6.26.11 Sunday … !

Busy with the tree on the barn, gardening, and drat! a fox(?) got one of our favorite chickens – ol’ Webby … all that’s left is the feathers in the driveway. (but not to worry – we have a plan for Mr. Fox … hee hee hee hee)

Here is the weather loop that hit us on Tuesday:

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/grr/62111loop.gif

Knocked out our power (electric line snapped) for about 30 hours, and the wind (had to be 60 mph coming across the pond) snapped an oak on our barn. Eric and I were watching the storm / wind / rain from the living room door – and saw the tree bent over – and then it snapped. From where we were standing, it looked like it hit the studio (for those who are familiar with our barn – there were 3 “bays” – the kids turned the 3rd bay into a studio – 2nd bay is where we work on cars and stuff – 1st bay is … well … junk! and just past the studio, overlooking the creek is the “lodge” – built out of cool barn beams and boards)

anyway, the tree just barely missed the studio where ALL the kids were. Well, where we THOUGHT everyone was. Zack – he was in the 2nd bay (where the tree landed) working on some project, when bam! the tree fell and one of the branches slammed through the ceiling – knocked the flourescent lights off – and none of them broke! He thought it was the huge maple that fell on the studio, and ran in to check on everyone. By then, they were in the “lodge” (deck overlooking the creek).

 

More later … Eric just called … sec …

6.20.11 … Monday … rain

so I’ll get the majority of the transplants ready – all the extra/double pumpkin, squash, etc – get them ready to put in the “overflow” garden aka the lower garden by the pond – so named because it’s the first likely spot to get a frost due to it being lower than the rest of the gardening areas. But VERY fertile ground right next to the pond.

pics coming later – right now, I have to get cracking on the plants – rain is expected for the next 5 ish days … ah, well – time for me to get caught up on my gardening notes.

6.17.11 … Friday …

10:30 — been up since 5 or so – just now getting around to this blog – had to make a few dozen stops on the Internet train … : )

It’s going to be raining tomorrow, looks like most of the day – so if I want the rest of the taters, maters, and gaters (whoops, ain’t planting no gaters) planted, I better get to it today …

ok, ok – and also I’ll make the trellises … uh huh … sure I will …

me:

(guess which one is the horse … kekekeke)

2 pm: made 5 chicken wire “dresses” (similar to pic above) for the melons that keep getting eaten up. 
Had 6 hills (several seeds per hill) – two hills were eaten within the past week.  Strange – can’t see any bunny prints, no deer prints – mebe a bug, but which one…a mystery to solve!  the loss of the 2 hills aren’t a big deal – I was going to move 2 from Sun row to Mon row, anyway.  and you can’t grow 2-3 in a hill – you have to either snip off one (wabbit helped me out, I guess ::rolleyes::) or transplant the extras.  I plan on putting some down in the lower “pond” garden, so no biggie. 
Also, the Dwarf French beans are starting to get “et” a little (that’s EllyMay talk for “eaten”

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ok, found out this (sorry, just cutting and pasting for now – will edit later … )

my plant:

and this is the picture from http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/icm/2006/5-22/beanleafbeetle.html
showing similar damage … conclusion: a bean leaf beetle is doing the damage

“…Adult bean leaf beetles typically eat round or oval holes in cotyledons and unifoliolate leaves. They will feed initially on the expanded cotyledons, creating small pock marks in either the top or bottom side of the cotyledons. Fresh feeding (less than 12 hours old) is still green and the tissue at the feeding scar is moist. Old feeding (more than 2 days) is often brown, calloused, and dry. Rarely do they make a hole by eating completely through a cotyledon. Beetles also may feed along the edge of the cotyledon.

Beetles feeding on young leaves will eat along the leaf edge, or when feeding in the “middle” of the leaf, they will create small round or oval holes. Occasionally their feeding is extensive and they will consume all of the young leaf. As long as the growing point is not killed, the plant will recover from the injury.

