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going on vacation

Foristell, MO(Zone 5b)

We will be going on vacation for 7 days around the beginning of july. It may or may not be extremely hot, or rain and I definitly have to keep vigilant about insects, esp. bean beetles, squash bugs and aphids. Although I try to garden organically, I do not want to lose my entire garden while I am gone, so any suggestions about what I can do to protect my veggies and flowers would be great. I have lots of friends, but none that garden that could tend things while I am gone. Thank-you!

Dane, WI

To protect against bugs you could try row covers on the beans and other low growing veggies. Rain will be up to ma nature unless you get a water timer.

Don't forget to pick WELL; this may mean harvesting stuff that is not quite large enough to guarantee it doesn't get too big while you are gone (zucch, cukes, beans). Sometimes I'll even take off flowers to stop the production for a short period of time (okra)

We take a 2wk vacation in early Sept, and the garden (1.5 Acres) has to fend for itself during that time. It takes some dedicated pre-picking and catching up to do to be gone for that length of time. But we deserve it.

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

For a week, bite the bullet and spray the whole garden with malathion. It breaks down in about a week, faster if you get much rain. Or hire a kid to pick bugs for you, say, a penny apiece (yes he'll have to keep his pickings in a can or something), minus a nickel for each instance of obvious bug damage (so he cleans up your garden before he starts "borrowing" bugs from other gardens to jack up his pay).

Foristell, MO(Zone 5b)

Thank-you both! the only kids around here are my kids and they will be with me. I went to feed store last night and eyed the malathion and another product call carboryl (sp?) I wasn't sure though if either one would last the week or if they are effective on squash bugs, my biggest enemy. Would the row covers provide a little shade? just wondering. I never thought about picking but that makes sense, fruiting takes great effort and I would rather my garden work on survival. I have, so far, tomatoes, peppers, corn several summer and winter squash, spinach, lettuce, carrots, radish,lots of herbs, cucs and strawberrys ( they are pretty self sufficient).Would the watering wash off the chems?

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

I don't know about carboryl (sp?) but I went thru the agonizing over bug spray in the 1980s. Under dry conditions malathion breaks down into harmless chemicals in about a week. Humid air breaks it down faster; rain will wash it away altogether. That makes it a good all-round relatively mild bug killer. Mix it up in a bucket, put it in a plant mister, and spray tops and bottoms of leaves with it. Wear gloves since you'll be turning leaves over and so on. If you feel really paranoid, then when you come back, put an oscillating sprinkler on and let it wash your garden thoroughly for an hour or two. Wash any produce under the tap for the next day or two, and by then all trace of the malathion will be long gone.

Dane, WI

Carbaryl is known by its trade name Sevin. You can get it in liquid or dust. I don't know how long the liquid will last, the dust will last til it rains.

Squash needs a pollinator (bees) to produce. If you put a row cover over it you will not be getting pollination during the time you are gone. Plus the squash bugs may have already laid eggs, in that case you would be trapping them under the covers.

If it was my garden I would spray.

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