Saturday, July 23, 2022

They're Hungry (as always) - Japanese Beetles Summer 2022

When you venture outside to your 85+ degree garden in mid-afternoon, say
2ish, are you pirouetting to avoid flying Japanese beetle adults like I am?

If your answer is no then either the hungry buggers (keeping it clean) haven't arrived in great numbers to your landscape or you have few plants they want to devour - a rarity since they love scores of perennials, including grass turf, annuals, vegetables, trees and shrubs.

In our garden, they love and I mean absolutely adore, must have, gotta have and seek out the hundred+ feet of Silver Lace Vine planted over the fence next to the alley.   

Very close to where the vines grow and the beetles fly around and on me are the raised beds where I spend time daily doing a variety of chores. Re-filling the bird bath, adjusting the shade cloth over the tomatoes, harvesting basil and watering the summer seeded cover crop are just a few examples. 

Often I'll work for ten or more minutes at a time pulling the prostrate weeds that cleave to the granite rock chip walkways around the raised beds. Weed pulling can be tedious, but dodging flying metallic beetles is 0.00 enjoyment.

I've written extensively about Japanese beetle management of adults and their offspring (egg, larvae, pupae) that grow and reside in our lawns until next summer (next summer's adult batch of beetles). 

Below click on the links to read further or for a quick review about JB management. Plus there are some excellent resources you might like to bookmark.

In the meantime, here are some easy cultural (no or low expense) tips to help until they die out in early fall.

  • Keep grass turf tall, as tall as you can tolerate during the 2-3 months that adult JBs are torturing our plants. Tall lawns grow larger root masses which helps the lawn mostly tolerate JB larva/grub feeding now into fall.  
  • Tall lawns in the heat of summer will also shade out weeds and moisture will remain longer when watered. Think about short, scalped lawns ... you always see more weeds and they dry out super quickly.
  • Deter laid eggs from developing into the next larvae stages by keeping the lawn on the dry side during prime time JB Mama egg laying (most of the summer). Those little eggs need moisture to grow to the larvae stage. Reducing watering can be a bit tricky if you have tree roots growing all through the lawn (I do).  
  • Please avoid keeping tree roots lacking needed moisture by cutting off all water; trees are valuable landscape plants and they are stressed enough most summers in Colorado.  
  • Pick off the adult beetles when they are sluggish in the early morning and late in the evening. It's immediate death when flicked into a soapy water container (I prefer Dawn dish soap). Rinse and feed to your chickens or neighbor who keeps chickens, they should comp you with some eggs for your trouble. 
  • To prevent plants from being chewed cover your special plants and blooms with inexpensive bridal tulle or similar lightweight tight mesh cloths from your locally owned garden center. I've been using tulle for years on the basil plants grown in Smart Pots®. Covering is fairly visible, so just remove it temporarily (if needed) when you're having guests over. 

    Resources:

    Japanese Beetle To Dos and Ponderings 

    My Japanese Beetle Website - tons of helpful information

    A GREAT observational list of plants that Japanese Beetles like least to most for the Colorado and Intermountain region.

    Report YOUR observations of feeding at this survey LINK so the list can be expanded and updated.
     
                             

Monday, July 4, 2022

Early Summer Eats from the Garden 2022

Despite planting fewer vegetables this summer to conserve water, we're not going entirely without. 

Let the summer eating begin ... or continue!

Here's a quick run down of our edible garden and some photos - 

  • We've been enjoying a lettuce salad with dinner just about every night for several weeks. I seeded a handful or two of "Flashy Trout Back" babyleaf lettuce in early spring and not only is this selection delicious, but the leaves are a beautiful shade of green with heavy freckles. When plants look this good, they truly taste better. 
  • Yellow and red onion sets were planted the same time as the lettuce. A few were harvested early as green onions. The remaining onions are growing nicely into fuller sized onions which can be harvested just about any time. I like to let them grow well into fall to enjoy over the fall and winter. 
  • Garlic scapes were harvested a few weeks ago and made into pesto and used in recipes or as snacks spread over crackers. 
  • The fall planted garlic is harvested and drying (curing) in the basement.
  • The seeded Smart Pots® of basil are hitting their stride and added to salads and made into pesto. We'll process and freeze batches of chopped leaves with olive oil soon.  
  • The tomato plants (just three) have small fruit, or as my Mom used to say - the first noticeable tomatoes are "setting on."
  • Martini cucumbers were seeded a couple of weeks ago. I intentionally waited to direct seed so they'll hopefully be ready to harvest about the same time the "Early Girl" tomatoes start ripening. The combination of olive oil drizzled cucumbers and tomatoes (with a touch of salt) has become our afternoon fresh vegetable happy hour. 
 
