Sunday, August 23, 2009

Peak Harvest

As members know, we've been enjoying the summer harvest for a few weeks now and we're now moving to peak harvest time in Michigan. The beans, summer squash peppers, eggplant, carrots, etc. have been producing heavily over the past few weeks. The cucumbers did well for 3 - 4 weeks but have stopped now. We've been able to harvest a few melons. We dug the Yukon Gold potatoes today and filled a little more than a 5 gallon bucket. The winter squash is now starting to mature.

Over about the past week and a half we've had Powdery Mildew move in to the squash plants. We are spraying with baking soda and dish soap (1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. dish soap per quart of water). This seems to be helping. Also, the squash vine borer (SVB as it's known in the list serves) has moved in. At first sight of infestation of these guys, move quickly. Inspect the base of your squash vine (winter or summer) daily. When you see the sawdust-like excrement at the base of the stem, cut into the stem. Start with about a 1/4 inch incision at the point of entry, moving outward from the root base, maybe 2" long. Keep going until you find the grub. Sometimes there are a lot of grubs - 4 - 5. Sometimes there's just one big grub. Find it and dig it out. Then spray with pyrethrin. I sprayed into the stem at the point of incision. On a few of the stems where I felt infestation was severe, I sliced the top half of the vine off and dug around to kill the grubs and then covered the wound with soil. In the past I've had about a 50% success rate but this was after the plants started to wilt. This time it's about a 75 - 80% success rate.