Growing vegetables and a strong community in East Cobb since 2009.

Squash Bugs

we are a little late according to this article but better late than never….

Squash Bug Control

Weather conditions appear to be very important in the severity of squash bug problems. Warm temperatures during the growing season allow most of the second generation nymphs to successfully reach the adult stage. Mild winter temperatures allow the overwintering adult bugs to survive from season to season. Early stage squash bugs at egg hatch.

In small plantings, hand-picking can be very effective. Attention should be given to the eggs which are easily detected in garden surveys and can be crushed when detected. Egg surveys should be done at least once a week during June when egg laying is likely to begin.

Since squash bugs often seek shelter around the base of plants, this area should be cleared of debris. Mulches often provide protective cover for squash bugs and damage can be worse on plants that are mulched compared to those grown over bare soil. The area around the base of the plant is also a site where insecticide applications should be concentrated. Diatomaceous earth/pyrethrins applications around the base of the plant can be an effective method to control squash bug and is a treatment allowed in Certified Organic vegetable production.

A few other insecticides, including those with esfenvalerate, permethrin, or carbaryl as the active ingredient, can also control squash bug. It is recommended that these treatments be applied early in the season. A first application should be made when eggs are first detected (i.e., June) followed by a second application a week or two later to provide excellent early season control on young plants. This early season management approach has several further advantages. For one, applications are made well before harvest, allowing insecticide residues to greatly degrade and diminish. Also, it reduces early population growth numbers that are available to lay eggs during the second generation later in the season.


Squash Bugs, Blossom End Rot, Critters and Weeds

I feel I have been gone forever. Went from the beaches in Florida to the fields in Illinois. One was full of sun and one was of rain.

A few things in the garden since my return. The garden is really producing but not without some challenges. So here are few and some solutions:

  1. Squash Bug: We lost all our squash in the Feed The Hungry to this pest. After research we determined that most it is from the squash bore bug that bored deep in the stem. YOu can tell because the leaves appear limp and no blossoms. If you see this you might as well pull the plant. However, check your leaves on top and underneath for eggs. The eggs will appear to be small copper colored. And if you water, you might notice a ton of bugs coming out. Two solutions: Neem Oil can be sprayed around the base of the plant. Do this in the evening when the sun cools down. The other is an organic powder and Pikes sells it. It is called Diamtocoses Earth. This will take care of any bad crawly bugs, even bean beetles. It does recommend to start using this early in the season and then again later. So lets remember this for next year. I will forward a note someone found on this subject
  2. Blossom end rot on tomatoes. This is caused by a lack of calcium and uneven watering especially during hot seasons. I am attaching the link below on what to do if you see this problem. It will appear tat the bottom of the tomatoes and work its way up. We see this more in the potted tomatoes. Here is a link Amy sent me and I have found this site very helpful – Cornell Univ.
  3. Critters. Well, we have done somethings to help with that. WE have traps set, surveillance is up to see what we are battling. This morning about 6:30 I saw a squirrel and then a chipmunk. What I observed is that they tend to go after the red tomatoes rather than the green. So what I have been doing is picking mine when the fruit is kind of red and bringing it home on the counter to finish ripening. You can also get some treatment at Pikes to put around your plot to deter them, but you have to reapply each time it rains. Walter Reeves said the chip monks do not stay around long. You can also put a net up but you might have to deal with the critter if it gets caught. Believe me we are constantly pursuing other means to deter critters. No one wants them gone more than we do
  4. Weeds. I know it is very hot but it is suppose to cool down starting this weekend. Just try to keep the weeds down around your plots.

While I was Illinois last week, all the fields are being flooded out. And all I could think about was this is their bread and butter. And many of them grow produce to feed their livestock as well. So the crops suffer the livestock suffer and yet all the bills and taxes still are due to be paid. So maybe all the challenges we are facing in the garden maybe frustrating lets remember it is not our livelihood. And you know what they say, “gardeners are the biggest gamblers” We depend on mother earth, the weather and so much that is out of our control.

On a positive note, I want to thank you all so much for your donations to the food pantries. This week alone we are close to 50 lbs. I hope you are all enjoying your experience.

Take care and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Please, please do take care of yourself in this heat. No plant, critter, weed or bug is more important than you are.


