I hate caterpillars

Milestone day – the night time temps dropped blow 70, the day time temps below 90 and the humidity below 50% so we turned off the air conditioning and opened the doors. Must be fall.

Congratulations Dr. Lindsay Yearta. You make us all proud. The graduation is in December so we’ve blocked out the whole month to make sure we don’t miss it.

Getting ready to do the bachelor thing again. Nancy’s off to SLC for her annual sabbatical and I’ll be toughing it out here. The four day NY trip was a dummy run for the ten day SLC jaunt but I think I perfected all the skills needed for the additional days. I have enough pizza shells and toppings to cover the whole trip if I decide to go that way; enough hard rolls and pickled jalapenos for an all sandwich trip; plenty of red wine but maybe short on the premium beer.

I put up two pea fences in the garden, each about 10′ long. Planting both sides of the fence means I will have a total of 40 linear feet of peas. Half will be the flat, edible pod Chinese type and the other will be classic English green peas. I think it’s still just a tad too warm to plant them but there was just a bit of a nip in the air this morning so I want to be prepared if I have to make an emergency planting otherwise I think I’ll start one the first of the month and the other a few weeks later. That should set up a December harvest. I’m also jumping ahead a week or two from my plan to put in some lettuce. I have quite a few plants, way more than I need or can even give away, so I’ll plant four on the off chance that they’ll survive the heat. If these guys make it a few days, I’ll put in four more of a different variety. Really nothing to lose. Remember those shade cloth huts that were protecting the tomatoes? I took those down and have them protecting the new lettuce. The tomato plants should be able to handle the direct sun now with no problems.

Butternut Squash Blossom
Butternut Squash Blossom
Baby zucchini
Baby zucchini

Ever see squash blossoms? Some people are surprised at how big they are and that they’re edible. I could pick these and batter them for a squash blossom fry. But I won’t. If you look closely you can make out a baby butternut squash just beneath the blossom. To calibrate you, the blossoms are roughly 6” across. You can also see a baby zucchini on that photo, that’s a month from seed. If that particular zucchini makes it, he’ll be on the table in about 2 weeks, whereas the baby Butternut won’t be pickable until November.
Bush beans at 3 weeks
Bush beans at 3 weeks

The first patch of pole beans are now reaching 6′ tall, a month from planting. I started worrying a bit about them 2 weeks ago when the leaves were apparently being eaten with great relish by small caterpillars. Some people love to watch butterflies; personally I only see caterpillars. I sprayed with BT, which is a biologic insecticide, not a chemical insecticide and apparently that worked. If you look at the leaves, those at the base of the plants are still pock marked into a web. Above that in the area where I sprayed before the leaves were eaten, no signs at all of any damage. Interestingly I had the bush beans, pictured below, under insect cover for the last couple of weeks and assumed that would keep them safe from the caterpillars. Not so. I popped the cover to check out growth and sure enough, there were loads of caterpillars gnawing away. It’s really impossible to seal it off but I was surprised at how little affect the cover really had. I quickly sprayed those plants with BT also and spent a half hour picking off all the crawlers I could see. What they do is eat their fill and then wrap up the edge of the leaf to form a home for the cocoon so I just look for the folded leaves and squeeze them. Bye bye caterpillars.

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