Very few other insects feed on cotyledons and unifoliolate or first trifoliolate leaves. Exceptions are young grasshoppers, which may consume the entire cotyledon or all of the leaf except for the major leaf veins, and cutworms, which also consume large portions of the plant. If you find small round or oval holes–think bean leaf beetles…”

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…Some insect pests may actually eat plant foliage, resulting in visible holes in the leaves. (which is what I have on my bean plants)

Types of insect pests that may eat bean plants include bean leaf beetles, Mexican bean beetles and vegetable leafminers. Other common pests, such as aphids, thrips and spider mites, also cause damage to plants, but will not actually eat holes in plant leaves. Leafminers are maggots that make mine-like patterns in leaves.
Identification
Bean leaf beetles tend to feed on young bean leaves or the outer wall of bean pods. They are usually red or yellow with black spots on their backs. Mexican bean beetles can be identified by the eight black spots on their wings. They cause extensive damage to leaves, resulting in a lace-like remnant that quickly withers and dies.
Control
Bean pests can be controlled with a variety of methods. Start with mild, natural pesticides such as neem, pyrethrin and insectidal soaps. For extreme infestations, pesticides such as carbaryl, malathion and cyhalothrin may be necessary.
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Observe the green bean plant damage. Look for holes in the leaves. Eventually, these holes will become more frequent until the leaf is a skeleton of its previous state. Mexican bean beetles also eat the green beans. See if there are small tears and bite marks in several different spots on the green bean.

2
Spot a ladybug look alike. Mexican bean beetles are similar to ladybugs in size and structure. The beetles are tan with about twenty-four spots on their backs. They feed during the evening or early morning and crawl down to the soil or undersides of the leaves for protection from the hot sun during the day.

3
Check under the leaves. Mexican bean beetles lay their eggs on the undersides of the bean plants. Look for small clusters of about forty yellow eggs. The beetles can lay several generations in one season. Keep checking throughout the garden season for more egg clusters.

4
Use an insect field guide and find a picture of the Mexican bean beetle to help identify the pests. Check local agricultural centers or greenhouses for books on common garden pests. Likely, the Mexican bean beetle is in one of those guides.

5
Hire an expert to identify the Mexican bean beetles. If you’re not sure if the insect you have is a Mexican bean beetle, an entomologist (insect scientist) or even a horticulturist may be able to positively identify it. Place the insect in a small baggie and take it along with you to a local greenhouse where you are likely to find a horticulturist.

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fine, but how do I get rid of them….

Bacillus thuringiensis
Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, are natural bacteria that kill the larvae of several garden pests, including those that harm fruit trees. The bacterial sprays are considered organic because they contain no chemicals and target only certain garden pests, rather than birds, mammals or beneficial insects. Manufacturers offer several strains, each geared to separate groups of garden pests. In the fruit orchard, Bt combats the codling moth, the green fruitworm and peach tree borers, among others. Seek out the Bt strain that targets the insects attacking your fruit trees. The Rodale volume cautions that in many states certified organic farmers cannot use the spray because the bacteria are created through genetic engineering. Others believe products such as Bt offer an earth-friendly alternative to harmful pesticides.

Compost Tea
Prepare compost tea buy soaking a burlap bag filled with compost in a large container of water. Let the mixture steep for at least two weeks. The resulting nutrient-rich liquid makes an effective spray that not only delivers nutrients directly to the trees’ foliage, but also helps protect apricot, peach and plum trees from brown rot.

Oil Sprays
Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tbsp. liquid soap, then dilute 2 1/2 tsp. of the mixture in 1 cup water. This homemade formula mimics the effects of commercial dormant oil and summer oil sprays. Oil sprays cut off the oxygen supply of young insects and also prevent insect eggs from hatching. Because these products are petroleum-based, some–but not all–organic gardeners avoid them. Use either the plant-based homemade formula or the petroleum-based commercial products to control harmful pests.

Garlic and Hot Pepper Sprays
Many organic gardeners rely on an all-purpose homemade spray to deal with a variety of insects. Because they are inexpensive and simple to create, you may wish to try them as your first line of defense against orchard pests. Blend 1/2 cup hot peppers with 2 cups water, strain and pour into a clean spray bottle. Alternatively, soak a dozen chopped garlic cloves in 1 pint mineral oil for at least one day. Strain and pour the infused oil into a clean spray bottle. If the mixture is too thick, dilute with water.

