Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Gem Squash Plants - How big do they grow?

Greetings from a sunny South Africa. I'm a novice (1st year) gardener and loving every moment of it.

I've planted a few test cases for my first go to see how things go and in one bin I planted 6 gem squash seeds, since day one they have been growing very well. I don't want to cut it back , but was curious to how big they grow?

It has about 20-30 gems on it and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

Next year I think I'll be moving them to the corner of the garden instead :lol:

Pictures included.

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/The%20House/house004.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/The%20House/house005.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/The%20House/house003.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/The%20House/house007.jpg[/img]

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

The plants themselves can get huge, up to 30 feet long so give them lots of room.

Gem squash, what originally came to mind was something different from what I see in your pictures but, what I see shouldn't get much larger than they are right now.

Incidentally, squash, beans and corn are all companion plants meaning that they feed eachother, aid eachother in growth and helpf to ward off pests as well as several other benficial factors. They also help to build the soil and healthy soil means healthy plants and healthy you.

So in the future; dig trenchs in your little garden and plant corn seeds (4 inches deep, 1/2 to 1 foot apart) atop the mounds and allow them to germinate then plant beans on either side of each corn seedling, once those are up, plant squash in the trenches. Water accordingly.

You'll also notice that all three plants will grow that much better.

Happy gardening, be sure to read all the articles on the website.

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

opabinia51 wrote:.

So in the future; dig trenchs in your little garden and plant corn seeds (4 inches deep, 1/2 to 1 foot apart) atop the mounds and allow them to germinate then plant beans on either side of each corn seedling, once those are up, plant squash in the trenches. Water accordingly.

.
Very good advice, thank Q, this year as stated was to get an idea if this is something that I'd enjoy, it is. When I plant the next crop, I'm going to think out my spacing quite a bit better as I'm not using all of the space to full effect.

opabinia51
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Have fun with it! Gardening can provide you with hours of therapeutic work and enjoyment and you are able to reap the benefits of harvesitng your own, home grown, organic foods.

Newt
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Location: Maryland zone 7

Gary, glad to see you doing so well with this. You might find building an 'A' frame trellis helpful with those large vines in a small space.
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/vegetabletrellis
https://www.gardengatemagazine.com/extras/57bambootrellis-video.php

Newt

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Newt wrote:Gary, glad to see you doing so well with this. You might find building an 'A' frame trellis helpful with those large vines in a small space.
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/vegetabletrellis
https://www.gardengatemagazine.com/extras/57bambootrellis-video.php

Newt
WOW, that is simply great. Question though, is it too late to build a trellis now and simply drape the vines over? or would I have to wait till next season?

I'm surprised at how hollow and fragile the vines are.

Newt
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Gary, you might be able to train the newer growth to grow up the trellis.

Newt

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Newt wrote:Gary, you might be able to train the newer growth to grow up the trellis.

Newt
I'll give it a whirl when I'm in the garden tomorrow. I love that idea of a trellis. One last question, when do you actually pick the squash? I checked this morning and with our recent rains, they seem to be growing a whole lot bigger.

Newt
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Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

You should find these sites helpful as to when to harvest.
https://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/L291-w.htm
https://www.savvygardener.com/Features/harvesting_vegetables.html

I'd love to see pictures of your trellis!

Newt

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Wow nice sites.

I have the whole day tomorrow for pottering around, and I have a HEAP of bamboo that I collected a few weeks ago, so I should have enough to make a faily decent/ strong one.

I'll post some pictures of this after the weekend.

Thanks again for all of the help.

Newt
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Gary, I'd love to see pictures! Have fun in the garden.

Newt

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Well all went pretty well this weekend.

I got my trellis up, may not look the best, but it cost me nothing and it's sturdy.

I got some larney plant zip ties to attach the stalks, but I'll be changing this out for some nylon stocking as soon as I can raid the wifes cupboard as the ties only expand to a certain size.

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/The%20House/veggiegarden001.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/The%20House/veggiegarden003.jpg[/img]

I managed to get about 3 of the existing growths attached to the trellis and I've attached 3 smaller ones to the base, so I'll check up on them during the week and see how they are going.

Sunday lunch yesterday consisted of spinach and gems from the garden, very tasty, albeit, they cook a WHOLE lot faster than store bought., (I'll have to remember that).

