Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our 8th Cultivating Kids Garden Day

Morning Glory Teepee and Pumpkin Vines
Pumpkin Vines

Morning Glories, Corn and Mammoth Sunflower 

Beneficial Bug House materials and the harvest

Noah searching for gourds with gloves to 
protect his hands from spines on the vine.

Willow looking for ripe corn on the cob!

 Jordan in the garden!

  Willow, Jordan, Claire and Kara in the garden.

 Willow, Jordan, Noah & Brian in the garden.

Noah and Brian hunting for ripe produce.

 Our grasshopper friend with the amputated front let. We found him again! Looks like he is eating well despite his injury.
Our harvest: wax beans, corn, cucumbers and lots o' gourds!
(Beneficial bug info in the background) 

Noah, Brian and Jordan making Beneficial Bug Houses to take home.

Ruby Queen Corn

  We spread the gourds (over 20) out to "cure" or toughen 
up their skins along the ramp in the children's room.

  Willow in the Morning Glory/Pole Bean Teepee.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Garden Day: Thursday, August 23rd

Beneficial Bug House

Join us this Garden Day to pick produce, explore our Giant Squash-Patch and make a Beneficial Bug House to take home. Drop by the children's garden between 10am and 11am to participate.

It would be a good idea to wear gardening gloves and a long sleeved shirt (if it's not too hot) as the squash plants have prickles on their stems.
Beneficial Bug House

Whoa! Our crazy squash patch!
(mini & regular pumpkins,
watermelon and gourds)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bugs in the Children's Garden.

Does anyone know what this little fellow is?

Grasshopper on Mammoth Sunflower; 
Notice his 1st leg is truncated.
Grasshopper on Mammoth Sunflower; You 
can just see the earwig underneath, between 
the grasshoppers 2nd and 3rd legs.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Garden Day:

Today we made Bug Observation Jars. We mostly caught pests (or "bad") bugs; an earwig, several squash vine borers (also see our blog post "Zucchini Gone Very Wrong!") and an unidentified bug inside a bean (see pictures below).  We looked on to see if we could identify the bean bug, but no luck so far.
We pulled up one poor zucchini plant that had three squash vine borers in its stem. When we pulled the stem apart a couple borers came spilling out. The squash vine borers eat away the inside of the stem interrupting the structures that move nutrients and water through the plant. There is no recovering from this, so the plant must be removed, bagged and put into the trash to reduce the further spread of the pest.
We watered a little, picked a few weeds and some produce. We spotted some bees, flies (not sure if they were beneficial or not as they would not stay still long enough to properly identify) and a butterfly.
We noticed the ears of corn growing and very small pumpkins starting to develop!

Garden Day!

Today we made Bug Observation Jars. Click here for instructions.
 These little jars even make nice sun catchers.
 Today's focus: Beneficial (or "good") bugs!
 Inspecting the pumpkin patch!
 Shadows on a gourd.
 Kara and Clair found an, as of yet, unidentified bean pest. There was some frass (orange stuff) and a hole in the bean. We tore ope the bean and found this little fellow as he crawled out.
 A bean pest crawling out of a wax bean. Frass to the right on the bean.
Kara with some Cherokee wax beans and cucumbers.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A quick look at the garden this Monday, August 8th:

 Dwarf Sunflowers, Teepee, Squash and Corn!

 Dwarf Sunflowers

 Nasturtium 'Empress of India'

 Our first ears of corn! You can also see the bean vine wrapping around the
cornstalk exactly as it is supposed to do in the Three Sisters combination.

Holy Cucurbits, Batman!

 Tomatoes soon I think!

 Siamese Cucumbers

Growing Gourd

 Dwarf Sunflowers & Morning Glory Teepee

 Morning Glory Teepee
The Center of a Dwarf Sunflower

Dwarf Sunflower

Giant Squash Blossom

Dwarf sunflowers with a gourd vining along the trellising.

 Honey Been on Sunflower Bloom

 Mmmm, this sure is yummy!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zucchini Gone Very Wrong!

Well it is inevitable that bugs (a variety of arthropods) will inhabit any garden. The trick is to get a nice balance of good bugs and bad bugs and to understand that plants that succumb to disease, wildlife and/or weather are all part of the gardening experience.

During the last Garden Day, one of our tasks was to find and destroy the Striped Cucumber Beetles among the cucurbit plants. Tuesday, while picking yet more ripe produce for the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, I found the above zucchini. I noticed three things right away: 1. The chew marks. 2. A small black worm on the blossom end (picture below). 3. A Striped Cucumber Beetle perched on the zucchini as if it owned it. The beetle flew off immediately.

Not sure what this fellow is, but as he was caught at the
scene-of-the-crime, he went the same way as the other
pests in the garden.

The larvae has been busy!

I picked the zucchini and noticed even more extensive chewing damage on the underside and an excavated hole in the stem end of the zucchini with some sort of larvae just visible inside. I decided I needed to investigate further.  I brought the zucchini inside and cut away some of the flesh to see what creature was inside. Below are the pictures of what I found. At first I suspected that it was a Striped Cucumber Beetle larvae, but after more research I think it may be a Squash Vine Borer. I did send a picture to the UNH Cooperative Extension to determine what it is exactly.

Larvae in its zucchini cavity.

 All the bumpy, yellow stuff is called "frass." Frass is a combination
of the excavated plant material and poop from the insect therein.

  Frass and larvae head close up.

Larvae (from the children's garden) and quarter for scale.

Squash Vine Borer picture by Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist,
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

What do folks think? A match?