Summerc
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Need squash help- yellow

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My squash are struggling- what would you do to help them out? One is straightneck & the other is crooked neck- the leaves are light yellow in color & are dry/brittle to the touch, but don't crumble when you touch them! Thank you in advance for any ideas/suggestions.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

They are really struggling. I think the main things that would cause appearance like that would be nutrient deficiency (nitrogen, iron) and over watering. They are related, because over watering can flush nutrients out of the soil and water log the roots so that it is hard for them to take up nutrients.

I would think it would be hard to over-water in southern Arizona (hot and dry, right?). Most people that write in from AZ say the soil is very sandy, which also makes it very hard to over-water, since very fast draining. But sandy soil does tend to be nutrient poor. And if you have to water a lot just to keep the plant alive, that does tend to wash nutrients out and sandy soils don't hang on to them as well.

So tell us more about what the soil is like they are planted in, what your conditions have been like, how you are managing water, etc.
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Straw bale gardening? I can ask at our Demo garden as we have a group who do that. Although, I would tend to agree with rainbow that it looks like you will need to add nutrients at regular intervals to replace those that are leached away by watering.
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applestar
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

I was also going to ask if these are planted in bales of straw rather tha *mulched* with straw. I thought it was a cool idea until I realized you have use enoumous amounts of straight Nitrogen chemical fertilizer or potent fresh manure like chicken manure to overcome the straw tying up nutrients and provide fir the nitrogen needs of the plants. Especially when talking about heavy feeders like squash, you would need to fertilize heavily.
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jal_ut
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

From the picture, looks like they are planted in bales of straw? Well that is the problem. Plant in soil. Use straw for a mulch. 3 to 4 inches.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Oh good job, everybody! I completely missed that that was planted in a straw bale, rather than just mulched.

Just want to second what applestar said. I use straw in my compost pile as a very strong "brown," that is high Carbon to Nitrogen ratio. As such it uses up a LOT of nitrogen in the process of breaking down. So your plants are indeed suffering from severe N deficiency and are likely to be quite stunted.

If you can't transplant them into ground or pots with potting soil, then I would pull as much straw away from them as you can and fill in the space with good rich soil. And still you will have to keep fertilizing heavily.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Applestar, wasn't there one year where you tried bale gardening? I seem to remember you posting about that. Though maybe it was hay not straw - hay is much "greener" has much more Nitrogen than straw, so would work better.

Anyway I went looking for your posts about that and could not find it.
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applestar
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

I think THIS was the first reference I remember:
:arrow: Subject: Hay Bail container gardening :link:
Sage Hermit wrote:MN's Joel Kartsin uses hay bails in an interesting gardening way which cashes in on the nitrogen released in decaying hay as well as added heat for the plants.


8)
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applestar
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

You could be thinking of this post when I commented in tedln's strawbale garden experiment thread:

:arrow: Subject: Interesting things to try in the garden!
applestar wrote:Ted, so will you be applying high nitrogen fertilizer to your straw bales?
I looked into this technique and if you use straw bales, you have to overcome the high carbon content by using seriously high N -- manure or chemical.

You won't have this problem if you use HAY bales. In one of my web surfing forays, I came across a video clip of a news station's special report in which the interviewed "expert" specifically said you want to use HAY bales but the anchor mangled it in summing it up and ended up saying use STRAW bales. Either that or the news report was sponsored by Miracle Gro, Schultz, et. al. :wink:

Alternative is to use a mushroom spawn innoculated straw bale -- I can't recall if you have to pasteurize the straw bale first if you're not intending it as a pure mushrooms bed. You'll find various ingenious pasteurization methods on-line, usually involving 55-gal steel drums and boiling water or steam chamber.