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aha .. update…http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/M1185.html

The bean leaf beetle, Cerotoma trifurcata, is an occasional pest of snap beans (formerly called string beans or green beans) in home gardens in Minnesota. It is also found on soybeans, clover, dry edible beans, and several leguminous weeds. High numbers in recent years have been attributed to milder winters or adequate snow cover that insulated and protected overwintering adult populations. Bean leaf beetles are generally more common in southern Minnesota than in the northern part of the state.

Identification
Bean leaf beetle adults are about ¼ inch long, oval-shaped insects. Their heads are visible from above. Most bean leaf beetles in Minnesota are yellowish-green with four black spots and black markings along the outside margins of the wings. However, you may also find individuals that are red and some that lack spots. Despite these differences in coloration, you can always recognize a bean leaf beetle by the black triangle at the top of its wing covers.

Biology and Life Cycle
Adult bean leaf beetles overwinter in the soil under leaves (especially in wooded areas), in clumps of grass, or inside dried curled leaves in leaf litter. Overwintering beetles emerge from mid‑May to early June. They feed first, then mate. Females lay clusters of about 12 orange eggs in the soil around the base of the beans. Eggs hatch into larvae one to three weeks later, depending on temperature.

White larvae feed on the bean roots. Despite this feeding, they are not known to seriously damage plants. They feed for about two to three weeks and then pupate in the soil in earthen cells. Adults emerge from mid‑July through August. There is typically only one generation per year in Minnesota, although two generations can occur in the southern part of the state. When this happens, the first generation appears in July and the second generation appears in late August and September.

Damage
Adult bean leaf beetles prefer to eat tender young plant tissue. They feed primarily on the undersides of leaves, creating round, 1/8 inch diameter holes. High populations of adults can defoliate the first true leaves and kill young seedlings. Extensive feeding can reduce the vigor and yields of bean plants. When pods form later in the season, adults will also feed on their outer surface, but usually this just results in cosmetic damage. Although bean leaf beetles are known to carry and spread some plant diseases, this is generally not an issue in home gardens as most snap bean varieties are not considered susceptible to those diseases.

Management
If you have experienced bean leaf beetle infestations in the past, it is important to monitor your garden for their presence, as they are not necessarily numerous enough to be considered a pest every season. If you have never found bean leaf beetles in your garden, or have found them only infrequently, it’s less important to watch for them. The best time to look for these beetles is in the afternoon between 12:00 and 4:00. It’s especially critical to inspect your plants early in the season when they’re more susceptible to feeding injury.

Be on the lookout not only for the presence of bean leaf beetle adults, but also for their feeding damage. If you find moderate or severe injury (about 25% defoliation) on 10% or more of your plants, you should protect your snap beans, especially after the first set of true leaves is present. As snap beans grow larger and develop more leaves, they become more tolerant of defoliation.

Cultural

You can minimize the risk of bean leaf damage in spring by delaying the planting time of your snap beans. In southern Minnesota, plant in early to mid‑June to help you escape most of the damage by overwintering adults. Plant correspondingly later if you are in central or northern Minnesota. Snap beans take about 60 days to grow. You can plant them as late as mid-July (southern Minnesota) to the end of June (northern Minnesota).

Physical

You can handpick bean leaf beetles in your garden to reduce their numbers. Drop them into a pail of soapy water to kill them. Be careful, as bean leaf beetles often drop to the ground when plants are disturbed. You may want to position the pail underneath the plant to catch any that fall. Physical removal may not be practical in larger gardens.

Insecticides

If necessary, spray your snap beans with an insecticide to protect them from bean leaf beetles. Be sure that bean leaf beetles are present and they are numerous enough to justify treatment. It is less necessary to treat bean leaf beetles later in the summer.

There are several insecticides that are effective against bean leaf beetles, including esfenvalerate, permethrin, or carbaryl. Read the label carefully to be certain that the particular product you would like to spray is registered for use on beans.