This was by far, our most discouraging trip north since we purchased our land, and our first major homesteading reality check; if you're going to live off the land, you have to be present and accountable, full time. We thought that putting in all the fruit bearing plants, now, would put us ahead of the game. We thought we did everything right; creating an acidic environment, watering every few days, and putting up a fence to keep the deer from nibbling on the stems.
They've looked healthy up until now.
To our dismay, all 18 of the plants look to be dying. The blueberry plants were covered in Rose Chafers, which are beetles that skeletonize the leaves. The stems are all still green, though, so I'm hopeful (maybe naively) that the plant will go dormant and come back next year. I'm having trouble finding any solid information about this, but I'm doing my research so that we can replant, if need be, and can stay on top of the beetles when we're living here next spring.
The yarrow and white daisies are covered with them, as well, and mostly destroyed by the ravenous creatures.
I guess I'm glad that we didn't buy the ten fruit trees we were planning to put in the ground next weekend.
On a more positive note... the little guys and I made a shade tent (inspired by this), so they wouldn't bake in the mid day sun. Our only shade trees are in the woods, and the mosquitos are hungry right now! I cut up a few dozen t'shirts that were headed for the thrift store and serged them into a giant king sized blanket. We collected some downed limbs from the woods and with a few pieces of string, made a frame to drape the blanket over. It created just enough shade for the boys to play with their toys and take a nap. Now we just need something that we can all fit under!
If you have any advice or experiences with this beetle, we'd love for you to leave a comment!
Labels: blueberries, homesteading, rose