The jerusalem artichokes are experiencing a second growth spurt of the summer with the flowers reaching 10 ft or higher! They might be responding to the rainy weather this summer or maybe the unusual height is a result of selectively planting only the biggest tubers when we relocated the bed this spring.
|Month||First Sighting||Insect||Plant||Treatment used|
|May||Leaf miners||Beets, swiss chard||agrofabric (late)|
|June||5/28||Aphids (black)||Fava, borrage||Insecticidal soap (2x / week)|
|June||6/3||Colorado potato beetle||Potatoes, tomatillos||Hand removal|
|June||5/28||Cabbage worms (green)||Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli||Hand removal|
|June||6/19||Squash vine borer moths||summer and winter squash||Lures/sticky traps|
|July||?||Tomato horn worm||Red October tomato||Hand removal|
|Late July/Aug||7/24||Squash vine borer grubs||summer squash, pumpkins, delicata||Hand removal (surgery)|
|Aug||8/14||Aphids (gray)||Brussels sprouts, tuscan kale||Insecticidal soap (1-2x/wk)|
Leaf minors got into the spinach and beets before we were able to cover them and caused significant leaf damage. We covered the beets with agrofabric after the early signs of damage, but that seemed to make it worse since the leaf miner flies were trapped inside the cover.
28 May — first sighting on Favas. Treat 1-2x per week with slightly weaker mix of insecticidal soap to avoid leaf burn. Reduced aphids and successfully keeping them under control with regular application. Similarly, the insecticidal soap was effective on the borrage which was affected by aphids at the same time, but was also successfully cleared of aphids after several treatments.
28 May — found on broccoli. We had relatively few cabbage worms this year and the ones that we found seemed to be on the broccoli and cauliflower rather than the cabbage. There have also been a few cross-stripe (black white and yellow) cabbage worms found on the brassicas in addition to the green cabbage worms.
3 Jun — beetles and eggs found on potatoes
10 Jun — eggs found on tomatillos
17 Jun –larva on potato leaves
Relatively minor damage by potato beetles this year.
Squash vine borer (SVB) moths
May 29th — 3 traps set using lures from IPM (3 for $6+S&H) and general pest glue traps from Agway. No moths were caught using the general pest glue traps over the next three weeks.
Jun 19th — switched out the general glue traps for these yellow delta insect monitoring cards from Arbico (10 for $11+S&H) and got immediate results with the first moth caught within a couple of hours on the same day the traps were set. By Wed 6/23 we had caught about 15 SVB moths and replaced two of the insect monitoring cards with fresh ones. We continues to switch out the traps about once per 7-10 days over the next 2 months. By Aug 7th, the frequency of moths in any of the traps was very low, so we put away the traps for the season.
Final tally of borer moths caught with the lures and sticky traps
June 19-30th ~37 moths
July 1-31st ~59 moths
Aug 1-7th ~ 2 moths [removed traps on 7th]
The first clear sign of borers damaging the squash vines was mid-to-late July. Frass was found on the summer squash plants first. On 7/24, Lisa extracted 4 borers from the summer squash including some relatively large borers, so they had probably already begun to do damage in the prior week or two. By the following Saturday, 7/31, the pumpkins were clearly suffering from stem damage and more borers were extracted from the pumpkins and summer squash. On 8/7 at least 3 pumpkins and 3 delicata plants had surgery which involved taking a steak knife, cutting a vertical slit along the stem where there is fresh frass, and removing the SVB grub with tweezers. The cut to the stem can damage the plant, but it has at least a chance of surviving. We pack dirt over the location where the stem was cut to encourage the stem to send out new roots to support the plant. If we leave the borers without extracting them, they will certainly kill the plant within a week or two, so surgery is usually the better path.
8/7: Multiple borers were found in several plants (e.g. extracted 2 or more borers from a single plant). All of the pumpkins were in very bad shape from borer damage and surgery. Similarly 2-3 of the delicata plants have severe borer damage and had significant damage from the surgeries as well. The second planting of summer squash does not seem to be affected (so far).
