Squash bugs are very difficult to manage once their numbers get out of control and can cause a lot of havoc.Generally, they attack young tender plants and seedlings, causing them to wilt and die. .
Keeping Squash Bugs Out of the Garden
The insects suck on the underside of the foliage, causing leaves to wilt and eventually appear black or dried out.Adult squash bugs are 5/8-inch long and about ¼-inch wide, gray to black with brown and orange stripes on the abdomen.Young nymphs are about half as long with a green abdomen and red legs and head that turn black with age.Unless severely damaged, plants usually recover once the squash bug population declines.Squash Bug – a great resource from Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. .
Companion Planting for Pest Control
The first thing to go into my vegetable beds is my lettuces which I over seed like crazy (anticipating frost and cold weather to take a few or a lot of my heads) but this year, they all took!I’m usually turning them into the soil for an extra nitrogen boost for my other vegetables but not this year.I planted them earlier than usual, first week of May, but with our new house I didn’t know what to expect, so now I have 20 heads needing harvest daily.If you have planted potatoes and carrots now is a good time to hill the soil to prevent green shoulders!Also, continue to stake and tie up your tall plants i.e. Peas, roses, raspberries, etc.If you have flowers ‘a galore’ in your garden, why not make a nice bouquet for inside and create a bunch of new blooms outside, instead of early seeds?Make sure you are watering your annuals at least 3 times a week during periods of intense heat, so they are not spoiled before you know it!It is a very important part of integrated pest management, and since we are leaning towards a greener way of growing these days, I think it would be helpful information to have.Plants have natural substances that can alternately repel or attract insects depending on our needs.In essence, companion planting helps bring a balanced ecosystem to our landscape, and allows nature to do its job.By using companion planting, gardeners have found that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies!Companion plants can interplant in your flower or vegetable beds wherever your specifics needs require.And a helpful tip is that plants with a cup shaped flower are the most popular for beneficial insects.I encourage you to do further research for your specific needs as companion planting can truly add beauty and purpose to your garden as well as a healthier environment free of pesticides.Share your ideas and trials with your neighbours as this will encourage more of the ‘good bugs’ to your community which benefits everyone!ALFALFA: This perennial deeply roots, fixes the soil with nitrogen, accumulates iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.Alfalfa has the ability to break up hard clay soil and can even send its’ roots through rocks!They are good company for carrots, celery, chards, corn, eggplant, peas, potatoes, brassicas, beets, radish, strawberry and cucumbers.Beans are great for heavy nitrogen users like corn and grain plants because the nitrogen used up by the corn and grains are replaced at the end of the season when the bean plants die back.The leaves are composed of 25% magnesium making them a valuable addition to the compost pile if you don’t care to eat them.The leaves contain vitamin C and are rich in calcium, potassium and mineral salts.BROCCOLI: Companions plants include Basil, Bush Beans, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Hyssop, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Tomato.Herbs such as rosemary, dill and sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas.Cabbage does not get along with strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, rue, grapes, lettuce and pole beans.Flax produces an oil that may protect root vegetables like carrots from some pests.Fresh catnip steeped in water and sprinkled on plants will drive away flea beetles.CELERY: Bean, cabbage family, leek, onion, spinach and tomato are companions as well as these flowers: cosmos, daisies and snapdragons.Roman chamomile is a low growing perennial that will tolerate almost any soil conditions.CHARDS: Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses are companion plants.Don’t overlook chard’s value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it.Don’t grow chard near squashes, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, corn or herbs.Companion plant to apples, carrots, tomatoes, brassica (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, etc) and many others.CORN: Amaranth, beans, cucumber, white geranium, lamb’s quarters, melons, morning glory, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, pumpkin, soybeans, squash and sunflower are all companion plants.The three plants like the same conditions: warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture.DAHLIAS: These beautiful, tuberous annuals that can have up to dinner plate size flowers repel bad nematodes!The flower heads of dill are one of the best nectar sources for beneficial insects in the garden attracting hoverflies, predatory wasps and many more.EGGPLANT: Plant with amaranth, beans, peas, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold.ELDERBERRY: A spray made from the leaves can be used against aphids, carrot