Skip to main content

Death to Squash Bugs

I enjoy to gardening. I always have. My mother used to call me Luther Burbank when I was young. A child of the 60s and 70s, I started talking to my houseplants and playing them classical music. Anyone else remember that? The idea that plants respond to our voices and prefer classical music to grow by? I spent hours telling my plants how beautiful they were. To watch me squirm my father used to go to my bedroom door and shout, "I am going to rip your leaves off!" After such an assault I spent my time convincing the plants that they were safe in my care.

My mother laughed at me but she would also have me tend her houseplants. I got her snake plant to bloom every year even though they are supposed to bloom every 5-7 years. (Which is a good thing because the flower's scent is sickeningly sweet.) Anyway, if it's not too hot outside, you will find me in the garden. I like the way it smells. I like the way it feels. I am excited by the sunflowers, bell peppers and green beans. Watching Swiss chard growing rocks my world. And of course I like to grow squash. Normally a prolific producer, I put it in everything. Omelettes, spaghetti sauce, breads, salads, on the barbecue, you name it.

This year I decided that I was going to plant several varieties of squash. For the last two years I have grown the standards; zucchini, yellow crookneck and scalloped squash. I didn't know when I planted the scalloped squash, (we called them 'martian heads' in my family) that I was introducing my friends and neighbors in Kentucky to something new. One of the women in my church, Janice, is a gardener and I introduced her to martian heads last year. She and her husband loved them. This year she is growing them. She and her husband shared their "rattlesnake" beans with me. A great friendship is developing over our horticultural interests.

Because having a new variety of squash to give to folks has been so much fun I wanted to expand my squash garden this year. I thought it would be nice to have some acorn squash for fall and winter. The seeds that were available when I lived in California and what are available here in Kentucky are vastly different. Unable to locate what I wanted I went to the net and began to search. My quest started with the acquisition of spaghetti squash and pink banana squash seeds. I have grown both of these successfully in California.

I have said it before, the net is a dangerous place. I stumbled on a site that would let me purchase small sample packs of seeds. Before I knew it I was purchasing seeds for squashes I had never heard of. There's the red warty thing, cucuzzi, papaya squash, sweet meat, and Burgess buttercup. Thrilled to have the chance to grow the unknown, I asked Janice if she wanted to join me in my botany experiment and grow some different varieties. She did so I divided up the sample seeds I purchased and we both planted them. I can hardly wait to see what the plants will produce. Unfortunately, neither can the squash bugs and we are at war.

I have tried planting flowers that generally repel bugs. They aren't supposed to like; marigolds, nasturtiums, and painted daisies. I also planted onions in near proximity to the squash plants. The bugs persist. I have gone out each morning and hand picked the beasties off my plants and drowned them in water laced with soap. For every one I kill, two come to replace it. Proving I am my father's daughter, I have torn the leaves they have laid their progeny on right off the plants and destroyed them. Still I have squash bugs. For the past three days I have been unable to work in my garden in the morning because I was in class for my new job. Clever foe that they are the squash bugs held a breed-a-thon while I was gone. It's maddening. This morning, armed with an industrial sized garden sprayer and concentrated Sevin, I carried my WMD out to the garden and prepared myself for squash bug genocide. And then I saw the bumble bees and hummingbird moths in the bee balm. Dang! I couldn't justify the collateral damage. I set the chemicals down and retreated. I hope Janice is able to keep her plants pest free.

Lord, I am having difficulty in subduing the 20' x 8' raised garden bed I have in my backyard. How is it you expect us to subdue the earth? Especially when the squash bugs have taken that be fruitful and multiply thing to heart?

Comments

robin said…
Good post. My wife and I gave up on cucumbers and zucchini because of squash bugs and their insidious pals, the squash vine borers. I have no answer.

Popular posts from this blog

Procrastination- Propaganda- Profundity

When I am studying something that bothers me, I do just about anything I can to stall. In doing so I stumble upon a lot of odd information. I love history and any student of history will tell you that most everything we are familiar with has had an odd beginning. Sometimes there will be different odd stories regarding the genesis of a myth, folkway or idiom. Somewhere in the mix the truth can be found. You just have to look.

While I lived in Australia I went to a visit a little town on the Murray River called Echuca. Echuca has a wonderful history and boasts the largest collection of paddle steamers in the world. It also has a coach house and carriage museum. It was during my visit to the carriage museum that I was told the origin of the expression to 'drop off to sleep.' According the docent, the carriage cheap seats were the ones outside and on the back. You had a platform to sit on and a rope or rail to hang onto for dear life. During a long trip a poor unfortun…

Sleep Snorkel Surprise

Summer colds. Blech! Is there anything more annoying that being too hot and having your nose run like Bridalveil Fall? Probably but nothing comes to mind right now. My nose is red and raw from all the sneezing and blowing and I have been using Puff's. Imagine if I had some generic sandpaper tissue instead? I could probably die from the pain. Death by runny nose rough tissue rhinoplasty.
I went to bed very early last night because I was feeling miserable. I have sleep apnea and therefore sleep with a bipap machine that keeps from crumping in my sleep. Now, I love my little bipap machine. I got it after my near death experience a few years ago when the nurses in the ICU turned me in to the doctor because I never slept. Once I was released from the hospital they sent me for a sleep study. I had to do it twice because they wait for you to fall to sleep and monitor your breathing in order to decide if you need a machine. Generally they try different types of machines and differe…

Super Church a song for the Emergent-sy

In the early 70s I was in a youth choir at my church. Our youth pastor was a musician and his way of connecting with us as a group was through the choir and music. Somehow there was an affiliation between him and The Continental Singers, New Hope and Jeremiah People. He was worked with Moishe Rosen of Jews for Jesus too, I think. Are any of these names familiar to you? Though I remember the church fondly I was a profoundly lost and troubled young woman during my years there. That and time have muddled the memories quite a bit.

Today I was digging through some old paperwork and one of the books to the musical we did. It's Getting Late For the Great Planet Earth, a folk rock oratorio by Cam Floria. Yes, that's right. Cam Floria put Hal Lindsey to music. There's a lot to laugh about and some to groan about but as I was looking through the songs and remembering, I found this little ditty and I only wish I could sing it for you. Just remember that this is circa 1972 and even the…