Clean Up, Compost, and Bugs

Fall is always unpredictable.  After a week of gray and rain, we have had a wonderful weekend of sun and 80 degree temperatures.  I started to clean out dead plants.  I pulled the corn stalks and used  them as decoration around the house.  I also started adding composted sheep manure.

This is the first growing area has been cleaned up and fertilized with composted sheep manure.

There are still some flowers blooming in the garden.  The sunflowers are opening nicely.  The bees have been hanging out there regularly.  When the temperatures starts to drop the bees start moving slower.

Can you see the bees on the flowers?

While watching the bees on the sunflowers I also noticed other insects.

Here is a "beneficial" insect. A type of lady beetle. They will eat aphids and hopefully other damaging insects.

Very near the lady beetle was another insect.  I knew this one was damaging, but I did not know its name.  I went to Cornell University’s Entomology Department website.  They have wonderful fact-sheets about insect species, and insect topics.  You can go there to learn about your insect issues. Click here.  I used their website to research my problem.

Do you know the name of this insect? Do you know what it can do?

I found out this insect is the Stripped Cucumber Beetle.  I also learned it can carry bacteria wilt, which affects squash family plants, and can overwinter the bacteria and spread it to young plants next spring.  This beetle will also cause damage by eating various parts throughout the growing season.

So Monday morning I will go out and pick off as many bugs as possible. I am also going to look for eggs.  I am hoping the cooler, morning temperatures will slow them down enough for me to catch and kill them.

If you are having insect problems I encourage you to look at Cornell’s site.  The information there is well researched and practical.

The blueberries with some new pine needle mulch

I have been raking up falling pine needles this week, and will be raking more.  I will use the pine needles as mulch, especially on the blueberries.  Blueberries love acidic soil and the pine needles will help increase the level of acid in the plant.

This week will include more garden cleaning.  I also plan to cut down the black raspberry canes.  The weeds have also taken over, and I need to get in there and fight the good fight.  I encourage you to pick some apples or buy cider from a local farmer.  Enjoy the leaves.


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