June 16-22: In the garden, it's time to…

Gene Altered Moths
Cabbage leafs could be inundated with pests.

Take advantage of Father’s Day sales.  It’s not just for Dad, so no matter your gender or offspring status, this is the week to stock up on everything tool-related.

Get to like the things you hate. Mulberries and snakes are very popular these days, and both can be useful if taken in small doses.  Snakes are eating all the annoying ground-dwelling bugs and small mammals, so leave them to get on with their business. Mulberries, too, should be embraced. We loved them as kids, but as our palates got more discerning, we realized they taste like mush. If you shake all the ripe ones off the branch and leave them for the snakes to guard, the not-quite-ripe ones are actually slightly tart and tasty.

Get ready for the onslaught. The insects are here!  Today, I picked up a broccoli leaf (or what’s left of the broccoli leaf after the groundhog) and found aphids, green cabbage worms, striped cabbage worms, and — GASP! — harlequin bugs and their eggs.  Oh, and cucumber beetles on the cukes. Because we already missed the boat on covering things with insect netting when we planted, we need to move on to other organic methods to get things under control.  Kaolin clay (known in the trade as Surround) in an interesting way to keep bugs off your stuff.  It’s a very fine form of clay that when mixed with water can get sprayed on plants after each rain to dry and form a hard shell over everything. (We know it hardens things up effectively because it is a major ingredient in the anti-diarrhea treatment Kaopectate.) Once the plant surface is covered, insects have a really difficult time inserting either their mouthparts or ovipositors into the plants to do damage.