Vegetable gardens make me happy. I love getting my hands into the dirt and face close to the ground to investigate what is going on down there. If I look closely and sit very quietly next to a plant for a few minutes, I can see the garden teeming with life,: wasps, bees, worms, birds, and every once in a while an unwelcome caterpillar. It’ s amazing to me that they all work in such harmony.
So far our organic and companion planting methods have worked well and the all of the plants except the squash seem happy. I have managed to harvest a few squash, but discovered we have squash vine borers. I awoke this morning after so much rain to see the squash looks even worse than the picture below and most of our plants had to be pulled up. You can see the base of the vine is where the larvae breaks in and destroys it, causing the leaves and stems to wilt and die. . What a pain! Oh, well. Check out some of the other plants sprouting and flowering!
So how do you grow an organic garden without being invaded by pests?
Pests are inevitable. Prevention is key. Now that we know we will have squash vinve borer problems, we will have to pay closer attention to prevent the larvae from being hatched!
1) Companion planting-Try planting beans with cucumbers, basil with tomatoes, chives with peas, peppers near eggplant, etc. You can read a great article on companion planting from Mother Earth News HERE.
2) Marigolds everywhere! I plant 2 or 3 different marigold varieties.
3) Keep birds busy with a birdfeeder nearby. Otherwise they may try to eat all of your pretty tomatoes.
4) Attract bees and beneficial insects with other beneficial plants-I planted bee balm and salvia throughout the garden to attract beneficial insects.
5) Prevent squash borers with row covers. Cover the young plants with a very light row cover until they begin to flower. Then uncover them so they can be pollinated. This will prevent moths from laying eggs on the plants. This is a lesson learned for us this year.
5) Keep a garden journal and map out what you planted, how many plants, and where they are situated in the garden. Track how much produce you are getting, how often you fertilize and water, etc. This way you can look back and see what you did right or wrong if pests invade!
I transformed the 5 or 6 squash we harvested into a delicious soup. My mom made me an incredible squash soup last year around this time and I asked her for the recipe. I am not sure where this recipe came from, but it is my get -rid of -copious-amounts-of-squash-recipe.
Simple, refreshing and fast, this soup is the epitome of an easy, summer meal.
I don’t think you can screw up this soup. You can add more cream or any kind of fresh herb to your liking. Just make sure to use yellow summer squash.
In Love and Health,