A couple of updates

Hello CrossRoadees,

I hope everyone is doing well and surviving the heat. In Marilyn’s absence I just wanted to touch base on a few things:

  • With this heat you will need to water more and it is even more important than ever to water deeply at the base of the plant.
  • When you turn the hose bib on test the water coming out- sometimes it can be very hot as the hose are in the sun all day. Don’t water your plants until the water becomes slightly warm or cool. BUT you can use that hot water on the Bermuda grass and weeds outside your garden – they don’t like that hot water either!
  • You might try using this heat to help kill aisle weeds in another way. Try putting a black plastic trash bag down in a weedy area and place something to weight it down or use irrigation pegs to secure it so it does not blow around. The heat on the black plastic can help kill weeds – might be worth a try and sure easier than pulling them. Just don’t forget to take up the plastic after a few days.
  • We repaired the hose on the second from the left bib (as you enter the garden). Please let us know when there is a problem. The wand on this one had been tightened and flattened so we had to repair the hose and replace the wand. The one on there now is shorter but has all the settings and should work fine.
  • We put up a new rain gauge it is next to the garden mailbox…sorry I think we have not had any rain since I put it up so this dry spell might be my fault!
  • Don’t be concerned if your tomato plants lose a few blossoms as they tend to do this in the heat. Also your tomatoes might develop some cracks in the skin. This is a situation related to big changes in water and the heat- they will still be good just maybe not as pretty.
  • One of our gardeners had a lot of ants on his eggplant and there were tiny holes on some of the leaves but the plant otherwise looked great and was producing nice eggplant. The ants are likely feeding on something on the eggplant leaves but not the eggplant itself. The holes in the leaves are from the flea beetle and if necessary neem oil can help with this. If the ants are bothersome to you I read in an article from the garden columnist in New Orleans you can put some Vaseline on the stems of your plant a couple of inches up from the base of the plant and the ants don’t go further. Just a ring of petroleum jelly should do it – not allot.
  • If you must use a spray to control pests or disease remember to go as organic as possible and spray very early or after the sun goes down. This helps keep the plants from burning AND helps keep the good insects and pollinators safe.
  • We are starting to get some gardeners loosing vegetables to some critters. We don’t know yet what critter type or if it is a combination of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and/or rats. Please let us know if you see anything and if your veggies are being consumed by something. We have had all different types of critter damage over the years – we are in their space and they love our “all you can eat salad bar”. We will work to minimize this as much as possible.
  • We do have some rodent poison in locked containers at the edge of the garden and near the shed. This contains poison that they consume and die but the type we use will not harm other animals that might eat the poisoned rodent.

WOW I was more wordy than I thought – hope this helps a bit during this heat wave.

The garden looks terrific you should be very proud. Also we have already take many pounds of donations to the food pantries- you are helping others you will probably never meet but will benefit from your love and generosity.

Happy Gardening,

Debbie Abernathy fellow CrossRoadee


A few things in the garden

Well, it is so hard to believe that a little over a month we began our planting. The garden is looking so good. It makes me feel so good to walk thru and see all the lush veggies growing. I find myself each morning waking up and wanting to go there and just see it all.

A few things since we have had an abundance of rain and more to come. You might notice some yellowing of some of your leaves especially on tomatoes. This is caused from so much water and in the next couple of days it might take care of itself. However, sometimes all the rain can cause the nitrogen to wash away. Sometimes it looks worse than it is. Your plant may still bear fruit. If not, they recommend a tablespoon of Epsom salt dissolved in a gal of water. Use it sparingly or it could make it worse. You will notice this more on the tomatoes than any other veggie.

And while the rain is making our veggies so lush, so are the weeds. Please, try to keep the weeds inside and two feet around your plot clear of weeds. If we do this, we can stay on top of it before it gets out of hand.

I will be gone for a week but I will have access to email. I will not be able to help with watering but according to the forecast it appears that is not going to be a problem.

I was talking to another gardener today and he had a great idea. Let’s share tips of things we learned that have made things successful. For instance, I know one gardener that wrapped the stems of her squash plants in aluminum foil when she planted to avoid squash bugs. And gosh her squash plants look great. So think about any tips you wish to share and send them to me and I will get them posted on our website and put them in a document.

I also placed a bin in the weighing station area. We had some contributed already. Soon we will begin to veggies to the food pantry. We have some potatoes in the FTH plots and when I get back I cannot wait to dig those up. Please, remember to weigh and record the amount.