root fly and cucumber beetles.Elderberry leaves added to the compost pile speeds up the decomposing process.Dried fennel leaves provide additional flea repelling insurance when put inside the dog house or kennel.Flax contains tannin and linseed oils which may offend the Colorado potato bug.Flax is an annual from 1-4 feet tall with blue, red or white flowers that readily self sows.They are a beautiful annual plant growing from 2-3 feet high with a bushy growth form.Garlic accumulates sulfur: a naturally occurring fungicide which will help in the garden with disease prevention.Researchers have observed that time-released garlic capsules planted at the bases of fruit trees actually kept deer away.Geraniums help to distract beet leafhoppers, carrier of the curly top virus.KELP: When used in a powder mixture or tea as a spray, this versatile sea herb will not only repel insects but feed the vegetables.KOHLRABI: May be planted with cucumber, mint, onion, oregano, sage, chives and thyme.LEMON BALM: Sprinkle throughout the garden in an herbal powder mixture to deter many bugs.Lemon balm has citronella compounds that make this work: crush and rub the leaves on your skin to keep mosquitoes away!Keeps soil free of bad nematodes; supposed to discourage many insects.French Marigold (T. patula) has roots that exude a substance which spreads in their immediate vicinity killing nematodes.There have been some studies done that proved this nematode killing effect lasted for several years after the plants died back.We have found that placing peppermint cuttings (fresh or dried) where mice are a problem is very effective in driving them off!If you want a fast growing annual vine to cover something up, morning glory is an excellent choice.It is a companion to radishes, cabbage family plants (cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and mustards), deterring aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles, and improving growth and flavour.Deters woolly aphids, whiteflies, cucumber beetles and other pests of the cucurbit family.Keeping that in mind there is no reason not to set potted nasturtiums among your garden beds.A nice variety to grow is Alaska which has attractive green and white variegated leaves.Other companions are carrot, leek, beets, kohlrabi, strawberries, brassicas, dill, lettuce and tomatoes.PARSLEY: Allies: Asparagus, carrot, chives, onions, roses and tomato.PARSNIPS: Plant them along with bush bean, garlic, marigolds, onion, pea, pepper, potato and radish.Parsnips like frequent, regular watering, so do not plant them with anything that prefers a drier soil.Like many root vegetables, parsnips taste their best when harvested after a few light frosts which causes them to convert their starch into sugars.Companions for peas are bush beans, bole beans, carrots, celery, chicory, corn, cucumber, eggplant, parsley, early potato, radish, spinach, strawberry, sweet pepper, tomatoes and turnips.Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavour doesn’t fully develop until maturity.Hot peppers like to be grouped with cucumbers, eggplant, escarole, tomato, okra, Swiss chard and squash.POTATO: Companions for potatoes are bush bean, members of the cabbage family, carrot, celery, corn, dead nettle, flax, horseradish, marigold, peas, petunia, onion and Tagetes marigold.Protect them from scab by putting comfrey leaves in with your potato sets at planting time.Don’t plant these around potatoes: asparagus, cucumber, kohlrabi, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash family, sunflower, turnip and fennel.PURSLANE: This edible weed makes good ground cover in the corn patch.RADISH: Companions for radishes are: beets, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melons, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach and members of the squash family.Keep radishes away from hyssop plants, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and turnips.Some other interesting companions for rhubarb are the beautiful columbine flowers, garlic, onion and roses!A spray made from boiled rhubarb leaves, which contain the poison oxalic acid may be used to prevent blackspot on roses and as an aphicide.There are some very striking varieties of sage with variegated foliage that can be used for their ornamental as well as practical qualities.Gets along with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onion, peas, strawberries and fava bean.It’s a good use of space because by the time squash plants start to get big the spinach is ready to bolt.SQUASH: Companions: Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin.A few, only a few, pole beans may be planted with them and left to grow on the ground with the potato vines.For your reference: you could grow a single sweet potato plant in a box or tub that is at least 12″ high and 15″ wide.Place a stake or trellis in the center to support the vine which grow up and outwards.STRAWBERRY: Friends are beans, borage, lettuce, onions, spinach and thyme.The sunflowers are so tough that the aphids cause very little damage and you will have nice seed heads for the birds to enjoy.These vegetables will compete for nutrients with the turnips and reduce crop size and yield.Grow them with corn, nasturtiums, peas, sunflowers, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and radishes.A handful of yarrow leaves added to the compost pile really speeds things up. .
