Sunday, August 8, 2010

The tales of our Enchanted Garden

Who knew that gardening could be so exciting. It is warfare and beauty all mixed into one. When we arrived back to VA last week, we no longer had a few pumpkin leaves, it was now a full blown pumpkin patch that was slowly taking over our entire planter. Leaves so strong and high with so many male flowers blooming! We even found several female flowers. I was ecstatic...I thought we were going to miss them all while we were gone, but they were just starting to show! So we patiently waited for them to bloom so we could help pollinate but they just ended up wilting and falling off. I was ok with the first two falling off, but then we noticed the roots were starting to look yellow and all the leaves closest to the roots were wilting and dying.
We learned we had two problems...Powdery Mildew and Squash Vine Borers. The PM can be treated with a fungicide and removal of the infected leaves. However the SVB are pretty deadly. We saw the pics of others online and ran out to see how bad ours were...yup...terrible. Mike dissected some of the vines and in just a few of them found at least 6 borers (ugly little larvae). So the bugs we had been killing, the squash bugs was just one of our problems. The beautiful red bug flying around was the worst culprit; the SVB adult. AAHHH! So we had to do surgery and removed all the vines that had the holes and larvae in them, put mounds of dirt on the open vines and watered them. Hopefully it hasn't killed the pumpkins because we had to remove the main roots. But as most vine plants do, they plant secondary vines/roots along the ground to get more nutrition and water. Hopefully it will be enough to keep them going! However, they are starting to reach into the flower part of our garden which makes me nervous!

Then our green beans. We noticed holes in the leaves and little slivers on the sides that had been eaten. So again we used the wonderful internet and looked it up. Turns out we have caterpillars! It is so neat because they chew out a part of the leaf, turn it over themselves for protection. Mike and I went out with a flash light tonight and with the light shinning through the leaves we could see about 5 caterpillars. It is too cool, but I don't want them eating my bean leaves! We shall see how many make it and which ones turn into the butterfly. Here is a picture of the adult Long Tailed Skipper...pretty neat huh? We have several butterfly bushes in the front of the planter which they just love!

Here is our Red Pepper plant blooming. Beautiful white blossoms. We will be pollinating them tomorrow and hopefully see more peppers! The one that has been on there since we got it has finally turned red and now just waiting for it to be rip enough to pick!

The green beans bloom little purple flowers and are self pollinating. So we shouldn't have to worry about them. Can you see the red thing in the middle of the plants (not the red thing on the very left side of the picture, but the bigger one towards the middle? That is our red pepper!)

This is on the underside of one of the pumpkin leaves. These are squash bug eggs and they had just hatched. After we got back home, we knocked off eggs from at least 10 leaves and killed several adult bugs.

A Female blossom! See the baby pumpkin? It had to pollinate after it opened...too bad this is one that fell off too soon.

What we came home to! A full and beautiful garden! Kinda crazy looking huh?

A week later here is the damage. See the bald spot in the middle? That is where the SVB have overtaken and eaten the roots and vines.

Here is a shot of what used to be a very healthy and growing root system. I would post pics of the larvae and the holes, but it really grosses me out.

Again see the bald spot on the right side of the pumpkins? From the right of our planter there are the beans and pepper, then the pumpkins and then the flowers on the left. So the bald area is between the beans and the pumpkin:-(

Here is the branch that fell onto our deck and fence. Mike got a chain saw and chopped it right up. The fence fixed just fine but the deck is another story. Guess that will be next summer's project!
Here is little man Logan helping Mike out. He was a real trooper and drug the branches (his size) out to the front yard! I have never seen a 3 year old work so hard!
Another view of the damage.

On a lighter note...we transplanted the Hydrangea to the back yard so it would get much more shade and it is loving it back there. So happy for that! I can see it out my window from the kitchen and living room!


Molly said...

This post made my head spin! I don't know squat about gardening, but I love seeing your pictures. Keep it up girl. What a bummer about that tree. It's probably best you weren't home for that one????

Joey&Casey said...

Wow, that was a lot to come home to! The garden looks great in spite of the bug attacks! How did you get such a great close up? Macro lens? Beautiful!