Well, like I said I will be checking email, but I will be missing my morning walks thru the garden. So take a walk for me in my absence.


Wish it would rain…

Gosh, it sure is dry. I read the other day the reason it dries so fast here is because we only have surface water. Unlike the Midwest and other areas, they have ground water.  Makes sense while after just a day or two of rain things dry out down here.

Was up at the garden the last few days and a few things as a reminder:

  1. Make sure after you water that the blue handle on the hose bib is all the way down.
  2. Please, be careful what you place in the compost bin. This morning and Steven and I sifted the compost and found cooked peppers with rice in the pile. There are signs to instruct what should go in and what should not.
  3. As always weeds are starting to pop up. So take a few minutes after you water, to remove any around your plots.
  4. Steven and I sifted the compost this morning and it is ready to be used. The compost is in the white Styrofoam cooler near the compost. Be generous and don’t take it all. Just place it around your plants. It is good for the soil and has a lot of worms in it.

Overall, the garden is doing well. I have noticed some small eggs on some of the squash and cucumber. You can crush those or spray. Make sure you look under the leaves as well. And also treat under the leaves.

Well, guess I was wrong about the forecast and I hope this is not an indication of what the rest of the summer will be like. But we have been thru this before and we will get thru it again.

Hope all is well,


Master Gardeners will be at the Garden Tomorrow

Wednesdays we have the MGs available in the garden as we do some work. If you wish to join or you want to talk to us, come on up.

The garden looks good, but we sure can use some rain. But it is supposedly coming.

Forecast shows rain to start on Friday and continue to Tuesday. In previous note, I said my grandma used to tell me, “You know when it is going to rain when you walk out at night and look up. If you do not see the stars, then it will probably rain.” Guess that is what they had instead of flipping to the weather channel or linking to a 10 day forecast.

Be on the look out for flea beetles. Hard to see but you might notice small holes in your beans and eggplants leaves. Some people just let it be and the plant sometimes out grows the demand for food. However, you can use Neem oil, insecticidal soap spray or parathion. We try to recommend organic pesticides so it does not kill the good bugs. Good bugs are important to the ecosystem and keeps bad bugs away.

A few reminders:

  1. Remember to drape the hose handle end over the hose bib and place the wand in the tube. The hose piece should drape over the top handle.
  2. Take a small bag with you and be a good citizen by pulling a few weeds as you leave the garden. It will be of help to everyone. Pay special attention to the weeds around your own plot and inside your plot.

I am so proud of the garden. I hope all are too.


Just a few things

Well, the weather sure has been nice. Loving it. The garden is looking great and I want to thank everyone for labeling their pots. Next week will move those that are not named to an area and determine how many unused pots we have.

Also, just a reminder that on Saturdays from 9 to 10, there will be someone at the garden that can answer your questions. I will be there but mostly focused on the Memorial Garden. At least that is my plan. If you care to join come on up.

Also, we are up there on Wednesdays from about 8:30 to about 10:00. However, this coming Wed. May 6th we will be having a committee meeting on the picnic benches. Join us if you want.

A reminder that the Master Gardeners are putting on the Tour of HOmes, Saturday, May 9th. I cannot attend but it is a great event and the home gardens are just beautiful. I have a few tickets. They are $10 from me, $15 if you buy online and $20 on the day of the tour. This is a very big event and helps to fund most of all the MG projects including ours. Grab your mother or a friend or your significant other and have fun. Link to information, tickets and directions:


Hope you are enjoying the garden. I just love going up there and walking around. All that green just makes me so happy.


A stroll thru the garden

Hope you are enjoying the sunshine and the cool mornings. The garden looks so good and I cannot wait to see when all the produce starts to come in.

A few things:

  1. If you have pots, please make sure your name is on it. I have placed duct tape with a marker in the mailbox. We will begin to remove the ones without names on it. Also, out of respect for other gardeners, please ensure your pots are against the fence. There is space close to the memorial garden side of the fence left. There is also a hand cart in the shed to help move them.
  2. If you have any extra flowers that you might be dividing, we would like to plant them in the flower boxes. You can drop them off and we will handle the planting.
  3. Be a good citizen, wrap up the hoses starting at the hose bibs and place the wands in the plastic tube with the hose draped over the handle.
  4. As you walk out of the garden and you see a few weeds, take a moment to pull and take them home with you. Do not place in the compost. If we just spend a few minutes each time we are there, the weeds will not get out of control.

