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Third Verse, Same as the First

August 19, 2013
Gopher Cinch trap

Gopher Cinch trap

Maybe it is not exactly third verse, same as the first, but there is a lot of repetition going on here right now. Harvest, look at the damage from gophers and cucumber beetles, harvest, look at the damage from gophers and cucumber beetles….I have talked about it all before, maybe too many times, but harvesting is the most time consuming task at present and the gophers and cucumber beetles are the pests of the summer (maybe flea beetle,  too). This morning, I am feeling some optimism concerning the gophers. Yesterday, we bought 10 Cinch traps for the gophers. Steven set them last night, focusing on the lettuce area, where the gophers have gotten 20 of the next set of heads to harvest so far. I went out to check this morning and, though nine of the traps were still set, one was sprung and there was a gopher in it! I normally would not rejoice in the death of any creature, but this one was in the tunnel nearest most of the missing lettuce, so I was pretty happy about it. (I took a picture, which I will put at the bottom of the post, in case you want either to see it or skip it.) I managed to bury the gopher and set the trap in another tunnel, this time in the carrots.

Tavera beans

Tavera beans

Beans have joined the focus of harvesting now.  I pick them every two to three days. First, it was just one row of Provider beans, but the Tavera beans are starting (one row right now) and the second planting of Provider are not far behind. The timing looks to be just about right, with one planting coming to an end as the next begins. The daily summer squash and cucumber harvest continues. I decided to skip a day on Saturday, and I had some nice large summer squash when I harvested yesterday. A little something for the compost pile!

Western striped cucumber beetle

Western striped cucumber beetle

The cucumber harvest also brings us to the cucumber beetle. Most of my experience with cucumber beetle has been with the Western spotted cucumber beetle eating my greens (mostly chard and lettuce). Though they did enough damage, I didn’t find them in huge numbers, usually one or two at a time. That experience is expanding to include the Western striped cucumber beetle this summer. I see them in the cucumbers and summer squash mostly, but other places, too. They are faster and fly more than the spotted beetle, so they are harder to catch and squish.

Cucumber leaves, after the beetles have eaten

Cucumber leaves, after the beetles have eaten

They congregate in larger numbers, too, and can destroy the surface appearance of cucumbers and make lace of leaves. I am still researching how to control them, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot you can do. Most information talks about covering plants when they are young, giving them a chance to get big enough to survive any damage from the beetles. My cucumber and squash plants were big enough when the beetles arrived, so most have survived the assault. Luckily, the beetles don’t seem that interested in eating the fruit of the squash, but they sure like cucumbers. You may start seeing more damaged skin on the cucumbers, as fewer cucumbers escape the beetles. They seem to especially like the Shintokiwas and not so much the Lemon cucumbers (knock on wood). And, though I am a bit afraid to say it out loud, they don’t seem to have found the cucumbers in the hoop house yet (knock on wood again). I hope they won’t. I will be planting out the fall hoop house cucumbers this week, and those plants are small. I will have to cover them with row cover, just to be sure they are not discovered. I am also going to try setting out some yellow sticky traps, to see if I can catch a few beetles. Until they are gone, I hope you won’t mind peeling away the damaged skin of your cucumbers.

Cucumbers with the worst beetle damage

Cucumbers with the worst beetle damage


Pluots are coming!

A nice surprise: Pluots are coming! Warning: dead gopher next.

We caught one! Hopefully, it was the lettuce culprit.

We caught one! Hopefully, it was the lettuce culprit.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2013 9:44 pm

    Michelle! Per last weeks conversation – I just made a really good stuffed pattypan squash! Check it out!

  2. Mary Ellen permalink
    August 23, 2013 8:43 pm

    It’s so fun to read your writing Michelle!

    • jcgarden permalink
      September 1, 2013 9:32 pm

      Thanks, Mary Ellen! I hope your school year is starting off well!

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