Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family Garden: When the Very Hungry Caterpillar Attacks...

AKA: Broccoli Carnage (last week on left, this week on right)

One of the favorite books around our house is the very hungry caterpillar and this weekend made me realize how hungry those little guys can get! They have discovered my giant broccoli plant and almost eaten it to shreds. Apparently I was supposed to put netting over my broccoli plants to keep the butterflies from laying eggs on it (oops). Now, I can't get rid of them. There are thousands of eggs on the plant and lots of caterpillars. I tried spraying them with my homemade pesticide, but that didn't seem to do any good. I like butterflies, but I really was hoping to have some garden fresh broccoli this year...

There is good news. I learned about zucchini flowers this week. I had noticed that several of my zucchini flowers were opening and then just falling off the plant. After researching I found out that there are male and female zucchini flowers and that only the female ones produce zucchini. The male ones are there to provide the pollen for the bees to pollinate the female ones. I went out and looked and sure enough I had two male flowers and one female flowers. The female ones have a little bulb under the flower that becomes the zucchini. Here's what they look like:

Zucchini Flowers

Lo and behold, the next day I saw the female flower close and now we have a good zucchini growing!

Here's the state of the garden as of an hour ago:

Box #1:
Box #2:
Box #3:
Zucchini growing!
This is supposed to be a bush bean plant, but I have a beanstalk growing up my trellis (see below):Pepper plant:
The offender:

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