BEWARE Squash Predators

It’s squash season in most gardens and if you ask me, this is one beautiful plant. Planted next to one of their favorite companions–corn–they are quite happy.

school squash and corn

But one must be vigilant, because there are critters out there aiming to devour squash plants and can do so in a matter of days. And the results can be devastating.

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For those of you who have never seen a squash bug and wouldn’t know how to spot one if he were crawling along your planter, take a good long gander…

squash bugs

Ugly. Plain and simple.  These bugs are not pretty and they’re ruthless in their attack.  (Apparently summer squash is one of their favorites.)  They also lay eggs.  Check the undersides of your leaves for these telltale signs you might have a problem.

squash bug eggs

Yes, I realize I’ve scared some of you clear out of the garden with these photos, but organic gardening requires vigilance and stiff spines. Sure it would be easier to spray these marauders, but then you’d be forced to consume toxic chemicals–and you don’t want to consume poison.  I mean, isn’t eating healthy part of the gardening process? It is. But gardening is also fun, so ask one of your kids to handle the duty of bug dispatch (squash em, Danno).  Or, another method is to wrap aluminum foil around your stems. Squash bugs will not crawl over the foil. Not sure why, but it’s worth a try.

wrap your squash stems

They enjoy it far more than you do!  Just be sure they’re wearing gloves.  You can also try planting marigold nearby, as squash bugs tend to keep their distance from these golden glories.

lima and marigoldHere they’re shown inter-planted with lima beans, another good friend in the garden. Pretty, too. Whichever way you choose, beware the squash bug. It is NO friend of gardeners.