Saturday, July 16, 2011 1 comments By: David Velten

Interesting Plant Supports

At Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, MA yesterday I spent a lot of my time staring at the ground, intrigued with the varieties of garden plants, and wondering how their eggplants seemed to be untouched by flea beetles. Not even one hole in the leaves. How do they do that? It took me a while to look up and realize there was an interesting variety of innovative and attractive plant supports in the garden. Below are some pictures and descriptions that might give you some ideas for your garden.

Black Pearl Pepper

We did a trip to Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in Worcester yesterday. Of course, my biggest interest was in the displays of vegetable plants, both in the kitchen garden behind the Farmhouse and in the Systematic gardens. One particular plant caught my eye because it was such a knockout. It was the Black Pearl hot pepper, useful as both an ornamental and edible pepper.

The leaves of the plant are broad and flat. New growth starts green but the turns black and shiny when mature. The pods appear in clusters of small, round fruits that are shiny black when immature and cherry red when mature. Apparently the flavor is very good as well. Plants are also said to be vigorous, fairly disease and drought resistant, and heavy producers. The plant is OP and was bred by the USDA. It was an AAS selection in 2006. I didn’t see plants of this variety at any of the local garden centers I visited this year, so this one is going on my seed list for next year. Seeds are available from Johnny’s and Pine Tree among others. You can also read a discussion on the pepper on the GardenWeb forum.


Thursday, July 14, 2011 0 comments By: David Velten

Squash Pests

With some sunshine and warmer weather, a lot of the squash plants in the garden are looking very healthy. But you have to look closer to see the trouble coming ahead. The squash bugs  have arrived, as well as striped cucumber beetles. And the slugs are feeding on the lower leaves.

Squash bugs are ugly brown bugs you will find crawling around in the lower parts of the plants on the stems and undersides of the leaves. They can do a lot of damage and even destroy the plants. I couldn’t find one to photograph. You should check your squash plants daily for both the bugs and the orange/copper colored eggs and destroy them.

Below are photos of a cucumber beetle, squash bug eggs on top of a leaf, both eggs and a beetle on the flower, and a pretty healthy looking slug.