Thursday, June 12, 2008

Year of the Striped Cucumber Beetle

Seems like every year I get a new pest in my gardens that I must wage war upon.  There has been the Saw Fly larvae which have made me pretty much give up on columbine, the Japanese Beetles which love my poor roses, the Squash Bugs which try to consume my zucchini, and various other annoyances.  I suppose the more I garden, the more the bugs are going to be attracted to their favorite foods that I just lay out for them to feast upon.

The new one this year is the Cucumber Beetle.  Never saw one in the gardens before.  They did some serious damage to my tiny tomatillo plants.  Then I surrounded the tomatillos with marigolds and they moved to the zucchini.  Ah, the poor zucchini, if it isn't Squash Bugs, it's Cucumber Beetles.  So far this year, knock on wood, I've only seen one Squash Bug and it was promptly squashed.  Heehee, squash the Squash bug eating the squash.  So far the Cucumber Beetles haven't found the cucumbers, despite the ominous name.

It takes a lot of resolve to not break out the heavy chemicals when you watch a pernicious bug chow down on one of your favorite plants.  I do believe in companion planting as the most effective way to battle a great deal of the pest found in the garden.  Many plants are helpful not as food but as either a repellant or camouflage for the food plants.  Others may attract beneficial insects to the gardens.  So you will find in my garden, planted among the usual food crops, marigolds, cosmos, nasturtium, borage, sunflowers, tansy and calendula.  Aside from the nursery bought marigolds I bought the other day for the tomatillos, none of them are blooming yet.  But you'll be sure to see a picture of the garden when they are.

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