Rootworm

A number of people have asked me how my garden did this summer. For the most part, quite well, although I had a very unfortunate invasion upon my winter squash.

If it had been my summer squash, I could live with it. But my family and I love butternut and acorn squash. The pumpkin patch I planted was for the kids.

Everything was looking great. I had about 15 nice looking butternuts, the pumpkin was blooming, and the acorn was just past the bloom. Then one morning I started to notice wilting here and there, then an entire vine was dead, and soon the whole plant. In my search I noticed that the base of the stem looked like decomposing wood that lays on the forest floor. “Termites?”

I took my knife and slit the stem to open it, and discovered the source of my problems–the rootworm, also known as the squash vine borer.

A little research revealed to me that the rootworm enters the stalk of a healthy squash plant and begins eating its core during the larva stage. The plant dies, and the larva matures into a big black moth. Lovely.

Once the larva has entered the stalk, there is virtually nothing you can do. The most effective way to attack the rootworm and save your plants is prevention. You have to keep them from ever entering the plant. Once they are in, destruction is assured.

What if American education was like a beautiful looking squash plant, . . . ?

How is your garden growing?

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