Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Mildew and other maladies
This year we suffered through the wettest June on record, then had some very dry times. That didn’t seem to stop the powdery mildew. I noticed that my monarda really got it. Now, I did give it plenty of space when planting but, still the wet weather didn’t help. I’ve sprayed it with a fungicide and will cut it back and do a thorough fall clean up.
My squash also didn’t perform well. I have 2 on the vines which, what’s left of them, look awful. My first thought was too much water and fungal disease took over, then I noticed some weird looking flaking (almost looked like fungal growth) near the base of the vine, I cut it open and there it was the squash vine borer. Once they’ve invaded, there’s really nothing you can do. The time for me to have looked for them was late June, which was all wet.
The good news is I noticed plenty of soldier beetles. They’re closely related to fireflies and are classified as beneficials due to their eating habits. My little soldiers are yellow and black but they can be orange and black. I’ll have pictures along with more information on my website gardenbite dot com. Soldier beetles overwinter as pupae in the soil, and females mate but once in early summer. Eggs are laid in soil, where larvae feed for up to a year on the eggs and larvae of other insects.