8/14: All pumpkin plants have died and several delicata plants have also died from borer damage. The second planting of summer squash has some signs of borer damage.
8/21: All but one delicata plant has died from borer damage. The honeynut and butternut squash appear to be resistant. The mystery squash (possibly spaghetti squash) has borer damage, but is still reasonably healthy.
Cucumber wilt is caused by a bacteria spread to the plant by cucumber beetles feeding on the leaves. Once the wilt begins, the entire plant will be infected and will die within a few weeks. The first sign of cucumber wilt was Sat 8/14 and only appears to affect one of the cucumber plants so far. On Sat 8/21, still only one plant shows signs of wilt, but it has spread over more of the plant.
Each season brings a new set of insects to the garden. These are some of the insects we found and the pest management we tried in the 2020 season.
|May/ June||Aphids (black)||Artichokes and fava||Insecticidal soap|
|July/ August||Beetles (Japanese and Asiatic)||Basil, sunflowers, rhubarb, peppers, marigolds||Neem oil (peppers)|
|July||Striped cucumber beetle||Cucumbers||None|
|July-Aug||Squash vine borer (SVB)||Winter and summer squash||Sticky traps with SVB lures|
|July||Horn worm||Tomatoes||Hand removal|
|July||Flea beetles?||Tomatoes, eggplants||None|
|July||Flying aphids?||Jerusalem artichokes||None|
|July-Sep||Cabbage worms (green and striped)||Cabbage, kale||Hand removal|
|Oct||Aphids (grey)||Rutabaga, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage||Insecticidal soap weekly|
[May/June] Spring aphids on the artichokes
The artichoke seedlings were beautiful when they were transplanted, but within a few weeks, the undersides of the leaves were covered with black aphids.
We sprayed the artichoke leaves with insecticidal soap to reduce the aphids, but the leaves were seriously damaged after spraying (leaf burn?) and the aphids continued to be a problem through the summer.
Lisa grew one of the extra artichoke seedlings in a similar-sized pot at her home and did not have any aphids on the plant. We aren’t sure what caused the aphid infestation on the garden artichokes or how to manage it.
[July] Beetle damage on the basil, peppers, rhubarb and sun flowers
The basil and rhubarb leaves were decimated quickly. We never found any insects on the plants, but the skeletonized leaves were consistent with beetle damage. In addition to the leaf damage, some peppers also had bug damage in the fruit. We didn’t use any spray or treatment early summer, but later in the summer, around August, the peppers were sprayed with neem oil once a week. Results are inconclusive, but there seemed to be some improvement with the neem spray.
[July] Cucumber wilt from striped cucumber beetle
In late July, the cucumber plants began to wilt and Lisa noticed these yellow and black striped beetles on the cucumber vines and took the photo below. The beetle has a black head as opposed to the similarly striped potato beetle which has a yellow head. Adult cucumber beetles can carry and transmit a bacteria to cucumber vines that causes wilt and damages the fruit. The articles below have some information about the beetle and treatment options.
[July] Squash vine borers
Squash vine borers typically attack the summer squash, delicata and pumpkins in the garden. We monitor the vines closely for frass and have to hand remove the larvae from the stems. The butternut squash is usually resistant to the borers.
This summer, 2020, was the first time we tried using traps to catch the squash vine borer moths. We purchased 2-packs of the trap from VivaGrow! and placed two in the garden in late June. We hung them about 2 feet above the ground in a bed a few feet away from the squash plants. Within a week, there were several squash vine borer moths (and other bugs) in the traps.
We added two fresh traps after about 2 weeks and caught a few more moths. The majority of the moths were caught in June, though.
In July or August, we did find some borers in the summer and winter squash, but it seemed like fewer than normal and the plants survived and continued to produce squashed much longer than normal. The traps felt like a successful experiment and we will probably repeat it next year.
[July] Flea beetles?
