Sunday, May 11, 2014

The pickleworm is arrived... And an update on the Central Florida Garden in May

It was a great cucumber season. But I noticed a couple worms today... If you search this site, you'll see the various ways I've tried to defeat the worm, but, really, after such a great season, this time I'm going to call it quits... So I picked the ones on the vine, soaked them in a bucket until the worm popped out (only a couple had been attacked), and will give them to friends... (Only so many cucumbers can one man eat!) 

By the way, you can greatly extend the freshness of a cucumber by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap (I use Saran) and tucking it into the refrigerator. Those "English cucumber" guys are on to something...

I'm also amending my "best crops for Florida" list to include Fortex pole beans. Wow. The sheer fecundity and ease of culture. Very tender (too tender, if anything), and completely stringless, even when they're quite long and bean-y. They are very early and vigorous, though it seems they go out of production as quickly as they come into production: The first sowing produced beans for about a month before declining (considerably less than, say, Kentucky wonder). But I sowed a second crop, and it's come into high production as the first crop declines. I don't know how heat- and drought-tolerant these beans are--likely not as tolerant as the Rattlesnake Beans. But the vines are deep green and pest/disease free now, after ten days of 88+ degrees and after some torrential rains, so, they're clearly tough beans!

I planted some Rattlesnakes last week, and they're already up, so I foresee several months of continuous bean production. This is my Fortex row. The vines are growing up seven-foot "walls" made of electrical conduit and concrete rebar wire sheets, and when they reached the top of the rebar, I wedged some branches into the wire and the beans continued merrily up to about twelve feet, still producing beans on their way up. I wonder: Do beans stop producing when they reach the top, or do they stop producing after X-days of production, because that's their phenotype, they just shut off?  

Finally, my tomatoes are a couple weeks behind (at least) after a cool and cloudy April, but they are full of fruit, and the first full-sized harvest is maybe a week away. I've been harvesting tomatoes from plants that I bought from Lowes earlier this spring--mostly Celebrity. Not my favorite variety, but very early and easy to find as seedlings. As always, I'd recommend Tomande, Juliet, and SunGold as my "go-to" varieties here in Florida.


Lily said...

Thank you for the tip on how to store cucumbers! I always find I end up using half and the other goes to waste.

Coffee to Compost said...

Hopefully I will eat green beans this week. The Contenders are looking good and after hearing of your success I am glad now that I planted Rattlesnake beans too. My garden in North Florida just has tiny cucumbers, but I am looking forward to pickles!

Lynda said...

We've been hit with the attack of the pickle worm lately. Our zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash and cucumbers have all been under attack. Thankfully I had already harvested some of the zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers, but I'm trying to get more and save my butternut squash. We just tried neem oil in our efforts. Have you tried this?

Katherine said...

I hate the dreaded pickle worms too! Luckily the chickens love to eat the moths, and I've had a huge reduction in pickle worms since I've let the girls roam around outside of the garden. You should try making homemade pickles by fermentation. It's incredibly easy and i've found that Alton Brown has a wonderful video on YouTube too that really turns out perfect.

TJLaw said...

I live in Eustis and my garden has been getting ravaged by worms, I think may be the Pickleworm. I have harvested only 1 edible squash so far this growing cycle.. the worms are even hitting my pumpkins. At this rate I don't think I will have any squash to harvest.

How do you control this pest?

Here is a link to the photo of my worm problem on my White Scallop Squash.

Michael said...

i would try BT... you need to spray daily, but it's effective.

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Thayer said...

Hi Michael,
I am an editor for a travel publication and I am interested in using some of your photos for a piece I am writing about produce in Central Florida. Can you please email me ASAP? Thank you!

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