Keep us updated on your experiment. 8)
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applestar
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Ah ha! I realized you are referring to my "Haybale Row" a.k.a. "Sauce Tomato Bed"

Subject: I want to talk about HAY as in Ruth Stout
applestar wrote:Ha ha. :lol:

Here's my modified hay bale Sauce Tomato Bed. It only took 1-1/2 bales of hay. It also turned out that one of the square bale dimensions is exactly 15" :()

The ground was pretty much solid overgrown white clover. I fork/fractured the area, scattered some wheat bran, kelp meal, a bit of Dr. Earth Veg fertilizer because it was there, then almost finished unscreened compost -- enough so almost no green was showing. Then topped with flakes of the good alfalfa mix hay. The sides are timothy mix hay flakes held up against Rabbit fence, and the top 3 large squared portion of the fence should provide the first courses of "tomato cage." I'll Florida Weave type tech once the plants are taller.
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Almost done, just have to fill it, but I need DH to finish pounding the fence posts the rest of the way in before I can secure the fence. (I couldn't wait and HAD to try putting the hay in. 8)

You said you filled yours 1/2 way with unfinished compost, then with purchased finished compost, HG? With tomatoes, I think I might have to tweak that a bit -- put my usual mix of garden soil and Bumper Crop on the bottom and use some of the good potting soil I just bought on top (I plan to mix them all up.
:idea: I think I'll scatter some bokashi in the bottom to lure the earthworms even more -- do you think all this might be too much and "cook" the tomato plants?

This won't have the moisture holding capacity of full hay/straw bales like yours, but I'm hoping it'll do. At least I got the rain barrel all set up on this side of the house (I was using it to water the bed :mrgreen:)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

YES!! That last is the one I was thinking of. So you started with white clover, which is a "green manure" and nitrogen rich, then added "wheat bran, kelp meal, a bit of Dr. Earth Veg fertilizer then almost finished unscreened compost ". Then topped with flakes of the good alfalfa mix hay (much higher in N than straw). But then you also filled in with some actual soil, right?, before you planted in to it?

People do straw bale gardening. https://modernfarmer.com/2013/07/straw-bale-gardening/ But in order to do that, they "condition" the straw first: Two weeks before you plant, you have to get the bales cooking. This means wetting and fertilizing the bales for roughly 10 days to start composting the inner straw. For the first six days, put down 3 cups of organic fertilizer per bale every other day, and water the bales to push the fertilizer down and thoroughly saturate the straw. On the off days, simply water the bales. Days 7 through 9, lay down 1.5 cups of organic fertilizer each day and water. Day 10 put down 3 cups with phosphorus and potassium (bone or fish meal mixed with 50% wood ash works like a charm). That is a LOT of fertilizer added, to help counteract the nitrogen effect we have been talking about.

So summerc, if you are still around and reading all this, tell us more about how you did your straw bale method.
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Summerc
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Yes, I am still around. We are in the midst of monsoon season- daily steady showers. They are indeed hay bales that I conditioned for 3 weeks prior to planting, I used a fish emulsion to condition the bales. This was my 1st attempt at using hay bales & it has proven quite unsuccessful! Additionally I have been fertilizing weekly with a product called great big tomatoes. One of the squash plants is doing fairly well. It is a spaghetti squash, the yellow squash is not thriving. Thank you for all the replies! I attached a photo of the spaghetti squash that seems to be doing ok.
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Summerc
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

I also think there was a squash bug problem that I think I'm doing better with removing eggs etc. here is a photo of the eggs underneath the leaves. Could the squash bug cause the leaves to be yellow & look sickly?
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Summerc
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Saw a typo above- they are straw bales

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jal_ut
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

"Could the squash bug cause the leaves to be yellow & look sickly?"

I would rather think the sickly yellowish leaves are a nutrient problem,
rather than a pest problem.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Agree. Squash bugs could not cause uniform all over yellowing/ fading like that.

They would eat holes in leaves and cause localized yellowing. Sometimes they can cause a wilt disease, but then along with yellowing, your leaves would be very wilted.

examples of squash bug damage:
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https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cro ... 031f11.jpg

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https://s3.amazonaws.com/plantvillage/im ... 1380225158

What you have is nutrient deficiency. The fish emulsion you used to "condition" the hay was very much less concentrated than the fertilizer described in the article I linked. So your hay was much less conditioned, i.e. less broken down, less nitrogen and other nutrients released.
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Summerc
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Re: Need squash help- yellow

Thank you for the replies- I'll attempt to nurse them back to health!

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