How to Defeat the Squash Vine Borer & Squash Bugs
We tried surgical attempts to rid the plants of the worms inside the stem, to no avail.These attempts came amid fighting off pesky thieving squirrels, cabbage moths, aphids, and cucumber beetles, among others.I finally decided I need to catalog the pests we see the most and start tracking what works best to defend our garden.Commonly, wilting plants that have already been watered may be a dead giveaway to a vine borer problem.“Frass” – sawdust looking insect excrement or refuse from boring – often appears along infested squash stems as another clue.Take note of the wilting cucurbit leaves in the back left and bottom / front of this image.This is great news, because our kids won’t eat them, so we might as well put the seeds to good use!So far, the information I’ve found on this is anecdotal, but I’m willing to test it and report back on our own experiences.Truthfully, though, the bigger focus should actually be how to prevent vine borers and squash bugs in the first place.Use ACE bandage, pantyhose, or aluminum foil to wrap the stems of the squash plants, preventing vine borers from coming in direct contact to lay their eggs.Fine mesh netting covers can keep out vine borers, squash bugs, and other pests.Similarly, floating row covers offer significant protection from garden pests like the vine borer and squash bugs.Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a bacterial insecticide that gardeners can spray or inject into squash stems.Bt works as a preventative treatment for squash vine borer larvae, which will absorb it when feeding after they hatch.Side Note: I am a little on the fence as I haven’t researched diatomaceous earth extensively and would want to be 1,000% sure it is safe for my family.Wait until early July to plant (Zone 6b) a new round of zucchini and summer squash.For best results, make sure Blue Hubbard seedlings are larger and more mature than zucchini, summer squash, and other cucurbits that you are trying to protect.Since they’re congregating together, you can more easily kill squash bugs with insecticide or sprayable soapy water.If you notice significant breeding activity and young squash pests, you may need to destroy the whole trap crop to prevent all these becoming part of your garden’s ecosystem.– Mix a mild solution of Dawn dish soap and water in a spray bottle.– Encourage squash bug and vine borer predators to naturally protect your plants.– Monitor plants often, looking for vine borer and squash bug eggs on stems and leaves.“Performing surgery” on the plant – Use a thin wire to pierce the worms inside the vines.The plants absorb neem oil and rely on the vascular system to dispense the insecticide.The plants absorb neem oil and rely on the vascular system to dispense the insecticide.Often our spaces boast added benefits like bountiful harvests we can enjoy with our families.The squash vine borer is a formidable foe, and it may take numerous efforts to truly gain the upper hand.Be vigilant and work hard to establish a garden free from the dreaded squash vine borers, or at least one where you can coexist. .
18 Plants That Repel Insects
This means you won’t be able to plant in tidy rows and large blocks of a single vegetable, but it doesn’t take a lot to have an effect. .
Plants that keep pesky bugs out of your garden
They repel insects that love to prey on vegetables, including slugs, aphids, carrot flies, Japanese beetles, and cabbage worms.These pretty little flowers release an airborne chemical that repels whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, many types of beetles and cabbage loopers.Petunias may look delicate but they pack a powerful punch when it comes to repelling aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers and squash bugs.French marigolds, the common type you can get at your local home and garden center, emit a substance through their roots that deters nematodes.Plant marigolds around your tomatoes, or use them as a border mixed with nasturtiums, and you’ll have a happy, healthy garden to enjoy all season long. .