I have a pretty strong “live and let live” philosophy. I swerve to avoid hitting butterflies. I stop to help turtles cross the road. It’s not unusual to see cobwebs in the corners of my house.
And when I set out to garden, I took a vow of (mostly) organic methods. So what if deer snack on my sweet potatoes? (Actually, that hasn’t been a problem at all, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I always have Pax around to terrorize them off.) Armadillos digging trenches? No problem. And I’m only mildly irritated when Pax knocks over corn stalks to lay in the cool, wet dirt patches left in the uprooted soil.
But if I lose one more squash plant to another goddamned squash bug, my head’s going to explode. For the first half of the growing season, my zucchini were going strong, even in the midst of a squash bug infestation. Despite their ropy, weak vines and wilted leaves, almost every plant was still producing. We had so man zucchini that I felt comfortable snapping off the flowers and eating them, depriving us of the vegetable.
Then all of a sudden, they all died. Every single one of my zucchini has died. To be honest, I was feeling a little burnt out on zucchini, so I didn’t take it personally when they croaked.
But now those little bastards have moved into my cucumber rows. And given my absolute devotional love for the lemon cucumbers, I’ll be damned if those squash bugs ruin those plants.
So yesterday I devoted a solid eight hour day to seek and destroy tactics with those white monsters. Fellow garden bloggers recommend gently knocking the bugs off the plants and into a bucket of soapy water. That’s sounds gentle and nice and vaguely passive aggressive and I can envision myself doing that in a cute J Crew outfit with butterflies fluttering around my hair.
But I don’t have that kind of patience or, it turns out, peace in my soul.
I just hate those squash bugs so much. SO. MUCH.
Horrified by the enthusiasm of my own violence, I found myself pillaging those squash bug colonies by crushing them underfoot or scrubbing their little bodies gleefully between gloved hands. At the end of the day, I topped off the entire endeavor with a big cloudy dose of diatomaceous earth.
After, I stood there for a few minutes, watching the squash bugs crawl around, unaffected. Well, they did seem a little slower and easier to catch, but I wanted them to shrivel up and die, painfully, before my eyes. Didn’t happen. The garden looked like an (organic) chemical warfare zone when I left yesterday, but I felt satisfied and hopeful.
Then it rained this morning. Of course. And once wet, diatomaceous earth becomes ineffective.
Squash Bugs: 1
But I will prevail.