Several varieties of the tomatoes had small but densely packed holes in the leaves and some small insects were observed on the leaves as well. The leaf damage appeared consistent with flea beetles, but this has not been confirmed. We did not apply any treatment to the tomatoes to try to mitigate the leaf damage, but the productivity of the plants was great and the fruit did not appear damaged with the small holes. Since the impact to productivity and quality was not noticeable, we probably do not need to worry about treatment for flea beetles on the tomatoes.
The eggplants also had small, densely packed holes in the leaves that might be due to flea beetles or something similar. With the eggplants, the holes were not limited to just the leaves — some of the fruit also had small holes and bugs inside. The bugs inside the eggplants appeared to be small larvae a few millimeters long, so this may be an unrelated pest.
[July] Flying aphids?
For a short period (a week or two), the jerusalem artichokes were covered with small insects plus a few larger flying ones. The initial thought was that they might be flying aphids. They did a fair amount of damage to the leafs of the jerusalem artichokes, but we didn’t see them spread anywhere else in the garden so we did not spray or treat them.
[Jun-Aug] Cabbage worms
Green cabbage worms are usually found on the green cabbage starting around June, but the worms are also occasionally found on the collards, kale, cauliflower and broccoli. They are difficult to spot since their color blends in so well with the leaf, but usually the tell-tale sign is the frass near the new growth in the center of the cabbage. When we see fresh frass, we keep searching until we find the worms and hand remove them to stop the damage. Sometimes, large amounts of frass are from one large worm like the one in the picture, but it can also be from multiple worms in the same plant.
[Late Oct] Fall aphids on… well, just about everything!
The second round of aphids in the garden hit around October and they are light gray rather than the black aphids found in the spring and summer. These gray aphids appear quickly and cover the plants. We spray with insecticidal soap regularly, but it seems like once the gray aphids infest a plant, it is next to impossible to get rid of them.
All four pole bean varieties were harvested this week (Sep 19).
Trionfo Violetto was the earliest to mature and is very prolific. The other three varieties took 2-3 weeks longer to mature, but were all harvestable around the same time. We noticed some thin rusty blemishes on some of the surface of the Blue Lake beans (seen in the close-up picture), but it’s not clear whether the blemishes are a concern.
One of our experimental crops this summer was Henderson’s Bush Lima Beans from Rohrer. They are described as a prolific heirloom variety with smaller 3-4″ pod.
By early August, the plants were loaded with flowers and beans and they can continue to produce for months until the first frost. Since they have a long growing season and pods can be at different stages of maturity, we weren’t sure how to decide on whether a pod was ready to pick or not.
The pods grow to about 3-inches long and seem to go through 3 stages once they reach that size:
1) relatively immature where the pod is full length, but it is still flat-ish and the beans inside are very small and difficult to shell
2) mature where the pod looks about the same size, but the girth fills out as the beans expand inside
The pods dry out on the plant surprisingly quickly, so the transition from mature to dried might happen in week or so. Some of the earliest dried pods we found had very small beans inside. It was discouraging at first because it seemed to suggest that the limas would be small, no matter how long we waited to harvest them. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case though. After a couple weeks of harvesting, the mature limas beans that we picked were larger.
With the first big lima harvest of the season, I decided to try sorting the beans as I shelled them to try to figure out what signs we could look for when deciding which beans are ready to pick. The biggest limas had a pod that felt full to the touch and I think the shell starts to turn a little paler green in color like the unshelled pods in the second column of this photo:
On the left are the dried beans. Those are easy to tell apart. In the middle are the mature beans. Most of the mature pods were plump to the touch. On the right are the less mature beans which were a deeper green on the outside. These took a lot more effort to get out of the shell and the beans inside were smaller and still a little green instead of the bright white color of the mature limas. It was tricky to tell some of these immature pods apart from the mature ones because the immature ones had also filled out, and were plump to the touch. I found the slightly yellow/pale color on the plump pods to be the best clues that the pod was mature and would shell easily.
Both the green and white limas tasted good. The main difference was the size of the bean and the effort to shell them.
Take way: Harvest pods when they are plump to the touch and the color is just starting to pale (lighter green).