Newt
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Wow, that is fantastic. :!: You put a big smile on my face. :D

Newt

opabinia51
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Wow! That looks great, having them on the trellis will also prevent any soil fungi from getting into your squash and spoiling them. Also, the sun will reach the actuall squash quicker and ripen them that much faster.

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

opabinia51 wrote:Wow! That looks great, having them on the trellis will also prevent any soil fungi from getting into your squash and spoiling them. Also, the sun will reach the actuall squash quicker and ripen them that much faster.
I actually noticed that some of the squash that were yellow on the lower side are now actually green all the way round now. This is a definate improvement. There are three squash that I'm picking tonight for dinner that I'll take some pictures of when I cut them open.

They have ripened them in under a week where the others of the same size are still a bit too soft, it's made a noticeable difference.

opabinia51
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Great Job, Gary. The sqaush look great and your little garden looks nice to. Try growing them with beans next year, the two plants benefit one another.

And once your squash are done for the year, just cut up the vines and leave them in the soil, if you have any leaves; put them in the soil as well. (best to mulch larger leaves with your lawn mower first). Also, place a layer of grass clippings over the leaves followed by another layer of leaves. You can top the whole thing off with a layer of manure or coffee grounds (try your local cofee shop, they have buckets of them!)

You really can do as many layers as I described as you want, and vary the greens (grass clippings, squash leftovers, manure, coffee ground) followed by a layer of leaves.

Anyway, next year you will have the nicest, richest soil on your block and your plants will not only grow that much better, they will be more resistant to pests and disease

Also try to plant some flowers in and around the same area, they will attract beneficial insects that will pollinate your plants and eat insects that like to eat your squash plants.

Another thing you could do is acqure some leftover 2X4 pieces and drill holes in them, placing a piece of plastic on the top of the piece of wood and hang them around your yard. Mason bees will lay their eggs inside the holes. They are excellant pollinators, especially for apple trees if you have one.

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

opabinia51 wrote:Great Job, Gary. The sqaush look great and your little garden looks nice to. Try growing them with beans next year, the two plants benefit one another.

And once your squash are done for the year, just cut up the vines and leave them in the soil, if you have any leaves; put them in the soil as well. (best to mulch larger leaves with your lawn mower first). Also, place a layer of grass clippings over the leaves followed by another layer of leaves. You can top the whole thing off with a layer of manure or coffee grounds (try your local cofee shop, they have buckets of them!)

You really can do as many layers as I described as you want, and vary the greens (grass clippings, squash leftovers, manure, coffee ground) followed by a layer of leaves.

Anyway, next year you will have the nicest, richest soil on your block and your plants will not only grow that much better, they will be more resistant to pests and disease

Also try to plant some flowers in and around the same area, they will attract beneficial insects that will pollinate your plants and eat insects that like to eat your squash plants.

Another thing you could do is acqure some leftover 2X4 pieces and drill holes in them, placing a piece of plastic on the top of the piece of wood and hang them around your yard. Mason bees will lay their eggs inside the holes. They are excellant pollinators, especially for apple trees if you have one.
All of that advice is much appreciated. Thanks, I have some questions though?

When I'm done with the squash for the year, I'm planning on moving my boxes around a bit as to better utilize the space in my veggie garden, will this create any problems when I come to layering the items that you mentioned? Also, I've been told that I should be alternating where I grow certain veggies as to deter pests, is this correct?

I have already started growing some foxglove around the back of the garden to attract insects for pollination and so far so good. I'll read up a bit on the Mason bees, this sounds very interesting.

These were picked last night.

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/my%20honda/2010.jpg[/img]

Inside.

[img]https://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/flatfourfan/my%20honda/2011.jpg[/img]

This lot was cooked quicker than last time and tasted great.

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

Hmmmm, looks more like a summer squash. Along the lines of a zucchini. Interesting.

Your questions:

1) Moving your boxes around won't cause any problems with soil building (the advice given above). One thing that you will notice, is that the lawn around the areas that you do the sheet composting that I have outlined above will be greener, grow more vigorously and be that much healthier.

2) Yes, you should plant the same plant in different areas each year. What happens is that insects that eat say.... squash lay their eggs in the soil where you had them this year and when the larvae hatch next year, if they have the same food source they will grow and redeposit their eggs, increasing the population.

If you alternated where you plant various crops, then the larvae that hatch will have a different food source, with different predators, different fungal and bacterial fauna, basically an entirely different ecoystem to deal with and will not reproduce as easily.

However, don't use herbicides or pesticides if you have an insect problem. If things get really bad try Neem Oil at most 3 times a week.

