Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Uninvited Beetle

Three weeks ago we bought 3 yards of loam/compost from a local nursery to augment our gardens. I put it in nearly every garden including around a highbush cranberry in the front yard. This morning as we started on our walk I suddenly noticed that a third of the cranberry was defoliated. As I looked closer I noticed many caterpillar-like larvae. On further research I am certain it is the Viburnum leaf beetle and I suspect it came in on the loam/compost.

I just wrote about this on Friday -- be careful of the source of loam and compost. Now I have more anecdotal evidence of this problem of moving material, at the expense of the the highbush cranberry. The shrub will likely recover, unless the beetle hangs around and defoliates the entire plant again next year.

Besides the discovery of this little insect in our yard, the weekend was beautiful. The weather gods seem to be in sync as we've had our second spectacular weekend in a row. All the New Roots Farm seedlings found a home in the garden. Just a few hours after I planted a bed of annuals at the base of our deck stairs, a ruby-throated hummingbird zoomed in for a quick sip of nectar at the red salvia. The robin is still sitting on eggs and the three phoebe nestlings beneath the deck are getting too big for the nest. One day soon I will look and they will have taken flight.

We are harvesting fresh cilantro planted last fall and turning it into pesto that goes nicely with grilled eggplant, onion, and zucchini. It is an easy recipe from Mark Bittman: in blender mix 2 cups fresh cilantro, a clove garlic, pinch or more of salt, 3 tablespoons corn oil, add  a tablespoon of lime juice then puree. The rhubarb is being made into crisp and pie. My spearmint -- delicious in tabouli -- keeps advancing on the lawn until I corral it back to its rightful place in the herb garden.

A nice weekend, except for the pesky viburnum leaf beetle that arrived uninvited.

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