The lasagna dish to the right came out a tad runny, but it just "ran" with outstanding flavor. The main ingredients included spicy Italian sausage, last summer's thawed, previously frozen tomatoes, 3/4 cup of fresh garlic scape pesto and young basil greens on top. The secret ingredient replacing the ricotta cheese was creme fraiche.
 
Summer lasagna isn't very refreshing on hot summer days, so I prepared this dish on one of the rainy, cooler days a few weeks ago. 
 
Newly harvested garlic tastes very mild, it heats up as it cures. One of our favorite meals is garlic infused olive oil* on low heat drizzled over pasta topped with shrimp or chicken. Top with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, crumbled prosciutto and basil and you'll instantly become the family chef.
 
*Please pay heed and when making garlic infused oil, use it same day or within a few days (stored in the refrigerator at forty degrees). There is a possible risk of botulism with homemade infused oil not stored properly. Read more here
 





Basil is growing in Smart Pots® covered with bridal tulle to prevent Japanese beetles from eating (yes, they have officially arrived to our yard).

I hope you're also enjoying your homegrown fruits and vegetables. 
 
Happy Summer Dear Reader! 
 
 

Monday, June 6, 2022

The NEW Japanese Beetle Plant Feeding List is Ready - 2022

Attention gardeners, homeowners and green industry professionals -

We've all been wanting a Colorado and Rocky Mountain region list of plants that catalogs Japanese beetle eating preferences. It has arrived!

John Murgel, Extension Agent - Horticulture and Natural Resources in Douglas County has designed and organized this important plant list based on plant type and Japanese beetle proclivity for feeding. Thank you John!

The list includes No Feeding, Light Feeding, Moderate Feeding and Heavy Feeding of foliage and or flowers.  

Keep in mind that the list is based on feeding observations by people in the gardening community during the 2021 growing season. There is overlap on some of the plants on their feeding preferences because this voracious pest insect's appetite can be influenced by its surroundings and environmental factors. This is to be expected.

Please, share the links.

Japanese Beetle Plant Damage Lists

 

Japanese Beetle Feeding Survey - Report this year's plant feeding observations.

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Sweet Rain in Spring 2022

It's long been said that the best weather for sleeping is hearing it rain outside. Raise your hand if this applies to you. ✋ 

Now raise your hand if you're a gardener and love all the recent spring rain more than a good night's sleep. ✋✋✋ 

The rain gauge topped out at 1.7 inches at our home in central Denver.

As wonderful as all this needed moisture is for our parched landscapes, keep in mind that there is one major downside to gardening after a heavy rain event.

Avoid, at all cost, walking on or planting in wet soil. If you dig in wet, clay soil you can count on the soil particles becoming more compacted than they already are.

Digging in wet gardens spells trouble for the soil structure.

Think of the most dense piece of fudge you've ever eaten and how heavy and intense the sugars and chocolate feel together. Now double or triple this denseness and you have Colorado wet soil. 

When gardening in wet conditions, the soil becomes clumpy and unworkable when it dries out. You will curse (a lot) when you see these results. Just say no and let the soil dry in a few days or as long as it takes. You'll know it is ready when a handful of soil crumbles through your fingers.

Check out my garden video from The Denver Post a few years ago when we had a similar rainy spring season - 

Click here if video doesn't pop up.

No time to waste waiting for the soil to dry out? Okay then, want to talk about weeds that need pulling. 😉


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Memorial Day 2022

Memorial Day takes place on the last Monday of May every year.

We honor those who died while serving in our country's armed forces. The tradition started out as Decoration Day around the time the Civil War ended when people often visited graves of soldiers.

Memorial Day is about honoring men and women who died defending the United States of America. 

This day is about remembering with gratitude.

I took this photo at the Normandy American Cemetery located in Colleville-sur-Mer France in October of 2014.


 

Sleep comrades, sleep and rest 

   On this Field of the Grounded Arms

Where foes no longer molest,

   Nor sentry's shot alarms!

 

Ye have slept on the ground before,

   And started to your feet

At the cannon's sudden roar,

   Or the drum's redoubling beat. 

 

But in this camp of Death 

   No sound your slumber breaks;

Here is no fevered breath,

   No wound that bleeds and aches.


All is repose and peace,

   Untrampled lies the sod;

The shouts of battle cease,

   It is the Truce of God!

 

Rest comrades, rest and sleep!

   The thoughts of man shall be

As sentinels to keep

   Your rest from danger free.

 

Your silent tents of green

   We deck with fragrant flowers;

Yours has the suffering been,

   The memory shall be ours. 

 

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep! The thoughts of men shall be As sentinels to keep Your rest from danger free. Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers; Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.

Read more at: https://pickmeuppoetry.org/
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep! The thoughts of men shall be As sentinels to keep Your rest from danger free. Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers; Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.

Read more at: https://pickmeuppoetry.org/
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep! The thoughts of men shall be As sentinels to keep Your rest from danger free. Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers; Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.

Read more at: https://pickmeuppoetry.or

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)