Saturday, September 3, 2011

Squash vine borers!

Two months ago was the first time I had ever heard of anything called
a squash vine borer, so when I walked outside one afternoon to see
these drooping leaves I had no idea what could possibly be going on.
It took about an hour for me to figure it out, though the signs were more
than obvious. 5 plants had been invaded. The vines looked corroded and
had the "sawdust" appearance. The worms had burrowed a foot and a
half into our largest squash vine, splitting it open at the base.

My understanding is that not much can be done if you are an organic gardener.
So the first thing I did was plant 6 new squash plants elsewhere in the yard.
Then I defiantly set to work trying to help the infected plants. I slit the plants
open with a razor from the base up to where the plant was nice and healthy.

And that's where I found these guys. Now I knew without a doubt we had
borers!! Sorry there's no picture of them in the plant. I was so angry I just
flipped them out before I thought to take one. Then I smashed them.

I tied the vine back together where I cut it open because that
seemed like the thing to do. I read that you need to get the plant
to root above the damage and so I thought it would help if I could
keep the damaged part functional long enough for the rooting to
take place. After I tied it up I buried the section above in soil.

The last thing I did was sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the damaged
parts. I saw smaller brown larve looking things in the vine and I
didn't want to take any chances. I have never heard of putting DE in a
plant but we've had no problems. In fact, it's been 2 weeks since
this all happened and there's new growth on this squash plant. It
has also maintained fruit production. So far we haven't lost any plants.

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