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Squash bugs

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Each summer we are invaded by an evil creature: squash bugs. These damn things plant small eggs on zucchini, pumpkin, squash and similar plants. The eggs grow into nymphs, the nymphs into bugs that destroy plants. Last year we lost our entire pumpkin crop and most of the zucchini.

There doesn’t seem to be a good solution to controlling them. North Carolina State University posted an article on various methods – pesticides, predator bugs, co-planting repelling plants, but none seem to be very effective. Some of the more effective pesticides are also quite efficient at killing pollinators (bees) so we don’t want to use those at all.

Anyone have any home remedies?

This is what happens when you sit in one place too long in North Carolina – the turkey buzzards come! These large birds clean up anything that has started to rot, and we appreciate them for keeping the landscape clear of dead animals. This trio, a male, female, and chick, were chewing on a raccoon carcass by the pond. Magnificent while soaring the thermal updrafts in flight, they are really pretty clumsy (and a bit ugly) and bad-tempered when on the ground. At least one pair live in our woods. You can hear them crashing through the trees when they decide to next for the night.

It’s Garlic planting time

It it starting to feel like autumn and so it is time to plant garlic. Garlic requires a cold season do do well, so timing is critical – try to plant within two weeks of the first frost so the cloves develop roots but don’t emerge by the time of the first hard freeze. The cloves are planted in rows about 3 inches deep. By next summer these cloves will have produced another crop of garlic.IMG_0229.jpg

Our first baby tomato

We have four tomato plants growing in the greenhouse. They have been flowering for a few days, and since there are no bees in the greenhouse the flowers have to be pollinated by hand.

Each morning we take a small paintbrush and gently brush inside each flower, move to the next flower, and so on to pollinate the plants.

Success! This morning we have our first baby tomato starting to grow!

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