A warning to all of my fellow vegetable gardeners out there...here come the squash vine borers.
I always hope this year will be different. But my hopes were dashed yesterday when I discovered the first of the squash vine borer eggs on my squash and zucchini plants. I found at least 5 on every plant and usually a lot more. You have to really get close and look. Here, you can see the eggs as the small, circular brown things amidst all the dirt the rain has been kicking upon the plants. That's usually how you can see them. The eggs look just too perfectly circular compared to all the irregular dirt pieces.
And you really have to look all over. At the base of the plant, on the back of the leaves, at stem joints. My squash bugs are even brazen enough to just pop them right on top of the leaves. Do they really think that is the best location or are they just taunting me?
I just gently remove the eggs and then swish my fingers in a small cup of soapy water. But it drives me mad knowing that there are more eggs out there that I surely didn't find. So I give my squash plants a good dusting of BT all over them so if the little caterpillars eat some of a treated leaf, they will not live much longer. Still organic.
The alternative is horrible to watch your plants go through. I know, I watched it happen last year. Having to dig borers out of your plants is awful and often is too much for the plants to survive. Another approach you can take is to cover your young plants with row cover until blooms appear, to protect them at least for some length of time from the eggs.
I didn't do that this year, but I will add it to my arsenal next season.