Nematode wars escalation

I mentioned that oversized zucchini is the source of our zucchini bread. The picture shows a normal, picking/eating size Cavili and one that overstayed on the bush. The oversized squash would have been the same size as the other one two days earlier. To calibrate you, the larger squash is 14” x 4 1/2” in diameter at the wide end.
Tomorrow will be another cooking day with a pot or two of spaghetti sauce and several loaves of zucchini bread. Today blueberry lady and shrimp lady each got a quart jar of spaghetti sauce. The system we have going with blueberry lady is that she returns the quart jar that held the sauce filled with blueberries. Certain symmetry in that transaction, don’t you think?

As much progress as I’ve made against the nematodes, they are still part of the garden. I can tell because sometimes when I pull out a plant that’s past it’s prime, the roots show the tell tale white knots where the nematodes have attached themselves or whatever it is that they do. I think the reason they have not caused any serious problems is because the deeper the soil gets with compost, the longer the roots get before they run into the borers and so have enough root mass to survive. But I’ve come up with what, I think, may be the ultimate weapon. I mentioned some time back a technique called solarization. After the spring crops have played out, you cover the ground with clear plastic sheeting to actually cook the soil. The July/August sun, so the theory goes, can raise the temperature under the plastic to 140 degrees F, killing the nematodes. I think it probably does some good but can’t imagine that it gets too deep into the soil with killing temperatures, especially with our summer rains cooling it off frequently. But I like the heat idea. I water the garden by hose daily, late in the afternoon, using a 100′ black 3/4” hose. When I first turn the water on, I have to aim it away from the garden and wear gloves because the water coming out of the hose is scalding hot. So it seems to me that if I treat the area I’m going to plant with this hot water, it will maybe cook the nematodes. When I’m going to put in a plant, I normally dig a hole about a foot deep and a foot around, fill it with well rotted compost, and then set in the new plant. That seems to give the plant a good start with no natural soil and why (I think) the nematode problem has been reduced. My new plan is to soak the hole with the scalding water before depositing the compost to kill off another layer of nematodes. As these things go, it will take some time before I know whether or not the technique is successful but it’s worth a try for sure.

Had to resort to the highest level to beat the armadillo’s – a wire fence around the patch. Very low tech, but very effective. I can tell it’s working because there’s plenty of digging on the outside periphery of the fence and none in the protected area.

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