kill various caterpillars. After further research online… it is supposed to be all natural and safe. It also said to use at first sign of damage but in two days time --- the damage was the entire plant!
3. I am concerned with how dangerous pyrethrin spray is and one of the rose bushes is on the corner of my organic herb garden. That would definitely change the organic part of things.
We’ll figure out something (hopefully) today!
We now have planted and growing well so far:
• Beets (well, these aren’t growing well yet --- the heavy rains washed them somewhere and only one survived and now I can’t find it.) Maybe they will show up somewhere.
• Radishes: Only a few seeds got planted and they too were washed away but I have more to plant. So these should have been in a different category but they are listed to help me keep myself on track with what we do have.
• Yellow squash: A few seeds were planted (all we had left from last year) and they are pushing their way to being seedlings. They are about 1 or 2 inches so far!
• Green bush beans. Doing excellent! They are several inches tall already!
• Cucumbers --- heading straight up! Each of the two areas they are planted in is doing very well.
• Morning glories are growing more by the day! They are each a few inches long.
• Watermelons are wild and wonderful. They are growing so well!
• Broccoli is planted but not sprouting yet.
• Zinnias have survived the kittens and being on the porch so far so I need to plant them today.
Coming to the garden as soon as we can get them planted:
• Radishes.
• Yellow squash.
• Onions.
• Zucchini.
• Tomatoes (cherry for snacks and salads, one for sandwiches, and another for dehydrating).
• Tomatoes (cherry for snacks and salads, one for sandwiches, and
• another for dehydrating).
• . Seeds to make a Sisters Garden like the Indians used to. I wanted
• to plant these last year but didn't have the right supplies but thanks to Kristen, I have instructions for one this year.
• . Radishes.
• . Cabbage.
• . Carrots.
• . Lettuce.
• . Onions.
• . Bell peppers.
• . Kids seed kits for the five little plots for our little ones. These
• kits are just gathered extras from Bountiful Gardens and don't contain any medicinal herbs or poisonous plants. How cute is that? There is now a tiny plot for Braxton (our 7 year old) and our grandlittles each have one: Emily (4), Caden (2), Hailey (9 months) and Elijah (almost 3 months). Needless to say, some of those will require a teeny bit of help from others!

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