These unattractive enemies have taken over my squash, and I am spending much of my time and energy in a war against them. Squash Beetles ~ nasty little things that suck the life out of the plants I’ve been nurturing since I first put seed to soil in mid March. You name it, I’ve tried it : Diatomaceous Earth, Rotonone Powder, Pyrethrum Spray … even the time consuming and not so pleasurable task of hand picking these creatures off of my squash leaves. I’ve read articles, researched remedies and honestly, felt a lot of stress that is not a usual part of my post-spring mentality. This ‘war’ runs against all of the reasons that I love growing plants; growing puts me back in touch with the natural rhythms and harmony of the natural world. I like working WITH nature, not against it. But, this is an on-going war and I refuse to surrender.
This whole unfortunate situation brings me back to the reason that I LOVE growing herbs and making an herb spiral. Although they are not 100% free of worries, herbs have VERY FEW natural ‘enemies’. My greenhouses are filled with over 150 different varieties of herbs, but I can safely say that not much of my time is spent ‘fighting’ or ‘fretting’ about pests. These plants are really not bothered by insects the way fruit and vegetable plants can be plagued. Most pest issues occur when trying to grow herbs indoors, but when planted in the garden, they seem to have much fewer pest issues. Not, the qualifier is that you provide the best growing conditions – enough light, water and make sure that there is good air flow around each plant. You do your part, the herbs will do theirs. On the other hand, I’ve done my part, and more, in the case of the squash beetles and all I’m getting is aggravation! Not sure who will ‘win’ this battle ~
Squash Bugs have also been the bane of my pumpkin and melon growing. I too have tried everything. The best is live turkeys, with poults and juvies being best after teaching them the eggs and bugs are edible. They will actively hunt them and enjoy eating the eggs off the leaves. The damage done to the leaves is the ounce of prevention in a pound of cure. Females and young turkeys seem to be the best for this since they are smaller and better foragers. I tried midget whites, but they arent significantly smaller. Palm whites would be better for attractiveness.