Minutes May 19 Meeting

We met at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown at 9 am.  We had breakfast and plant exchanges.

Our speaker was Master Naturalist Wendy Maddox, on “Bugs.” Wendy was one of the original GEG members. She made mention of the huge GEG notebook that was passed along through the years, but it is not clear where the notebook is now.  Wendy’s wealth of information highlighted the meeting with a general exchange of ideas following her talk.

Wendy mentioned that we are gardeners, and that to show ones garden does not mean it is in perfect shape; nobody has a perfect garden.  She passed out fact sheets on “Good Healthy Garden Habits,” “Insects in the Garden,” and information sources, which she discussed (note: reference material is also on Bugs & Diseases page).  Gardeners need to encourage beneficial insects as they won’t stay in your backyard without a variety of host plants.  You can’t spray if you are using beneficial insects.  If you use diatomaceous earth, be sure to use the grade for food, not pool grade.

Use damp newspaper to trap squash worms, and time the planting later in the year to discourage the squash borers. Do not plant in the same spot each year with plants in the same family, and plant individually, rather than mass groups, whenever possible to confuse the insects.

Our favorite topic:  Stink Bugs! They are eating now, not laying eggs quite yet.  They love all fruit, especially mulberry trees, and they will even pierce the young immature nuts.  Traps are mostly not effective.  Using a black nursery pot inside a larger one seems to attract them between the two if set around the garden.

Powdery mildew: Prevention in important. One tablespoon baking soda to a gallon of water is only effective as a preventative. “Surround” is good to use when present.

Epson salts (magnesium) can be used to strengthen plants, about 1 T per gallon water, used sparingly.