Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Squash

The squash bed, looking back to the tomatoes.  The sweet potatoes are on the top left of the pic
This is totally a brag post. 

My squash bed is really gorgeous this year and it often isn't, so I pulled a few pics to show it off to you.

This has been a rough year for a lot of us and I've got friends whose squash has really suffered.   In addition to the heat, we regularly battle vine borers, squash bugs and poor soil.

Click on pic and look at it big.  Squash blossoms are cool.
I hate vine borers.   Things get up and going and gorgeous and I sprinkle my Dipel dust with bt in it religiously and then BAM, one afternoon one of the vines is all wilted.   Just one vine.   That's a dead giveaway that a vine borer got it.   At the base of the vine where it goes into the root, look for a little hole with sawdusty looking stuff around or below it.   That's where the little bastard went in.

When I find one, I sprinkle again right on the hole and I give the squash extra water.   I've had a bunch of vines that just grew bigger and fatter around the wound and kept on going.   God bless 'em.   I also make a point to sprinkle every plant generously for a while after that because where there's one borer, there are others just waiting for you to get all 'Oh, my squash is so awesome this year, it must be too hot for the borers', so they can prove you wrong.

Then there are the Squash bugs.

Squash bugs will take over if you let them.  If you see cute little eggs on your squash plants pinch them off.  Do not let them hatch.   Do not think they're all cute and that they'll probably be a gorgeous butterfly.   They are not butterfly eggs.  They are spawn of the devil.  I just pinch the leaf where the eggs are and pull the whole section out.   Yes, my squash leaves are holey.

If you see a squash bug, pick it off and kill it. Kill it now.  Personally, I like to shake them up and put them on a brick and step on them.  Look for cute little spidery things in groups with a whitish-blueish body and black legs.  Those are baby squash bugs.   Kill them.   Kill them now.   They're quick so just smack and push them hard with your hand or fold the leaf on them and squeeze.  Get as many as you can as fast as you can.  The baby ones are soft and easy to squish in your hand.

They wash off.  No eew-ing.   This is war.

Four different squashes in this bed. 
As for the soil problem, I amend with a lot of sand.

A lot, I tell you.

And we tucked in several wheel barrow loads of chicken dirt this year, too.   Ideally, in the fall, you burn off all the old debris, thus eliminating as many of the squash bugs as possible, and then you dig in some new manure and let it sit all winter.   Happy soil in the spring!

We never get tons and tons of actual squash.   We get miles of vines and several fruit from each.  I'm OK with that.   I imagine that if I fertilized right, I could cut down on the vine length and get more fruit.   The bees certainly helped increase our yield this year.   I've got some Queensland Blue, Golden Hubbard, an Italian butternut, and Omaha pumpkin, which is a tall elongated jack-o-lantern type of pumpkin.    Pics of all of those as they ripen.

3 comments:

  1. Robin, you sound so ruthless and cruel in this post and I'm sorry, I'm still going to say "Eeeew". Remind me not to shake your hand after you've been playing among the squashes. Do you eat the blossoms, or have you? I heard they are pretty tasty, but it takes a few to make a meal.

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  2. Like my dear friend from Texas always says: "It ain't bragging if it's true!" And that squash bed truly looks gorgeous!

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  3. That's is one gorgeous plot of squash!

    Yeah, squishing squash bug eggs...not my favorite thing to do, though it beats squishing tomato hornworms (I never could do that).

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