In the end, I had a nice pile of shelled limas, some were big, others small; some had turned white, others were different shades of green:
I just boiled the limas and served them with salt and pepper. They all tasted pretty good, even the little green ones!
As for the dried beans, they were extremely easy to shell but there are only a few of them, so not sure how the dried ones taste yet. Interestingly enough, the dried beans seem to be a little smaller than the mature limas. Perhaps they shrink a little as they dry out?
After transplanting (brassicas) and thinning (lettuce)
Second sighting of our resident praying mantis. It was resting upside down on the chives.
High mowing suggests trimming onion seedlings when they reach 5" to make them grow thicker and stronger. We did not remember to trim them while they were growing under the lights, but decided to try a side-by-side comparison with some plants trimmed just after transplanting them in the garden.
Many of our transplanted walla-walla onions were very close to the recommended 5" height for trimming. I selected a 5×5 grid of the onions (out of the 14×5 grid of walla wallas planted) and trimmed the tops.
Below is a picture ot the allium bed before and after the trimming experiment — rows 3-7 from the back/right edge are the walla walla onions. Most of the walla wallas near the bottom of this picture were close to 5", so the grid of 5×5 walla wallas on the bottom was selected for the trimming experiment.
|Before trimming||After trimming|
Close up of one of the walla wallas before and after trimming — the leaf was trimmed from 7" down to a little over 1".
A few of the walla wallas in the 5×5 grid were almost double the height recommended for trimming because they had been seeded a week earlier. For the sake of uniformity, I trimmed these onions too, but left close to 3" of the onion top as opposed to 1-2" for the smaller ones. Below is an example of one of the larger walla wallas before and after trimming:
The trimmed onion tops caught up with the untrimmed tops quickly. By week 4, they were similar in size and it was difficult to tell them apart.
Trimmed onions, Week 4 (May 20)
Untrimmed onions, Week 4 (May 20)
Trimmed onions, Week 8 (June 17)
Untrimmed onions, Week 8 (June 17)
We harvested the onions on July 22. There still was no strong noticeable difference between the trimmed and untrimmed onions. Both conditions grew well and had good sized onions, but the trimming did not seem to give much, if any, advantage to the onions.
Trimmed onions, harvest day (July 22)
Untrimmed onions, harvest day (July 22)
We planted two varieties of brussels sprouts this season: Churchill left-over from last season and a new variety Octia which we selected, in part based on a review of brussels sprouts from UNH cooperative extension. As recommended by that review, we topped both varieties to encourage a higher yield.
The mature plants were relatively easy to distinguish because Churchill has a redish tint to the stalks and leaf stems (lower left) while the Octia were pale green (upper right).
Another difference was the time to maturity. A few Octia sprouts were large enough to start harvesting in mid-September, while the Churchill sprouts were still very small. Now, in mid-October, both varieties have some harvestable sprouts, but the Octia has a much larger quantity of mature sprouts ranging from medium sized to very large. Churchill sprouts are small to medium. The picture below contrasts the number of Octia (left) versus Churchill (right) sprouts harvested on October 7th. Octia produced 4-5 times more sprouts than Churchill and some of them were very large.
One issue that we noticed with Octia at the start of the harvest was that the outer leaves of some sprouts were damaged (dead or possibly mildew?) and stunted growth. It was a small portion of the sprouts, but those affected by the damage were still edible after removing the outer leaves.
Some of the Churchill sprouts also had an odd elongated pine-cone shape to them instead of a more compact cabbage shape, but they still taste fine and mature to a medium size.
Overall, the Octia seems to be a good variety and is much more productive than Churchill; however, a portion of the sprouts were damaged and remained small. Another consideration for future brussels sprouts varieties in the garden is that the Churchill variety was not offered by Burpee or Johnny's Seeds for the 2016 season, so it is not clear whether Churchill will be available for next season.
On another note, we have been very fortunate to have very few aphids on either variety of brussels sprouts this year! Aphids were one of the major challenges we faced with the brussels sprouts in the past two years.