I went on a murderous rampage tonight although I fear it may be too late. We decided to pull out the big guns. Now, we've tried to stay organic as much as possible and have had generally good luck. But this squash vine borer thing has gotten out of control. We went to the organic supply store to buy beneficial nematodes to attack the pesky grubs, but we found out that the store didn't have any in stock. They'd have to order it for us. We felt that time was of the essence so we looked for other alternatives. We ended up getting a product called Rotenone. It is an organic pesticide. However, some organic gardeners dispute its use because it is still considered moderately hazardous. It is considered "organic" because it is made from naturally occurring substances.
Compared to "nonorganic" pesticides, it is still less harmful over all and the damage being inflicted in our garden is bad enough that we felt we need to go this route. I waited until this evening after all the bees (i.e. pollinators) had left the garden before I began stalking my prey. I had made up a gallon of solution using 4 tsp. of the rotenone to 1 gallon of water. With spray bottle in one gloved hand and a knife in the other, I headed toward my squash. My second zucchini has been hanging on for dear life for two days now so I doused it good. My spaghetti squash is looking worse and worse every day. It is yellow and wilted and some leaves are starting to turn brown. It may be too late for the zucchini and spaghetti squash, but I'm doing what I can. I also went through the pumpkin patch and sprayed all of the vines that I could. All three plant crops had evidence of the borers (the golden frass at the site of entry). I'll see in the morning if I notice any difference.
In other news, I planted some of my fall crops today. I direct seeded everything in a vacant area of the garden. I re-planted the broccoli and cauliflower (since what I planted two weeks ago never came up). I also planted mustard and collard greens and several spinach plants. I'm going to plant more lettuce too, but I'm holding off on that since the Indiana Extension Service says to wait until August 15 for fall plantings of lettuce.
Today we went to visit the place where we had a plot in a community garden when we were first married. We were walking up and down the aisles between the plots and critiquing what we saw. We were amused at the fact that we both have learned so much since that time we tried to garden years ago. It made me feel better about my own garden. Most of these gardens were not well-tended. They were overgrown, ripe veggies hung on the vine as food for the pests that were moving in, and everything needed to be watered. Despite the problems we've had lately, I think our garden is in pretty good shape and we are doing a lot of things right. This was exactly the pick-me-up I needed today.