Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Squash Planting
We seem to be past the heavy rains that we've had for several days so yesterday I plunked some squash seeds in the "garden mounds" that Rob made for me. The north mound got four patty-pan bush seeds. I don't really expect these to germinate since the seeds are from 2005 and have been stored in a coffee can in the pantry, not the 'fridge. Plus, none of the seeds that I planted in 2005 from this package sprouted which might explain why I couldn't find this particular variety in any store this year. I'll give it two weeks and if nothing pops up, I'll replant with the white patty-pan variety that I could find. The south mound got three seeds of your standard vine yellow straight neck squash. Last time I planted this I only got one squash before the squash borers killed off the vines.

I did a little searching on the internet for ways to save my squash this year and discovered that squash borers are a very common problem in Austin. I can improve my chances of actually getting some squash by spraying once a week with insecticidal soap or injecting BT into the stems, but based on other people's experiences that only helps a little bit. Another option is to use row covers and hand pollinate, but that is way too much work. An even more labor intensive option is to daily wipe down the leaves and vines and cut out any borers that have entered a vine. I can tell you right now that bending over the mound daily to inspect every leaf and vine just isn't going to happen.

From what I've read, what works best in this area is to plant new seeds every two to three weeks. You might get a few squash off a plant before it succumbs to the pest and then you just pull up it up and hope you'll get more squash off the remaining ones. I would need a pretty big garden space to pull that off unless... well, I suppose I could build a new "garden mound" every two weeks until my front yard looks like some sort of weird alien moonscape with no space left for a grassy lawn (and having no grassy lawn would please me greatly.)

I had considered doing something similar a few years ago using raised beds, but didn't like the thought of a bunch of square or rectangular boxes in the yard - too linear. And one year, I had a bunch of big pots set out in various spots, but I didn't like the look of that either. The mound idea might be more appealing to me and it's something I can do a little bit at a time. I guess I'll see in two weeks if I'm motivated to make a few more mounds (or can convince Rob to) and go from there.

No comments:

Post a Comment