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rainbowgardener
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Squash plants

So my squash plants have been suffering in this steady onslaught of very hot and dry. They tend to wilt by the afternoon. They perk up some on their own once they are in shade again and definitely perk up when watered. But I am pouring a lot of water on them almost every day. I'm not sure if this is normal, but then again I don't know what would be normal when temps are between 95 and 99 day after day after day, with no rain and hot sun...

But the first one bit the dust. I just noticed a day or two ago, that one of the acorn squash wasn't perking up the way the others were. Sure enough by today it was totally a goner. I went to pull it out and the stem just split in half and there was the nasty white SVB grub. I thought acorn squash was supposed to be resistant to them? But I suppose resistant isn't a guarantee. I don't know if that means the rest will go the same way. The dead one just had one acorn squash on it, about half of full size. Will it still be edible?

The ones left are three vining squash, different varieties of butternut and hubbard and one more bush acorn squash like the one that died. Between them they have eight squashes ripening on them. But now they seem to have gone back to just making male flowers. I don't know if stress can cause that? So I am thinking about limping them along to get the existing squash as ripe as possible and then pulling them and starting over. The vining ones have vines 15 feet long spreading out in all directions. Seems excessive. :)
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Re: Squash plants

Acorn is definitely not SVB resistant. The resistant varieties are c. moschata like Butternut.

It will be edible, it just may not taste very good....
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Squash plants

uh oh.... I went reading about SVB's again and found this:
Damaged plants wilt in the daytime. Borers will not kill the plant right away because they need the vine’s protection to complete development
https://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/squash_vin ... management

I've been trying to keep checking the stems and monitoring, but I guess not close enough.....

Sounds like I may lose them all .. :twisted: :cry:
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Re: Squash plants

Yeah. Acorn squash is a C.pepo so still susceptible. Hubbard is a C.maxima and I suspect also susceptible -- I've been wanting to try growing them but haven't yet. Red Kuri is a red small fruited supposedly type of Hubbard, and they loved it. :x

Butternut is C.moschata with solid stems and definitely resistant, but they try to get into side vines that are more tender and due to small diameter, can be lost. If you have a nice fruit growing beyond that point, they can be eaten as a summer squash. _- and your immature acorn squash should be just as tasty used the same way, just not like a mature winter squash. If young enough for seeds to be tender, you can eat it whole.
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Re: Squash plants

You could try burying the leafnodes. This will give them chance to root and establish alternate supply lines. that might sustain them a little longer.
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Re: Squash plants

Now that you have a longer growing season, you have an even better chance for growing the later maturing C.moschatas, and you could also try some of the cushaws which are C.angiosperma (Formerly mixta) and said to be SVB as well as squash bug resistant.

Here's a pretty one:
Mrs. Aquillard's Cushaw Squash | Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
https://www.rareseeds.com/mrs-aquillard-s-cushaw-squash/

Image
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Re: Squash plants

I don't know about all squash plants but the gourds and melons we grow take a lot of water. I usually run the hose at the base of the squash for about ten minutes. I am growing gourds, and cucumbers. I water cucumbers daily and I do soak them well. SVB is not really a problem here but there are other things that bore into the fruit like pickleworms. Usually they don't bore very deep and the fruit is still edible. Our most common problem are fruit flies that will sting young fruit. I have year round fruit fly traps so, I don't have a lot of problems and I don't spray. I do sometimes get pickle worms in the cucumber but most of the time I don't have caterpillar problems. This year I am having more caterpillars because I have a butterfly bush that I got for propagation, but it keeps trying to bloom and I keep having to take the flowers off.

You can try replanting now if you have time once the borers have ended their reproductive cycle or grow winter squash like kabocha or butternuts which are less susceptible.

If you know it is a problem in the area, would insect netting help?
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Re: Squash plants

Spraying the vines with bt profilactically works for me. You need to be frequent with it. Every few days.

Once they are in, you can try to stab them or cut them out or inject bt into the vines.

It is definitely my experience that good healthy plants can survive long enough to bear good fruit despite the SVB.

IIRC Hubbard squash has been grown as a trap crop and is most severely damaged.
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Re: Squash plants

I don't know many folks that grow squash anymore because of this borer problem. Most just grow okra instead. Wish I could find a sure fix.