3) Mason bees are great, their sting is somewhat akin to being pinched. So, it really doesn't hurt. They are by far the best pollinators out there.

Also, check out the beneficial insect sticky in the what doesn't fit elsewhere forum.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=335

Baby Blue Eyes, Cosmos, Pansies, Primroses, Daylilies are good good flowers to plant to attract beneficial insect. Funflowers attract birds that will eat insects.

It's funny, each spring when I turn in my Rye(etc), I turn up all these grubs that the robins just gorge on. Probably beetle grubs. Beetles are a good thing to have in your garden as well. And encourage ladybugs, the gorge themselves on aphids, the pupal stage of ladybugs looks like an alligator so, leave these guys alone. They actually consume more aphids than their parents.

Wednesday
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:03 pm
Location: London

problems

Hi all! Im new here.

From Namibia, now living in London, I love gem squash and now growing it in my backyard. The gem squash was all going well, till this happend!!!! White stuff started to appear on the leaves!!! No idea what it is. but its slowly killing the leave andtuning it yellow and then it dies! Please help!!!

[img]https://www.vegetable-gardens.co.uk/forum/attachments/pests-diseases/54d1220112954-white-fluff-veg-001.jpg[/img]

Wednesday
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:03 pm
Location: London

pic

[img]https://www.elftown.com/img/photo/70499_1220119897.jpg[/img]
lets try again. wont show my image

cynthia_h
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Ah. Now I think I know what "gem" squash is. Some people in the States call it "Eight Ball" squash. Very zucchini-like except for the shape.

Wednesday, It looks to me like you're dealing with powdery mildew. Some gardeners have experienced success by spraying affected leaves with a mixture of 1 part skim or low-fat milk to 9 parts water (a 10% solution of milk, in other words). Others say that 1 tsp. (approx. 5 mL) of baking powder (sodium bicarbonate) dissolved in 1 quart (just under a liter) and sprayed on the leaves will knock it back.

I tried both on my zucchini and yellow squash. The sprays, tried about four days apart, slowed the powdery mildew down, but didn't kill it. My plants seemed to be heartened by my attempts on their behalf, in any case, and put forth new leaves. I also cut off the really destroyed leaves (which had begun to go brown) to encourage better air circulation and sunlight to lower parts of the plants.

Good luck.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Re: pic

Wednesday wrote:[img]https://www.elftown.com/img/photo/70499_1220119897.jpg[/img]
lets try again. wont show my image
I had the same issue with my plants towards the end of the growing season and it slowly, but surely killed off the plant. But then again, I don't know how long they should last anyway.

I was sent this from a gem squash farmer in MP in South Africa who swears by this after he saw my pictures on a local website.

1 part milk to 3 parts water. I tried this on my last plant and it pretty much cleared the worst of the worst, the key thing is to get the mildew as soon as it's visible.

He also suggested the baking soda, washing up liquid and vegetable oil mixed to water on non veggies.

I'm about to plant my second batch in my garden as spring is here, I've planned it out a bit better this time and I've found that they will grow almost anywhere.

Planning only 4 plants this year instead of 6 as from the 6 last time, I got over 200 gems.

malachi8
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:52 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Gem Squash

I have grown gems for close to 15 years in Wisconsin, but this year the vines are as wide and thick as my hand, solid, not hollow and heavy. I don't fertilize or water and only have one vine this year, but it is close to 50 feet long by 20 feet wide. The gem seed was two years old, but it came from a Kirchhoff seed packet that a friend born in South Africa had sent me. The gems are normal size, no pests or disease. We had a lot of rain about a month ago, but not much since. The vine looks like it is on steroids, just montrous. Any clue as to what is happening, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Mary
Zone 5, US

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Be sure to post pictures.

I'm on my third season on Gems from that pack I bought almost 2 years back.

I've expanded the veggie garden and ear-marked a spot for them at the back. The new spring plants are about 3-4 inches high at the moment and see to be growing rapidly.

Gary B
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:19 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

I thought that I'd update the old thread as everything is growing from strength to strength. It's now 3 years and a bit since I started this and I've been growing gems with great results all year round. The worst season that I had only produced 100 gems, but the new puppy that got in the veggie garden was to blame for that.

I've had to expand the veggy garden and create new growing spots as I wanted to get as much in a small space as possible, everything is now fenced, so there is no chance of the dog getting in again.

Will post some pictures tomorrow.

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