When I say aliens I'm not talking alien people. Nor even aliens from outer space. I'm talking about something much more frightening to a gardener. Cucumber beetles! Hoards, flocks, waves, masses of the yellow spotted devils. So many that just walking through the garden, I have them on me like flies. (Wonder if they'd eat me if I stood still?) hmmmm.
They arrived about a week ago, or actually, hatched out. They were already here, hiding in the soil like those pod people from the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Just like the pod people, cucumber beetles have shown no emotion as they slashed and burned their way through my garden.
The cucumber beetles have attacked the okra, and in just 4 days have defoliated the plants and are finishing off the flowers and small okra pods.
this link. There is no easy remedy to these pests, but ATTRA has some reasonable suggestions (including building bat houses, because bats are one of the several predators of cucumber beetles).
Remember those wonderful peaches I showed you about 10 days ago? That bountiful crop, the tree having to have limbs propped up to hold the heavy burden of peaches? They're not quite ripe yet, but here's why I won't get any. First, the beetles bite into the peaches.
So, we picked as many of the not yet ripe peaches that were mostly undamaged. I'll let them ripen indoors and they won't be as sweet and peachy as tree-ripened ones, but I want to salvage some of the crop at least. And to use some, I made a pie. It contains 4 not nearly ripe peaches and 3 Granny Smith apples. 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup tapioca and a bit of butter. I topped it with a thick, crumb crust, recipe below.
So, is there anything the cucumber beetles haven't eaten this week? They are tasting the Bellingrath Gardens pepper, see that one hiding under the leaf at the tip of the arrow?
So far, they've left the lemongrass and the chives alone. Wish me luck, there may not be much of the garden left by next week!