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Re: Squash plants

I just mentioned one that works for me.
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Re: Squash plants

You are experiencing typical TN hot humid weather, it will be 100 to 109 degrees until Aug 15 but not likely it will get over 105 and maybe it might rain 1 time before then. We had rain every day my squash had some type of white mold problem rotted the leaves so I cut off all the leaves thinking my plants were dead. I have been ignoring my squash plants, it has not rained in a week, Monday I notice the squash are growing new leaves and I have 1 zucchini ready to pick and 2 more almost ready to pick. It looks like plants are not dead I think we will have 2 yellow squash and 1 zucchini maybe Friday or Saturday but you never know this heat slows the garden down quite a bit. I always plant squash from seed every month so I have more plants that will be making squash some day. I might even plant a different type squash as soon as my first corn crop is gone next week.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Squash plants

Well the other bush-type acorn squash bit the dust. So I now have 3 half size acorn squashes. I will probably try cooking them see what happens. If they taste terrible, they will compost faster cooked anyway... :(

Butternut and Hubbard squashes are still hanging in there. I keep checking the stems and can't find anything. Still hard to tell if afternoon wilting is because they are damaged or just because it is hotter than blue blazes. Fifteen feet of vines in several directions a lot to keep hydrated!
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Re: Squash plants

Gary, it's apparently even a little bit hotter where you are than me... We have no triple digit temps in the extended forecast and I think it would be very rare here. To hit 105 would be a big time record, exceeding record highs by several degrees. But we have had very little rain, we are in extreme drought and there is no possibility of rain in the forecast until at least Tues next week. That's why I keep thinking maybe the wilting is just a reaction to hot and dry. Swiss chard has been wilting in the heat too and I know it isn't damaged.
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Re: Squash plants

I think you need more water than you are used to. It can dry up fast when it is hot.
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Re: Squash plants

imafan26 wrote:I think you need more water than you are used to. It can dry up fast when it is hot.
:D I'm really hoping that is it!
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Re: Squash plants

It hasn't been quite that hot here but it is in the 90s and I've been noticing my cucumbers wilting in the heat more than my squash. I was out of town for a couple of weeks and they were looking rough when I got home (my watering backup doesn't realize just how much the ground needs to be saturated in this heat). I've been watering them once daily now and they've perked back up but I lost some of the fruit that had been forming before I left. I'm only growing summer squash this year but last year I do remember my butternut squash looking wilted during the heat of the day and I ended up losing one of them by late August.
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Re: Squash plants

I've been saying butternut and hubbard.

One is a classic butternut.

But I'm not sure about these - not hubbard I don't think...

Image

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Re: Squash plants

What do the blossoms look like? Can you post a picture? (See if they have extra long calyces) I'm not seeing spines on the leaf stems... Does it have peach fuzz instead? If so, this might be a C.moschata. Maybe a butternut cross ...with something like Long Island Cheese? The shape could still be a Seminole Pumpkin, too.
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Re: Squash plants

yeah, the stem looks pretty moschata, if maybe a little thick in that first pic. i've seen that thickening happen occasionally, spontaneously in butternuts...could also be a sign of an interspecies cross if you're using saved seed. they're not all that uncommon.

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Re: Squash plants

Im growing a variety of Zucchini called "Sure Thing".

This variety is listed as a self pollinating variety. Like here: https://halifaxseed.ca/products/type/category/Squash

I bought the seeds from here. Scroll down and you'll see them. I also purchased Tarminofi Hybrid.

Ive read up on this "Sure Thing" variety, and discovered that its a seedless variety also. Am I correct in assuming that I do not need to hand pollinate these? Or pollinate them at all?

So far I have not hand pollinated them, and they are growing extremely well. I have two good 5 inch zucchinis growing well over the last week.
Although the website does say they are great for window sills.... I would disagree, unless you have a 4 foot window sill. This things are huge in my greenhouse. LOL

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Squash plants

yeah, I think might be the seminole pumpkin. Those and the butternuts are still hanging in there, wilting in the hot sun and then perking up again in the evening, even without water.
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Re: Squash plants

If it's Seminole, they are supposed to be pretty productive. I hope you'll be happy with them. 8)

@Toxic, sounds like you have a Parthenocarpic variety that won't need to be pollinated. My H-19 Littleleaf cucumber is supposed to be Parthenocarpic. Yesterday, I found FOUR fruits hiding near the bottom of the vines under the leaves getting larger than I wanted them to.
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Re: Squash plants

Take it from a person that lives in the hot irrigated desert of Central Ca. where it's always hot, sunny, and dry. I H2O the snot out of my squashes everyday, basically flood them to death and they come back for more. With no clouds from May - Oct. I even have to pitch a shade tent over them to shade the hot sun and they perk right up. I do the same for Cucks and Peppers when they get that way too. Otherwise my peppers get will nasty sun scorched if I don't.

