Monday, December 17, 2012

Ugh, gross...Squash Vine Borer

Okay, so this past summer/fall, I did my great garden experiment.

Overall, I guess it was successful.  I got some produce and what we got tasted pretty good.

But let's be frank, I'm a perfectionist.

In the spirit of working on trying to view the glass (at least when it comes to myself) as half full, I will concede that all of the lessons I learned about garden were successful.  Winter, between the growing seasons, seems like a good time to reflect.

Let's review a rather unsavory lesson.

That would be the tale of the Squash Vine Borer.

Yeah, anything that's called a Borer is probably disgusting.  And let me tell you, it is.

Remember my pretty zucchini blooms?

So, I planted what we should probably refer to as a "whole lotta crap," heretofore referred to as WLC.  (Side note, I now think that when your neighbors say things like, "Wow!  You have the greenest thumb in the neighborhood!," they're actually trying to politely tell you that your yard looks like a jungle.)  So in spite of all the WLC, I had actually planted zucchini before.  Summer '11, actually.  And that zucchini was fabulous.  I harvested a good number of healthy, sizable zucchinis off my two plants in my ginormous pot.

This year?  Yeah, not so much.

In fact, my zucchini looked embarrassingly awful.  Embarrassing like how my dad used to pick me up from after-school activities in high school wearing his slippers (a threat to get me in the car faster).

Actually, more accurately, the zucchini looked disgusting.  The leaves kept turning brown and wilting.  I pulled them off in an attempt to rid it of whatever was happening.

By the way, I don't think that measly attempt would have made a difference no matter what the problem actually was.

Mr. Gardener thought it was a fungus.  So I sprayed it with some anti-fungal stuff.  But that didn't seem to make a difference.  Plus all the WLC seemed fine.  Okra everywhere!  Additionally, even though I live in Virginia and it can get fairly humid, this summer was dry, so I didn't think it was probably fungus.

Then, this stuff that looked like sawdust appeared on the stem.  Let me tell you now that this was probably the most obvious sign.  But I was in serious denial.  There was nothing seriously wrong with the zucchini.  It would just go away.


I was stupid.

Now the deceiving thing was that my zucchinis were still growing.  I got a couple tiny ones.

But once they got past a certain size (or close to a normal size), the ends would go bad.  They'd get all squishy and gross and just rot away.  Literally.  Liquefied.  So I assumed it was Blossom End Rot.  Again...fungus.  But the anti-fungal didn't do anything.  And the zucchini just got more disgusting.

But really, in its sheer nastiness, the zucchini was trying to tell me something.

Finally, one day in late July/early August, I came out of my denial stupor and accepted that my zucchini was, in fact, A) foul, B) dying, C) making the rest of my garden look bad, and D) dying.

So, I finally did some googling "wilted," "sawdust," "rotting zucchinis" and some photos on on Google confirmed what I had begun to suspect.

Squash Vine Borer.

These are the young of a moth species known for killing squash and like crops.  I found the entry wound on the stem and after looking at pictures of the adult of the species, I realized that I had seen a number of them at various times.

These nasty little biotches destroyed the plant.  In fact, I completely confirmed the diagnosis when I pulled the plant out of the pot and there were several in the soil, squirming around in all their self-righteous glory.

Until they suffocated in the plastic bag in which I dumped all the contaminated soil.

Turnabout's fair play.

I did not take pictures of the gross little things.  They were like short, swollen, white worms.  If you must know what they and their adult counterparts look like, I will allow you to google them.


During the winter, I am going to strategize my fight against them.  I will share the battle plan with you as soon as it is formed.


There are no words that I can say, that any of us can say.

But I'll take comfort in a Savior who knew the steps we would take before we were even formed, who can catch us when we fall, and hold us when our hearts are breaking.  Who gave us the freedom to choose Him.

Who keeps His promises.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear John...

Dear Singer Simple,

I realize that you and I have been working hard lately.  We pieced an entire quilt top and I recognize that I'm asking a bit of you to quilt it.  But really, it's just straight line quilting a quarter inch on either side of each seam; it's truly not that much.

But, really, do you realize that it's Christmas and I had big plans for you and I?  We were supposed to make a quilt for my brother, a tote bag for my dad, a new eye mask for Josh, and hopefully a quilt for my mom.  Ambitious, I know, but I thought we could get through it.  I know that Jesus gave them the best gift of all, but I do enjoy sharing and showing my affections through quilt making.

You helped me make fun stockings to hang on the shelf.  What happened?

I am disappointed in your inability to sew a consistent stitch length and feed in a straight line.  Pretty much, you're making my sewing look terrible.

Thanks for what you did while I was learning to sew.  We had some great times together.  In fact, my last project had no piece that ended its life in the trash.  However, I think we're in different places now.  It's time to move on to a sewing machine that Grandma didn't snarl into a broken mess after she bought it cheaply at Wal-Mart.

Singer Simple, I think it's time that we broke up.


P.S. The real love of my life promised to help me find a new machine that actually sews properly.
P.P.S. I hope you find new life at the Goodwill.  (Soon, but not yet, I'm still going to try to use your sorry behinny while I still can.)