NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

June 18, 2014

Tim's Tips: Watch your veggies for pests

It looks like the gardens are finally getting into their growing mode. It’s nice to see all the hard work of planting beginning to show signs of progress.

If you planted squash and/or cucumbers, you should be watching the plants for signs of insects. Cucumber beetles and squash bugs are beginning to find the plants in many gardens. If you find these beetles, be sure to treat your plants with an appropriate insecticide.

At this time of the season, squash plants are prone to the eggs being laid for the squash vine borer. The eggs are laid on the stem of the plant. The eggs are usually laid right where the squash stems emerge from the soil. The eggs eventually hatch, and the little borers tunnel their way into the squash stem. Eventually, they eat the tissue inside the stem.

Later in the season, the squash will wilt during the day. This happens because the plant cannot take up the water that it needs to stay healthy. Eventually, the plant will succumb to the borers.

You can prevent this from happening by spraying the stem with an appropriate dust or spray applied to the stem where it emerges from the soil. As the eggs hatch, the borers consume the insecticide and are killed before they damage the plant. You should do multiple applications to the stem if the insecticide is washed off the stem.

Water restrictions are in place in many towns. These restrictions control the times that you can water your gardens. Generally, you can water in the morning and you can water in the evening.

It is better for the plants if you water in the morning. Plants take up water better in the morning. If you water in the evening, plants go into the night with wet leaves. Wet leaves during the nighttime hours create the perfect conditions for fungus diseases to grow on your plants.

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