I notice a few yellow leaves. I used the trifold that E.Smith gave us and it indicates that can be caused from too much water and cool nights. With all the water, it tends to wash away the nitrogen. Give the plants time to readjust to the warmer weather and less rain. Maybe fertilize it with some organic fertilizer, such as EB Stone Tomatoe and Vegetable mix.

Last week was Earth Week, especially April 22nd was earth day. A day we respect and honor the earth. I wish every day was earth day. For some of us it is. I read a post that said, no matter where we live or what are beliefs maybe, we all have one thing in common – the earth. Instead we fill our landfills with waste, we bomb the earth and take our water for granted. But while I cannot control the world, I can do my part. And maybe just maybe someone else might catch on.

A few simple things I focus on each day:

  • do not let the water run while I brush my teeth or wash my hands.
  • attempt to take shorter showers.
  • recycle where I can
  • use a reuseable container for water rather than bottled water.

There is a website: It really gave me some insight on how to conserve water.

Well hope to see you at the garden. Most of the committee is there on Wednesday morning around 9(if weather permits) and then again on Saturday around nine. But if you have any questions regarding anything in the garden, please feel free to send me a note.


Thank you all for an awesome day

Well, we managed to get our kickoff in before the skies unleashed on us again. And what a day it was. So fun and such a great turnout. I hope you all feel that way. And a few special thanks:

Thanks to all who came to help out and get to know each other. I feel we are getting to the community part of the “community garden.” And especially thanks for the gift, it brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks to E.H. Smith Heating and Air for the trifolds on pests and diseases. Such a jewel and will be so helpful when our season kicks in. Such a great gift to have.

Thanks to the committee for helping with the setup and mentoring our new gardeners.

Thanks to Byron for the blessing.

So much to be grateful for these days.

So we will have our hours at the garden as follows and just join when you can:

Wednesdays, 8:30 to 10. Sometimes we just sit under the tree on the benches and just chat.

Lots of fellowship and ideas get exchanged that way.

Saturdays, 9 to 11. I am usually there for an hour or so and sometimes others are too. Most of the time we can answer any questions or help out.

Just a reminder that this weekend is the Plant Sale at Jim Miller Park (April 24th and 25th).

I won’t be able to make it but it is such a good sale and lots of vendors. It is put on by the MGs of Cobb County and is a great fund raiser for all the projects. There are booths setup to help you out with anything, tons of plants, vendors with garden tools and unique garden art and plants. It is from 10 to 5 and it is free.

And the weekend of Mothers Day is the tour of homes. I will send you a flyer the end of this week and more information. I do have tickets on hand if you are interested. You would be amazed at the gardens at these homes. So unique and innovative.

Well, the sun has come out this week and such a welcome. But it is suppose to rain again this weekend. Sometimes I am sick of the rain but I then I think of the poor farmers in California.

So again thanks for all your support. Life it good and so much to be grateful for


PS. Don’t forget that April 22nd is earth day.

April 18th Workday – Still on!

Over much thought and watching the weather all week, we have decided to keep our “All Hands Workday” or Kickoff for 2015 as scheduled for tomorrow April 18th. The forecast predicts that it will be close to 70 and cloudy in the a.m. Rain is not to move in til the p.m. If we push it out another week, many of us will not be available.

Please come, we have a raffle planned and gifts to give away. We will have a seed swap and if anyone has extra plants we can swap those as well. We will have coffee, donuts, water, bagels and donuts available. And bring your family and friends. This is a great way for us all to get to know one another. If you can please bring a shovel, rake and wheel barrel. And of course do not forget your gloves. We had the soil delivered on Wednesday and tarped it so it should be dry and not heavy.

Our priority on the soil is to first top off the beds, then top off your pots. And be sure your pots are not blocking the pathways. Make sure they are near the fence. We have a hand cart that we can use to move pots if necessary. Also put your name on your pots. I will have duct tape and a marker to use.

We will have a brief orientation, demonstrating the weigh station and the blessing of the garden.

When you get there please put your name/plot number on a tag and stick it to your shirt. I will have those available near the refreshments.

I am so looking forward to getting our plants in and watch all the produce come in.

Look forward to seeing everyone.