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Re: Squash plants

Learning new gardening terminology again today... parthenocarpic! LOL. Thanks applestar... Im trying this variety as a lower maintenance variety, so next year when me and wife are in France for 5 weeks, the neighbour has less work to do! If they work out well this year, Ill grow them again next year.

Weird thing is they are growing both male and female flowers still. I found the females have much larger insides once the flowers open vs the other varieties of zucchini.

Question... How many zucchinis should you let grow on one plant at any given time. One of mine has three female on it as of this morning. Should I restrict any others from growing? Or should I let it produce at its own ability?

greenstubbs.... I would agree with the excessive watering plan. I have four zucchini plants in my greenhouse. I need to water them in the morning and then the evening on hotter days. Otherwise they wilt and then come back again within about hour of supply a drowning amount of water. I have them in pots that are bout 7 gallons. Might be a bit small, but this years zucchinis are doing wonderful compared to last year. They grow so fast, and once they start producing, its almost daily changes in the size of the zucchini. I want to make sure they don't grow too quick and crack/ split on the outer skin like they did last year.

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Re: Squash plants

Do any of you provide support for your zucchini leaves. Mine are huge, and long and getting heavy. Im worried they may topped over the containers and damage the stems. Is it normal?

Last years did not get this big. If I guessed they are easily 4 foot (leaf to opposite side leaf), and about 3 feet tall. Hate touching them as I always forget about how spiny they are. lol.

Taiji
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Re: Squash plants

I don't restrict the number of fruits on my zucchini plants. If things are as they should be, I harvest them at about 6 or 7 inches long so they aren't on there very long anyway and they just keep pumping out more. But, what usually goes wrong is that I neglect the plant then come back and find baseball bat size zucchini!

If you're saying the whole zucchini plant is about 4 feet across and 3 feet high that sounds about normal. Sometimes mine get 6 feet wide easily.

This year I had a volunteer "zucchini" come up and I let it grow because it was way ahead of the ones I planted. The leaves were the biggest I've ever seen, deep green, huge. But, I think the seed was a cross from some other squash I had in there last year, because it only gave tiny little zucchinis which refused to grow any bigger than about 4 inches, and only the diameter of say, my middle finger. I finally pulled up the 2 plants because they were encroaching on everything else. Sure gave me lotsa mulch!

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Re: Squash plants

I've had that problem too in Florida the last couple of years with the white patty pan squash that I like. I've read that you should wrap foil around the stems of the plants to discourage the squash borers. I haven't tried spraying with BT though like Peter1142 suggested. I wanted to grow things organically but that doesn't seem to work here so BT may be the next try for me.

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Re: Squash plants

Bt is strictly organic. It stands for Bacillus thuringiensis. It is a bacterium that only infects certain types of caterpillars and is completely harmless to everything else.

Another possibility that has been mentioned here is coating the base of the stems with tanglefoot, a very sticky substance used as an insect barrier. I want to try that.

I have tried the foil in the past. It is hard to keep it wrapped tight enough to keep them out; I still lost my plants.
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Re: Squash plants

I'm fortunate here in that I'm not bothered by the SVB. Only one time a few years ago I planted a couple of zucchini plants and they kept wilting down. I would water them and they'd come back but wilt down again. Finally they gave up the ghost. I'd never heard of the SVB then and just thought well who knows, some root disease. I replanted and the new plants were fine. It only happened that one time. I know now it must have been an attack of the SVB. I didn't know what to look for back then.

Across the valley at a little lower elevation I've heard they have SVB. Even butternut are affected I've heard.

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Re: Squash plants

So these seminole pumpkins or whatever they are, are ripening up.
IMG_1399.JPG
IMG_1400.JPG
How do I know when to harvest them?
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Re: Squash plants

So I just ordered myself some Tanglefoot for the yellow crooknecks I just planted. I found it in a spray can that seems like a lot less messy than the other stuff...

Let you know how it works! :) Since I lost two acorn squash plants to the SVB's not that long ago, I know they are here and likely still active. Here in the South, we are lucky enough to have two generations of SVB's in one season. :evil:
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Re: Squash plants

Quote: The vining ones have vines 15 feet long spreading out in all directions. Seems excessive. :)

I am giggling at this. Yes that is what squash do.

