redneck647
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Fitting in the big vines.

I know its probably a lost cause with my poor soil but.
If I can fit them in I want to try growing spaghetti squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. 1 or 2 plants each and I want to keep them all together so I can fertilize that area better. Would it be possible to grow these in a single 6' x 3' bed? The vines can grow out both of the short ends and one of the longer ends without causing problems.
Is this doable or am I just asking for trouble? And if so are there any companion plants I could grow in the bed with them for at least part of the season? thanks.

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Allyn
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

Folks are going to come along with more information, I'm sure; but I'll drop in my two cents.

You don't say what varieties of each you are planning to plant. Some will cross pollinate. Some pumpkins -- including Big Tom, Cinderella, Connecticut Field, Jack O’Lantern, Jackpot, Small Sugar and Sugar Pie will cross pollinate with spaghetti squash. That might not matter to this year's crop, but it's something to think about if you save seeds.

I think that's way too many big-big plants for the space, but more knowledgeable folks will weigh in.

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jal_ut
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

Ya, go ahead and plant. Then stand back. Be advised the vines of squash and pumpkin may go quite long. Up to 15 feet or more. You can direct them and prune if necessary. Watermelons not quite as much but up to 4/5 feet.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

theforgottenone1013
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

I think you are being too ambitious. Just one of those plants, if left to grow on its own, could fill that space. With careful vine management you could do two if you directed the vines out either side of the bed. Three plants would be a tight fit.

If you choose smaller fruited varieties (5-10 pounds or less) you could trellis them up cattle panels without worrying about the fruits being too heavy on the vines.

-Rodney

redneck647
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

Thanks.
Pumpkins are small sugar and watermelons are sugar baby. I know the pumpkins and squash can cross but I wasn't planing on saving seeds from them this year.

Theforgottenone what would be the benefit of letting them climb vs just sprawling out the sides of the bed?

How much space below the surface do these plants need? I was kinda hoping too give them each a 2'x3' spot and getting them to grow out their own side of the bed but if they wont fit I can drop 1 of the plants.

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applestar
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

I think there are a couple of "bush" type hybrid spaghetti squash varieties, too. That might help.

With pepo species like spaghetti squash and pumpkins (some are maxima), I have nearly given up on growing them because of the overwhelming SVB (squash vine borer) killed vines. However, I've been trying them again in the last couple of years, and the key for me is to choose early-maturing varieties (about 90 days), start them earlier in the house, uppotting once to large cottage cheese type tubs (18 -20 oz is better than 16 oz), then planting out just as the roots start touching the sides of the container. Plant in raised beds or rows, and cover with insect barrier tunnel (low tunnel at first (18-20"H) then upgrade to medium tunnel (3-4ft High).

Without the tunnel protection, at least some of the plants are killed, and only the first one or two fruits from each surviving plant will make it to maturity, even ones that normally can produce 4-6 per vine. I ended up with few baseball to softball sized immature fruits, but those can be eaten like summer squash.

Silverlining is that the pepo and maxima Varieties will go down around mid summer and there is still time to plant the bed with fall crop or allow the space to be taken over by watermelon vines, for example. Also, once the SVB killed vines and roots start to decompose, they add back nutrients to the soil....

If you are interested in more details I've posted about the processes each year in my typical novella threads with details and photos (ad nauseum ? :> )
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Taiji
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

I personally think that is doable if you have enough space outside the bed for the vines to go. You're talking at most 6 plants. 3 x 6 is 18 square feet. Last year, I grew 12 butternut squash plants in a row about 18 inches by about 10 feet which is 15 square feet. I got just short of 30 beautiful butternut squash. At first I trained the vines up along the fence line to keep them out of the way, but eventually let them have their way. They easily developed 15 foot long vines.
Just my 2 cents. :)

theforgottenone1013
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

redneck647 wrote:Theforgottenone what would be the benefit of letting them climb vs just sprawling out the sides of the bed?
It just saves valuable ground space.

-Rodney

redneck647
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

Applestar I’ll check out your threads on it. Thanks.

I have no clue what kind of spaghetti squash I have. Just that the pack is from seeds of change.
I never even heard of these things before last year. But now my girlfriend wants me to try growing them for her so I have to at least try.
The pack does list 90 days to maturity and 4' to 5' vine.

I've grown punkins off to the size before and never had a problem with SVB so hopefully I'll be safe. I also haven’t gotten around to tunnels yet. Once my soils better I plan on taking that one on.

Taiji The 2 3' sides go right out of the garden into the grass. The one long side leads to a 4'x6' bed that should only have a cover crop in it. Should give me all the room I need.
I never grew them in rows so I wasn't thinking about it in that way. I think I can get it to work.

And thanks Theforgottenone. I should be safe on that one. I have a lot of empty space around the garden. Hopefully one day I’ll have the garden 4 times the size it is now. Just can't afford to fix that much soil at once.

imafan26
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

Sugar baby is a short vined ice box watermelon the vines get about 6 ft. I have grown spaghetti squash before the vines are about 15-20 ft. If you give the vines a big space to sprawl away from the other plants it should be o.k. I wouldn't plant anything else in the areas otherwise it is too much work getting them out of the other plants. Fruit on the ground can rot and other things may take a bite. If you do have fruit you can prop them up to keep them off the ground. Vines need a lot of water but the leaves don't want a lot of water on them. so I would train the vines to grow away from where you water. My butternut squash and round gourd were grown together in the same 10x10 patch. The gourd was 50 ft so eventually it climbed on the fence and that was o.k. until it tried to go through the gate so I had to only let the vine go over the gate. The mound where the seeds were planted were in a corner of the patch not in the middle. Hint. plants always move toward the sun. let the vines sprawl east and plant on the north or west side of the plot. You can plant seeds on a mound. Amend the soil with compost, aged manure, bone meal, and blood meal. Go to a depth of 18 inches if you can so it is nice and deep. I mound up about 4-6 inches wet it well and create a well around the mound. I plant the seeds in the mound and I water the mound initially, but once it is wet, I water the well. Mulch to conserve moisture. If you want to be organic, and your soil is not naturally rich, compost tea and fish emulsion every week.

On soil as poor as yours it will take a long time for it to become organically productive. For myself I would keep amending with compost and build the soil web by growing more green manures and legumes. Nutrient hogs like tomatoes and corn will need supplemental fertilizer and organic fertilizer is not very efficient until your soil building microbes grow.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Taiji
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

I always used to grow my squash in "hills" like most people do until I became more limited for space, and had to contain my garden inside an 8 foot high wire fence to keep critters out. So, I just tried a row knowing I could lift the vines up and train them along the fence for awhile. It worked pretty well. By the time they became unmanageable, the corn and other stuff was pretty high.
As Imafan suggested too, I planted my squash on the north side of the plot.

redneck647
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

For punkins I bring a piece of scrap wood out from the shop and put it under the fruit. It's keep them from rotting so far and I'm guessing it should work with the others.
I was planning on adding 10-10-10 to the bed before planting and then dumping a lot of buckets of fishing water on it over the season at least. do you think that will help or isn't it enough?
With the rest of the garden I'm going with plants that did better last year and planting a lot of radishes. I figure they will help break up the clay and the greens can be composted.

catgrass
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Re: Fitting in the big vines.

I grew Sugar Baby watermelon last year for the first time for my little next door neighbors. I had an 8 x 8 plot and 3 melons planted in the center. The vines overtook the space designated but not by much. I think I made about 15 melons from this patch.
zone 9 Southwest La.

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