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I've often had trouble finding a squash hidden under all the leaves until it was way too big, so this year I put a tomato cage over one squash plant just to see what would happen.
It grew straight up into the cage, making it easy to see even the smallest one. It's been much easier to harvest them so far up off the ground. It was a surprising bonus that squash bugs didn't do much damage to this plant, while nearby 'ground grown' squash have wilted away one by one as squash bugs increased over the season, even after a variety of organic sprays and one desperate try with a regular garden spray. This caged plant is the only one still producing.
I have not yet had a chance to try this tip, but heard it around the time I vowed never to plant squash again due to hating to see it destroyed by the nasty squash vine borer! I would love for an intrepid TF reader to try it out and tell me if it works. Next time I plant squash, I will try it out.
The squash vine borer is a very insidious moth that feeds on squash plants. You can tell it attacked your squash when you can see that the stem of the plant itself has been destroyed and gutted out by a disgusting fat white grub. Apparently, the squash vine borer comes up from the soil through the root structure.
Therefore, a very simple thing that will pretty much guarantee that the bugger will leave the plant alone is to plant the seedling inside a large jar or can, and then plant the can inside the garden bed itself! Or you don't even have to do that if you don't want to, for squash is one of the sorts of plants that will do well in containers due to small root structure - always be sure you have at least one male and female, though.
This should see you have no pest problems for the entire season!
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My yellow squash doesn't seen to be producing very much, why?
By Pauline Merry from Highland Springs, VA
I'm having the same problem and I live along the line between north and central MS. I looked it up on the net and this is what I found.
You have to have male and female flowering going on. Some plants just product duds. I had to get this info from a master gardener. It is a pollination thing.
Hardiness Zone: 3a
Ragteller from Tofield, Alberta Canada
This is a lovely looking squash, and despite the fact that it looks familiar, I can't seem to find any good sources for identifying it. It looks like it has a tougher, slightly "warted" outer skin, which makes me think it's either an edible ornamental gourd or some type of winter squash (all squash are gourds, but not all gourds are squash). Around here, I've seen these in large bins at grocery stores and home improvement stores. Usually they are just lumped in with hundreds of others and labeled "ornamental" of "fancy." Did you grow this or purchase it?
This looks like a fancy zucchini to me. I like to get this kind around Halloween and dry them - makes a pretty decoration. Meanwhile, enjoy!
Did you purchase this in a store, or did you grow it yourself? My brother has a vegetable garden and at the end of the season does not pick all of the yellow and zucchini squash, the following year some of them had self seeded and he had a cross between the two.
I BELIEVE IT'S AN ACORN SQUASH
THERE ARE ROUND ZUCHINI AND SEVERAL DIFFERENT VARIETIES. THERE ARE HEIRLOOM VARIETIES YOU HARDLY EVER SEE ANY MORE AND THERE ARE HYBRIDS THAT ARE NEW TO THE MARKET. IF IT TASTE GOOD AND YOU LIKE IT, KEEP SOME OF THE SEED AND SEE IF YOU CAN GROW IT NEXT YEAR.
I've seen gourds that look a lot like that (two-toned). Do you think a gourd and a zucchini inter-pollinated to produce a new variety? I agree that you should save some seeds to see if you can grow them again. As long as they taste good. I'd call a local university's Extension Service to see if they are able to guide you. Maybe they'd like some seeds to plant too.
Why is my yellow squash rotting on the vine when it is halfway to maturity? It is shaded by the corn growing next to it and watered every other day. The summers are hot, always sunny and dry here, (avg. 28 C), so it seems unlikely it could be too much water. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
Hardiness Zone: 9a
By christine from San Remo, Italy
The most likely problem is blossom end rot. It can be caused by many different things. Extreme soil moisture fluctuation. Rapid plant growth in spring followed by extended dry weather. Excessive rain that smothers root hairs. Or even excess soil salts. The fix could be to make a soil amendment to have a well drained soil. Also avoid high ammonia fertilizers and large amounts of fresh manure. And if you have salty soil or water provide more water to leach the salts through the soil.
Something is chewing through the roots of my squash plants, just below the surface. The only bugs I've seen are ants and pill bugs. Could one of these be the culprit? What can I do to stop this before all of my plants are gone? Thanks so much.
Hardiness Zone: 9b
By mandy from Brevard County, FL
That would probably be the squash borer beetle. A google search should tell you what to do.
To prevent heavy infestation, rotate crops and use lightweight row covers until flowering. Cultivate soil in autumn to bring overwintering stage to the surface. Remove all crop residues at the end of the growing season, dust the base of the plant regularly with rotenone, inject Bt into the stems, or handpick the caterpillars by cutting open the stem and killing the caterpillar. You may can save your plant doing this if you catch it in time. Also, if you can, find varieties resistant to borers. good luck.
Sevin dust will kill them. Any garden supply will carry it. Even Walmart has it. The dust is best and easier to apply than the liquid. Be sure to get it on the backs of the leaves and on the ground. Sounds like squash borer to me too. They are really bad on squash.
How can I battle the squash bugs effectively? I lose my squash, cucumber, and melons to them every year! I try to stay up on the eggs, but it's just not enough. I've tried so many pesticides, but they have done more damage then help. I am hoping to find more of an organic solution.
Why are my crookneck squash rotting at the tips?
Hardiness Zone: 9a
Darlene from Carriere, MS
Hi Darlene - there are 2 possible reasons. One is called BER (blossom end rot) a common problem in the early spring with all fruiting plants and it has several causes including cool wet weather, too much nitrogen fertilizer, or inconsistent soil moisture levels. You can find out much more about it by Googleing BER.
The other possible reason is called "fruit abortion" due to incomplete or inadequate pollination. It is also quite common early in the gardening year and usually resolves itself once the plant matures a bit more and the weather settles. If it doesn't, you can hand pollinate the blooms for better success.
The way to tell which is the problem is by the size of the fruit. BER fruit will be close to normal size but with a rotted blossom end. Aborted fruit is usually much smaller.
Choanephora Cucurbitarum :
Symptoms:Soft rotting fungus enters fruit from blossom end, rapidly developing a fluffy mass of fruiting bodies.
Control:Cultural practices that reduce fruit contact with soil, or splashing of infected soil onto fruit are beneficial. Fungicide sprays may be required.
How can I keep pests from eating my summer squash without chemicals?
By garden maid from Clarksville, TN
I need a way that is not chemically dangerous to rid my garden of squash bugs that kill the plant overnight.
How far apart do I plant summer squash?
The fruit of my zucchini and crookneck squash plants is growing more slowly than usual and the tips of the fruit are getting soft and rotten. Anyone know what's going on? The plants otherwise look healthy.
By Gary D.
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Here is a photo of my first summer squash. It's so exciting to garden!
Long Island, NY
This is the first summer squash of the season. I find being in the garden more entertaining than any show on TV or the theater. If you look closely in the picture, you will see that there are going to be more.
Long Island, NY