Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cucumber beetles & Gourds

 Little, yellow, different... it is the ever pesky Cucumber beetle. If they flourish in your garden, even Advil won't help minimize the pain. They attack an assortment of plants and in their larva stage they are also known as corn rootworms. In some zones these bugs have even figured out crop rotation so the whole soybean to corn to soybean trick is no longer effective.

 If you are battling these bothersome beings.. take the time to read this link. 

 I have a few that pop up in my yard from time to time but not a lot. I will drop whatever I am doing to squish these bugs.  Aside from staggered plantings and rotating crops as best as I can, I try to mix up plantings to further make things less easy for them.

 In the fall to early winter, many gourds, jack-o-lanterns and the like end up in the compost pile. Even through freezes and exposure to the elements, tons of volunteers appear every spring. I have only ever planted pumpkins and gourds once and that was a few years ago, but ever since we have had several pumpkins and too many gourds.

This would be one example.. most likely pumpkin x gourd. The original gourds had this coloring, were quite small and bottle shaped. This one in the picture is bigger than a basketball and has escaped into the yard about 5 feet away from where it sprouted. The vines are over 12 feet long easy. 

 I almost sent it to compost camp, but the flowers on it stayed open so late into the day that getting past the bees was proving tricky. The corner garden is sporting another 4 pumpkins that don't seem to be crosses. Also quite a few warty round ones and small striped ones.. yeah, there are a ton. 

 I had hundreds and hundreds sprout.. I tried to weed them out but even more would appear just a few days later. I thought with the late surprise snow I was in the clear... not so much. The snow wiped out only a few seedlings and these evil monsters are the remnants that survived.

 I gave away over 200 various gourds last fall. It is no easy task, and you have to quickly say "here! Halloween or Thanksgiving decorations!" .. shove the bag at them and then run like hell to an awaiting car that is still running.. before they can protest.

 One of the gourd plants last year threw out rather suggestive fruit. They were quite round and had a nipple on the bottom. One weekend my husband and his buddies, after a few too many beers, decided to get in the Halloween spirit. They grabbed some of those gourds and gave Michelle's scarecrow decoration a breast augmentation. The tin man woulda ditched Dorothy in a New York minute for that scarecrow. 

 What I always wanted to try and do... but never got around to it.. is carve up a bunch of the gourds into jack-o-lanterns and somehow string them up on a lit pole. It would look like a jack-o-lantern totem pole. That's what I would want to line up the pathway to my front door... a hallway made up of menacing flickering faces. A whole arbor tunnel of them would be sooooo cool. 

 Knowing me though.. after carving the 4th one I'd just settle for hopping out from behind the pine tree at the kids. Sometimes it is good to be easily amused. I will do it at some point.. it is one of those creative visions you just HAVE to bring to reality.. if even only for one year.

 This year... I am still working on it. I have a few ideas.. but for now I have to count how many gourds I have growing just as soon as I can find them under the vine jungle.

1 comment:

  1. My GF has volumes on "punkin" carving she loves em. She didn't manage to plant any this year although she talked about it.