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rainbowgardener
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all is not well in paradise

Should have known better than to make that post about not seeing much bug pests this year! :shock:

So today I was out watering, which I haven't had to do much all season. One of the beds in back (where it is really too shady) has tomatoes, peppers, squash, celery (I really need to either get some trees taken down or give up on growing full sun stuff back there). Since I haven't been watering, I haven't been paying much attention. I didn't grow any zucchini this year, because of the vine borers. The squash has been growing and fruiting well. But lo and behold, it is swarming with squash bugs AND they have spread onto the tomato and pepper plants that are right next to it. I stomped a bunch and I found a bunch of leaves with eggs on them and smushed those. But they just kept coming and coming. I didn't pay enough attention and didn't find the problem soon enough, because there were a whole bunch of off-white juveniles in a range of sizes, so some of those eggs must have hatched out already. After I got creeped out trying to find them and stomp them I went and made some super potent spray.

It is basic garlic pepper spray with the addition of tomato leaves (deadly nightshade), nicotiana leaves (tobacco/ nicotine), and chrysanthemum (pyrethrins). Blend everything up with water, strain, dilute, add a few drops of soap and a few drops of oil, spray. It's the first time this season, I have sprayed anything but water. I did see a praying mantis and some kind of little grasshopper-y thing, and tried not to spray them, but they clearly weren't keeping up with the squash bug population explosion. The squash bugs clearly didn't like it, but it didn't really kill them unless they got kind of drowned in it. I will check back tomorrow and see if I succeeded in reducing the numbers. If not, I think everything in that bed is not too long for this world. I had noticed holes in the pepper plant leaves, but assumed that was slugs. But having seen a bunch of the squash bugs congregated on it, I think they are probably the culprits.

I really hate trying to grow squash. I thought avoiding the summer squash would take care of it, but they are just too attractive to pests. I think I give up totally!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: all is not well in paradise

My squash is done for the year. I have one zucchini in the garden, but so far it is o.k. I haven't had many problems with beetles over the years. I'm glad, except for the rose beetles, the only controls I have for them is to capture and squish and I only had to do that once or twice this year. Slugs are a different story, there must be a million of them.

I just had white flies this year, but I planted corn and the purple lady bugs came. I cut back the hibiscus and I have been blasting the undersides of the peppers and hibiscus (it grew back) with water. I have found white flies on the bind weed, but they can have that.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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grwrn
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Location: Upstate South Carolina; Zone 7b

Re: all is not well in paradise

I feel your frustration. My squarefoot garden was doing well (or so I thought) until I went on vacation 2 weeks ago. When I came back, a worm had invaded my squashes and stalks as well as my cucumbers. :( I found two worms and killed them but no squash bugs thank goodness.

Oh, the corn aphids prevented some of my tassels from opening well thus pollinating, so most of my corn did not develop fully.

I say pull it up and plan you fall garden like I am. :)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: all is not well in paradise

Well, I probably will pull those squashes and maybe everything else in that bed and replant for fall.

The good news is that the squashes in the sunny front lawn bed and the community garden are doing fine and don't seem to have any squash bugs that I can tell.

I've always known that plants that are stressed and not thriving are more vulnerable to bugs and diseases. This is a perfect example of it. The backyard bed is just too shady for the things that are growing there and it got swarmed with squash bugs. The front yard bed just on the other side of the house is in full sun and no bugs (yet?) ... Actually to be completely accurate, they may be starting to find it. I haven't seen them, but after months of perfect tomatoes, one of yesterday's had the corky scars from squash bug/stink bug feeding.

How do the healthier plants fend the bugs off for so much longer? I think it is really interesting....
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: all is not well in paradise

I read somewhere that sick plants give off an odor that tells the bugs they are weak. Healthy plants have stronger tissues, they don't have open wounds or gouges that let bugs in so they are poor targets for bugs. Bugs always go after the most stressed plants first.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: all is not well in paradise

Well I didn't even have to worry about pulling the squash. The plant that one week ago looked big and thriving and fruiting is now so gone you have to look closely to tell it was ever there. There's still squash bugs on the tomato and pepper that are next to the now dead squash. Still should probably pull everything and plant for fall, but the tomato and pepper plants do have fruit on them... always hard for me to kill a plant with fruit.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

cynthia_h
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Re: all is not well in paradise

How disappointing. Nice ecosystem: birds, insects, good soil, healthy plants, and then...BAM! :(

What a complete PITB. At least the community garden plot is working well. :)

It's ironic: the iconic abundant summer garden plant is zucchini, or some variety of summer squash. But when it comes right down to it, SVBs or BER or lack of pollination or *something* seems to interfere with gardeners, and we're almost happy to find it in the farmers' market or even...a produce store. I know I am; my yard is too cool to grow summer squash.

I'm so sorry, RB. I guess it's like the saying: "Eat right, exercise, ... die anyway." :roll:

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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rainbowgardener
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Re: all is not well in paradise

eat right, exercise ... die anyway! :) Love it!

Yeah, it does make me a little crazy, people talk about having massive amounts of zucchinis and sneaking them on to the neighbor's porches and stuff and I cannot grow one to save my life!!

I consider myself a green thumb; I grow all kinds of things that other people think are difficult, from seed. I currently have one of last Christmas's poinsettias flourishing in a pot on my deck. It had gotten thrown out and I found it lying around, down to one leaf and brought it back.

But I can't grow a darn zucchini :?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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