Jun 05

The European Corn Borer

Gardening Jones shares what she has learned about the European Corn Borer.

If your potato plants look like this, you have a visitor.

It seems each new year brings another pest to the garden. It’s more of an entomology class sometimes than one in botany.

So when I found just 2 of the potatoes looking like this, I did some research. Apparently the larva of this particular moth likes taters just as much as corn, and in these parts the corn isn’t nearly big enough when the larvae are ready to bore.

So here’s how they do it: A larva can overwinter in spent plants or even in a cocoon of sorts, and comes out in early spring to grow into a male or a female egg laying moth. Once the larva hatches out of the egg, the whole process begins again, this time when the corn is ready.

Gardening Jones shares what she has learned about the European Corn Borer.

So although I only found 2 damaged potato plants out of about 8 dozen, critters like this can multiply rapidly. So I dusted the beds with DE, as you can see here, because that’s what I had on hand. I may also pick up some Bt, just to play it safe. I’m concerned in part because the corn bed is not very far away, and the adult moths would have no problem finding it. Seriously, they could walk there. In the picture above the corn bed is just to the right and in between the 2 potato beds.

I’m also troubled because they attack so many of the crops we have planted. I listed some below and added a link for more.

So I will keep an eye out for the moths and be diligent in looking for their eggs. I have nothing against bugs, but I figure since we live in the country they have plenty of other opportunities to thrive outside my garden.

In fact, outside the garden they are rather attractive to see.

Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Binomial name: Ostrinia nubilalis
Description: Irregular egg clusters usually on the underside of leaves, pale hairless larva, adult is yellowish brown wavy wing markings, about 1″ with the same wingspan.
Plants affected: Corn, potatoes, peppers, beans and more.
Predators: Green lacewings, Downy woodpeckers, Ladybugs.

Apr 01

12 Varieties of Swiss Chard

When most gardeners think of Swiss Chard, also called Silverbeet among other common names, they think of 2 varieties:

The everyday Swiss Chard, white stems with green leaves, and the Bright or Neon Lights which boasts a variety of colors.

Gardening Jones looks at 12 varieties of Swiss Chard.

There are more than that and I would bet, more to come. For now, here’s a few to consider:

Variety Stem Colors Note
Green Lucullus White Stems Green Leaves
Neon Lights Blend Red Orange Yellow Pink Equal parts of each
Orange Fantasia Awesome orange variety
Flamingo Pinkish Red with red veins
Fordhook Giant Green leaves White stems Savoyed Leaves
Bright Lights Blend White Pink Gold Orange Purple Red Leaves vary Green or Bronze AAS Winner
Magenta Sunset Pink stems and veins Stems are narrow
Bright Yellow Yellow stems and veins Deep Green leaves
Oriole Golden Orange Stems get brighter as they grow Deep green leaves
Ruby Red/Rhubarb Candy Apple Red Stems Babies may bolt if frost occurs
Peppermint (pictured) Pink & White striped stems Dark Green leaves
Barese White with Green leaves grown for great tender leaves

There is also a variety called Perpetual Spinach, if you are looking for more of a spinach taste and don’t care about the stalks.

DTM on these are all about the same, 60 days full grown for bunching, 4 weeks baby leaves.

Some information is from experience with seeds purchased through Mike the Gardener, Burpee’s, and Bohan Seeds. Additional info reprinted with permission from Johnny’s Select Seeds.

Mar 13

Spider Mites

We don’t really have the light for growing houseplants in the Jones’ household, therefore they don’t thrive well here. Most of the windows are small and we’re surrounded by a lot of wooded area.

I pretty much gave up trying to keep houseplants alive.

But that’s okay, because all but one of our houseplants are really food plants. The exception being a Valentine’s Day gift of a bonsai tree. All these plants need to do is make it through the winter, and they’ll be back where they are happiest.

So it was about a month or more ago that both the Meyer lemon tree and the Clementine began losing leaves. I figured it was from being indoors over the winter, and since spring was just around the corner, all would soon be well.

Then I noticed the same thing happening to a pepper I grew from seed. Hmmm.

Upon closer inspection, I saw this:

Gardening Jones shares her experience dealing with spider mites.

Spider Mites weave tiny webs.

And this:

Gardening Jones shares her experience dealing with spider mites.

By the time you see the web, they are happily reproducing.

It was also on the citrus plants.

I gave it a good treatment of diluted Neem oil with a little added dish soap. Then I waited and watched.

About 2 weeks later I saw a couple more webs, so gave them another dose.

Now it has been another few weeks, and it looks like we’re in the clear. Both trees and the pepper plant have a lot of new growth.

Gardening Jones shares her experience dealing with spider mites.

New growth at every junction.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Spider mites are often on outdoor plants, but are usually kept at bay by predators and the weather.

2. They can however hatch indoors when they are brought inside.

3. They will suck the life out of a plant’s leaves.

4. They are way tiny and by the time you see their webs, they are already doing damage.

So, note to self: Treat plants before they are brought indoors in the fall.

Have you ever dealt with spider mites?

Feb 15

Sunday Shares 2/14/16

This is very likely the coldest day we will have all winter, with temperatures dropping well below zero and a nasty windchill.

Still the February sun is melting the small amount of snow that came with the cold, and spring is getting closer every day.

A Patio Tomato growing indoors in February.

This picture is of our first flower on the patio tomato that is growing in our kitchen. Previously, our earliest tomato was the beginning of July.

Call it cheating if you want. but we sure are going to beat that record.

In the meantime, here are some links we came across that you may find interesting. Have a great week!

The 7 Best Eggs You Aren’t Eating -Another reason I need to get ducks again.

Hot to Tap Maple Trees for Syrup -I want to try this some day.

No-Fail Sauerkraut

Miniature and Fairy Gardens

5 Cool Ways to Make a Bee House

How to Keep Weeds to a Minimum

23 Ways to reuse empty tissue boxes.

How to Not Be a Hoarder – 50 Things You Need to Throw Away

Jan 31

Sunday Shares

Gardening Jones shares links to articles of interest each week.

It has been an interesting week weather wise.

We started out shoveling and ended up melting instead. Ahead we are looking at more warmer than normal temperatures as El Nino continues to affect us.

I’ll take it.

In fact, I may just do some internet surfing on the front porch today.

In the meantime, here are some links to articles of interest I stumbled over this week. Enjoy!

This is a wonderful map showing the trail of migratory birds. Neat stuff.

Young gorillas dismantle poachers’ traps. Love it!

Have you heard of The Convention of States? Check it out.

I’ve tried nasturtiums, but never calendula. Did you know you can eat them?

Are trees social beings?

Interesting article about the psychological effects of burning Frankincense as incense.

Jan 24

Links of Interest 4

Gardening Jones shares the links she found this week that y'all might like.

It was all over the news this weekend, and likely will continue into the week.

We had a mere 8″ of snow, but SaveTheWorld, our youngest, had the luck to be living in Baltimore.

You can barely see her car.

So whether you’re in the cold of Florida or the snow along the other parts of the east, here are some links we think you will enjoy.

Stay warm!

A cute video on the history of popcorn. Have you ever grown your own?

A four-in-one gardening blog post.

OT, but some neat kitchen gadgets.

Our post on GRIT on making a mason bee house.

Some hearty and healthy slow cooker recipes for your Meatless Monday.

Community Gardens Imperiled by NY’s Affordable Housing Plans.

Our 6 most recent blog posts.

Grow more dry beans! Fart Filtering undies. I kid you not.

And on that note… :-)

Have a great week y’all!