My husband and I have enjoyed three glorious squash from the garden already this season—but last weekend, we made a horrifying garden discovery. One day, we were happily harvesting yellow croonecks. The next, we watched leaves turn black and entire stems wilt to nothing. The fruit stopped growing and we scrambled to figure out what afflicted our prized summer squash. So goes the garden?While we’ve taken an organic approach to gardening, we are both having a hard time with the “sometimes it grows, sometimes it doesn’t” nature of the beast. We have put up bird netting to keep our tomatoes from getting poached by local fauna, pine straw to deter neighborhood cats, watered deeply and diligently to curb the drought, sprinkled on BT
to naturally keep harmful bugs away, and even wrapped the stems of our curcurbits
in foil and toilet paper rolls to keep them safe.
Sometimes, though, stuff dies. Ecosystems, full of bugs and animals and weather patterns, can take their toll. And while it’s tempting to go through the stages of grief, we instead decided to face the problem head-on.
Upon meeting a borer face-to-face, we bore it out of the squash vine with a knife, like our organic gardening manual suggested, and committed to replant since it’s not yet too late in the season. To try to keep the borers away this time, we’ll carefully cover our rows with sheer row cloth (which we’ll need to remove every few days to allow for pollination) and hope for the best. And at the end of the day, we’ll try to remember that in the world of vegetable gardening, some stuff dies, and some stuff thrives.
How do you deal with garden setbacks? (And, by the way, how do you keep the borers away?)
• Garden Envy: 10 Inspiring Gardens
• Pest Control: Ladybugs 101
• 4 Natural Ways to Protect Your Garden from Insects and Pests
(Image: Amber Byfield for Re-Nest.)