Waite Park Community Garden

Waite Park Community Garden is maintained by the community of participating gardeners.

Squash Bugs and What to Do About It

If you are a returning gardener to the Waite Park Community Garden you will probably already be aware that we have a squash bug problem. Squash bugs love zucchini, most winter squash, watermelon, and will even eat cucumbers. So if you are planning on growing any of these plants you may also soon be acquainted with squash bugs. Squash bugs can do a lot of damage, and they keep multiplying if unchecked. There are a few ways to deal with them.

The first way is to check the underside of squash leaves weekly for eggs and nymphs, and kill them. You can also eliminate adults by placing a board on the ground which they will hide under overnight and then squishing them. This method works, but is not for the faint of heart as it required a lot of bug squishing and killing.

Picture of squash bug eggs and baby squash bugs on the underside of a leaf.
Photo from U of M Extension Services

The second method is basically preventing the adult from infesting your plants in the first place. One way to do this is to use a row cover material to provide a physical barrier against infestation. This will need to be removed once the plant flowers so that pollination can happen. Another way to prevent squash bugs is by waiting to plant your squash until the squash bugs have moved past the egg laying/infesting part of their cycle. Start your squash plants at home in a pot (not too small they grow fast), and wait to transfer to the garden around mid June. I did this method last year and it worked beautifully until my neighboring garden pulled out their zucchini plant(probably sick of dealing with squash bugs). Then suddenly my plant had squash bugs all over it, luckily they did not do too much damage as it was late in the season.

Another preventative step is to not leave anywhere for them to overwinter in your garden, so get rid of all dead vegetation, especially infected squash plants.

To learn more about this topic read this uber informative article.

Article about Squash Bugs

Spring Chive Oil

The first edible plant to peek out in the spring is chives, even before asparagus pokes up through the ground, chives are beckoning. It is lovely to be able to cut some chives to add to eggs, salads, and even egg salads. 

One of my favorite ways to use a lot of chives and reap maximum benefit from these slim beauties is chive oil or chive puree. Once my chives are at least 8 inches tall in the spring, I ruthlessly chop them completely down and make chive oil. Don’t worry they grow back quickly and will even still flower nicely. You can actually cut chives to the ground 3 times a season without harming the plant.

To make the chive oil I chop up the chives then put them into a food processor or immersion blender with a little canola oil, not too much you can always add more. My goal is to have a thick, mostly chive puree with enough oil to cover it. Add a little salt.

It will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks and is great on all kinds of veggies, stirred into mashed potatoes or as a fancy green garnish on your party canapes. You can also stash a small jar in your freezer to bring out in the winter months, to remind yourself that the fresh taste of spring chives is on the horizon.

Chives are perennials and are very easy to grow. They are a great addition to any garden and even work as part of your landscaping. They can easily be split and given to friends and neighbors. If you’d like to grow chives for yourself, there’s no need to purchase any. Simply ask a fellow gardener who has some if they’d be willing to split some off for you. The best time to do this is in the fall. Simply dig up some bulbs, separate them, and replant them where you’d like. Come spring they’ll pop right up out of the ground!

Chive Oil 

  • 2 cups minced chives
  • ¼-½ cup oil*
  • ½ tsp salt

Mince up all of your chives

Place them in your food processor bowl with oil and salt.

Pulse to start, scrape down sides, add more oil if the mixture seems dry. Puree until as smooth as you can get it.

Store in a jar in your fridge for up to two weeks, or store in the freezer for up to a year.

* use your favorite kind of neutral flavored oil. Don’t use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this, blending olive oil can make it bitter.

Sources for Seeds and Plants

Order seeds

Waite Park Community Garden Seed Exchange (Coming Soon!)

Johnny’s Selected Seeds– Very high quality seeds, catalog is worth getting just for the in depth planting and cultivation information. Seed packets tend to be larger.

Pinetree Seeds– Great variety of seeds, geared towards the home gardener. Smaller quantities in seed packets make seed more affordable.

Botanical Interests– Beautiful catalog with many unique varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Buy plants

Local Farmers Markets

Mother Earth Gardens

Plant Sale at Northeast Co-Op

Be careful buying vegetable plants from some of the big box stores, they are often not taken care of properly and starting with a stressed out plant may lead to poor results.

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