We garden is different circumstances. Here at 5000 ft elevation the SVB can't overwinter here. I have never seen them in my garden. (knock on wood)

Good luck finding something that will knock them out or at least slow them down.
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Re: Squash plants

Anyone want to weigh in on whether these are ready to pick when they are fully yellow or are there some other signs I should be looking for? I have at least four of them that are very close to being completely yellow.

Once picked, how should I store them? I have a garage, but since it is closed most of the time, it stays VERY hot in this weather.
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Re: Squash plants

The last few years I've just been leaving my butternut on the vine til the vine starts to look like it's nearly spent. I just like to let them glean every bit of nutrition from the vines. I try to pick them just before frost or else cover them with straw or something if frost is expected. But that's just me here with butternut. My frost date is probably much earlier than yours.

Of course I leave an inch or 2 of the stem on to help them last longer in storage.

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Re: Squash plants

I think they might be OK to pick once they start to yellow and turn buff colored all over, but not quite yet, based on your photo. Seminole, if that's what it is, is supposed to be good eating so you want to make sure they are fully mature.

I was reviewing my various "lists" -- they really need to be organized better :oops: -- and came across the list of seeds I sent you for your "garden warming" :wink:
- Squash Winter, C.mixta Cushaw White ("Jonathn Pumpkin") Baker Creek for 2013
- Squash Winter, C.moschata Seminole (x Thai Kang Kob?) Applestar Spiral Garden 2014
- Squash Winter, C.moschata Thai Kang Kob (x Tromboncino?) Applestar SFH 2015
- Squash Winter, C.moschata Tromboncino Applestar Spiral Garden 2014

…so if this possible Seminole is grown from seeds I sent you, there is a chance it was bee-crossed with Thai Kang Kob. Which may explain the somewhat not-quite appearance. It will be interesting to see if they develop any bumps or splotchy appearance in the skin. (Seminole is every colored like butternut) Thai Kang Kob will also start out dark green and smoothly ribbed but develop sort of lumpy and bumpy irregularities in the skin and become splotchy colored with blue green and yellow green -- really attractive actually -- and then turn buff/tan color. The color change will continue in storage and C.moschatas are generally considered ready to eat after one month+ in storage.

Last year when I let one change color in the garden before harvesting, the flavor was completely improved from when I had harvested it green the first year I tried growing them. Interior flesh had also deepened from yellow to orange.

For the most part though, C.moschatas are late maturing and I have to leave them in the garden until hard frost threatens. So if there are other members with experience growing them and harvesting them without worrying about frost and freeze, I would be curious to know how you determine when to harvest, too. Only test I know of is the thumbnail test -- winter squash rind should be hard enough that thumbnail won't leave a mark.
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Re: Squash plants

So here are the plants:

Image

That is two plants, one butternut and one the Seminole whatever. Yes it would have been from the seeds you sent me, applestar.

Here they are from the opposite direction
Image

But this is where those stems come out of the ground:
Image

Is it normal for it to lose all those oldest leaves?

So I guess I just leave them until the vines die?

What about storing them? They should be in as cool as I can manage (but not freezing) and dark?
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Re: Squash plants

I guess I have been putting too many questions in one post. What about this one:

Image

Is it normal for it to lose all those oldest leaves?
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Re: Squash plants

Did they die on their own or did you clip them off because of fungal issues?

This may be fertility issue -- I've noticed a lot of fruiting plants that I grow will lose older leaves when they are in their last push to mature their fruits. I always wonder if I didn't fertilize enough and they are spending/expending their energy by sacrificing the senior foliage. I don't know if it helps to fertilize by the time this happens and the plant has made the decision to alter the energy transfer. (This is a *total* speculation on my part -- just a thought that crosses my mind when it happens).
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Re: Squash plants

They were looking a bit fungal, but I didn't clip them, they died on their own.

I haven't fertilized very much, but the soil should be very rich, with a big layer of composted horse manure at the bottom, a layer of mulch on top that has mostly broken down, and a recent top dressing of compost.

I just ordered myself 500 red wiggler earthworms. I don't know why but this property has zero earthworms. I just turned my compost pile and dug out compost for that top dressing and did not find a single one. It makes a noticeable difference in how my compost pile works (doesn't break down as fast, doesn't make as much compost, and the browns stay in more recognizable form even though the greens are completely gone). I figure if I add earthworms, it will help the compost pile, but also help in the garden beds to make the nutrients more available and mix the soil layers.
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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Squash plants

The squash still have some green streaks on them, though not much.

It continues to put out only male blossoms and has been doing that for a long time.

I'm thinking once they are totally yellow/buff and once the corn is all done, I will pull everything and prepare that bed for fall planting.
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