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My sweet potato slips are getting started in jars on my window sill.  These were grown in my garden last year and have begun sprouting in the garage.  They are the small ones that never got eaten. 

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Squash vine borers are native to the eastern US, and by this time of the year, they’re munching on our plants and causing damage. Squash vine borers are different from squash bugs, by the way.

Squash Vine Borer

The telltale signs of an infected plant: rotten stem, sawdust-like substance, and/or wilting leaves. Check the base of the stem. If it looks rotten or hollow or you see a sawdust-like substance, act quickly. If your squash leaves are also wilting, it might be too late to save the plant.

The adult moth resembles a wasp, and here in Georgia, has two broods a year, laying its eggs at the base of the stem. The egg hatches and then the larvae bores itself into the stem. The sawdust-like substance is actually waste from the larvae. The larvae, after doing a number to your squash vine, burrows itself into the soil and pupates the next spring, restarting the cycle.

Larvae

Adult Moth

How to save an infected plant: Slit the stem with a sharp knife and pull the larvae out. Cover the damaged area with plenty of soil to encourage root growth and keep it moist. With a little luck, the squash plant will perk up.

What to do with the larvae: Squish the sucker, but if you can’t stomach that, drop it inside a birdhouse. If you drop it into the soil, it will overwinter and pupate next year.

How to discourage squash vine borers:

  • Till the soil to expose overwintered larvae.
  • Rotate crops.
  • Wrap the base of the stem with pantyhose or foil to prevent egg laying.

Further reading:

  • Clemson Extension (Disregard any non-organic recommendations! But they have great pictures and descriptions.)
  • ATTRA (Organic recommendations!)
Do you have squash vine borers in your garden?

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We compost at our garden. Compostable waste is divided into two general categories: brown waste (carbon-rich) and green waste (nitrogen-rich). A good balance for compost is 70% brown waste and 30% green waste. This waste will break down into nutrient-rich “black gold” that you can add to your garden beds.

Several round wire cages are set up at the rear of the garden for compostable waste. Additionally, a large pile for “other” waste is located near the cistern. Finished compost is located in the brown trash can at the rear of the garden.

Our compost etiquette: If you use some of the finished compost in your plot, please volunteer to help turn the compost. (Send an email.)

Examples of Brown Waste:

  • Dried leaves
  • Wood chips
  • Shredded paper (non-glossy)
  • Washed eggshells

Examples of Green Waste:

  • Spent crops (free of disease and without seed pods)
  • UNTREATED grass clippings (pesticides can kill microorganisms beneficial to composting)
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (minimal citrus peels)
  • Coffee grounds (no more than 10% of the compost pile)

How the Round Wire Compost Cages Work:

  • Cut waste into small pieces (finger-sized).
  • Place FOOD SCRAPS inside rat excluder (the cylinder in the center).
  • Add brown waste on top.
  • Replace the black pot-top.
  • Place other waste inside the outer cylinder.

What to Toss in the Compost Pile Next to the Cistern:

  • weeds, Bermuda grass, crab grass
  • diseased plants
  • seeds or fresh roots
  • large woody stems

We Do NOT Compost:

  • feces (That includes NO dog feces.)
  • dairy, fats, or cooked food
  • meat or fish

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A team of cycling bandits were recently spotted in our garden swiping vegetables. It appears to be a random act of healthy eating. They reportedly stole red peppers, tomatoes, and squash.

What you can do to deter garden crime…

  • Introduce yourself to possible bandits. Approach with caution; bandits may be armed with harvesting shears and vegetable recipes.
  • Tell them about our website: www.dunwoodygarden.org where they can find membership and contact information.
  • Direct them to the thieves’ beds near the front of the garden where they are welcome to run amok.
  • Keep your plot well cared for. The Untended Garden Theory of Crime parallels the Broken Window Theory of Crime.
  • Personalize your plot. Go right ahead: get nuts with the painted signs and water gnomes! And have fun releasing your inner artist.

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Beans and peas produce seeds pods, but so do broccoli, cabbage and other brassicas. After the brassica plants reach maturity (after  you’ve picked the broccoli head and plucked the outer cabbage leaves), if left in the ground, they will flower and eventually produce seed pods. The pods can be dried and the seeds then extracted and saved for next year’s planting.

Saving Brassica Seeds

Saving Brassica Seeds

Brassica Pods and Seeds

Brassica Pods and Seeds

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ORGANIC GARDENING for Beginners Workshop

Where:   Dunwoody Community Garden at Brook Run
Date:   Saturday, June 5
Time:   9AM 

Experienced gardeners will share information and answer questions in an informal, hands-on setting.  Free for garden members.  A $5 donation is suggested for non-members. Reservations required, space limited.  Email us at:  membership@DunwoodyGarden.org or Dunwoody Community Garden on Facebook

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Water Smart

Dogwoods are blooming, and according to old southern tradition, that means it’s planting time! The number one way to kill those tomatoes and squash? Watering mistakes!

Your plot needs 1-2 inches of water a week. Water deeply and mulch. Also, don’t be fooled by leaves drooping in the hot mid-day sun. If they perk back up in the cooler evening hours, you don’t need to water. Click here for a brief set of watering tips.

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