lsputters
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Sick spaghetti squash

Can you tell me what's wrong with my squash? I'm sure there's several issues.

One being I believe I over watered it
Two is I put it with Mammoth sunflowers

But there's something different in the last few days. I notices on the new deep green plants have this appearance that they've been "deep fried" and it hasn't been hot in the last week and a half.

Even when it topped 109° it didn't look like this. Anyways here's my pictures.

One more question, if I harvest the squash will it ripen or rot?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

It is powdery mildew, a fungal disease that squash family plants are very prone to.

Treatments for it include: hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle (it comes as a 3% solution). Or you can use baking soda solution: 1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 quart of water, plus a few drops of liquid dish soap. Or diluted milk: dilute the milk any where from 1:10 to 50:50 with water. Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours to culture, then spray on. Only use one of these at a time, but since it will have to be repeated every week or two, you can alternate them.

All of them are best used preventatively, so not clear if you can save your squash or not, but give it a try. Remove at least the worst affected leaves first before treating.

Prevention also includes spacing well for air circulation, watering only the soil, not the leaves, mulching to help prevent soil from splashing back on the leaves.
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imafan26
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

Yes powdery mildew for sure. Most cucurbits and some other plants with hairy leaves have that problem especially in high humidity. Fungal diseases are best prevented and are very hard to cure. A fungicide program should be started with weekly applications when humid wet conditions are around for an extended time. It helps not to water the leaves if you can avoid it. Some squashes will do a little better if you train them on a trellis. They like to be in full sun.
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lsputters
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

I've been putting the hose next to the soil so not to water the leaves. So my question now is do I harvest the squash to get rid of the plant?

Will the squash ripen if left in a sunny spit not on the soil?

It seems at this point it's more trouble to treat it than it would be to pick the squash and pull the plant, yes?

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applestar
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

I can't see the squash in the photos -- if it hasn't changed color, then it is not mature enough and will not ripen off the vine and rapidly spoil unless refrigerated. But my understanding is immature spaghetti squash can be eaten like summer squash so all is not lost.
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lsputters
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

Here it is...
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Gary350
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

From the looks of the brick on that house I"m guessing you live out west, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah? For a geographical area that is so hot and dry I was very surprised to learn how bad mold was in Phoenix when I lived there. The soil out west is 8ph and has very little food value for plants. Good fertilizer is hard to find out west only thing available is very low nitrogen for palm trees and cactus. Plants need nitrogen only thing I could ever find was ammonium sulfate. First year I lived in Arizona my squash died. Second year I added compost, fertilizer, lime, squash was much healthier and mold was no longer a problem. Burn, wood, boards, charcoal, save the ash put a quart of wood ash in your small garden spot it adds a lot of minerals & lime that plants need. My best garden in Phoenix was planted about first week of November.

You can make some good nitrogen fertilizer with a 5 gallon plastic bucket full of grass clippings, mix in 1 quart of wood ash and 1 cup of laundry ammonia. Mix well keep it in the bucket with a tight lid for a week then mix it into the soil about a week before you plant your next garden.

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applestar
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

I want to say those squash look like they are at color-break stage when the green color fades just before final color starts to develop, but I haven't grown spaghetti squash (specifically) before, so I'd like others to offer their expertise about that.


*IF* they are at color-break, then the vines and leaves will funnel every last bit of energy they can into ripening the fruits even as they are dying from the fungal infection. So I would leave the foliage and vines alone even if they look ugly and diseased until they finally give up and dry up. You will see this happen in stages so keep tracking the progress and also determine if and where the vines have set down roots into the ground.

I would wait until the section of the vine feeding the fruit has dried up and died, then harvest. Thoroughly wash and scrub after harvesting to get any fungal spores off, and lightly rub the surface with vegetable oil (which will also kill the fungal spores).
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lsputters
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

I live in northern oregon, Eugene area. Very humid...but it'd been pretty dry recently.

Ok, so thanks for the input and I know what to do next year. I didn't read about growing them vertically Until it was to late.
Thanks again
-Lisa

bri80
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

That is too small of an area for healthy squash plants, especially if it has to share soil with sunflowers. Not enough soil = weak plant = succumbs to disease.

lsputters
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

@Bri80

Ya think..??

bri80
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

lsputters wrote:@Bri80

Ya think..??
Absolutely, which is what I know you don't want to hear, since you're probably trying to just grow a couple nice veggies on limited space and budget. But not providing adequate space is, possibly, the #1 mistake I see people make. It's made worse because many gardening lore books/magazines/etc encourage things like what you're doing, growing squash with sunflowers (and other companion/inter planting). And this sounds great! A great companion planting that allows you to maximize your very limited space... but more often than not, it causes two crops to fail, rather than one to succeed. The fact that you got some nice sunflowers and some fruit from your squash is a credit, squeezing that much out of that space means you did well for growing two things there.

But don't be fooled, the squash is weak due to being crowded. Weak plants succumb to disease and insect pests sooner/more completely. Squash are naturally large plants that take up a lot of space. Given perfect conditions, one plant can easily take up hundreds of square feet. They also have very shallow root systems that spread laterally more than down, so they can't tap into subsoil nutrients/moisture as easily if there's no lateral growing room for the roots.

At a minimum (not ideal, but minimum), there should be free growing room in the soil for at least as much lateral space as the plant takes up above-ground. So as far as the plant spreads above-ground, that much space must be provided with loose, fertile soil below-ground for the plant to be healthy. Ideally, another 50%. Adding in competition from the sunflowers, and that plant has a huge lack of room below-ground and is likely root-bound and stunted.

A garden author I like, Steve Solomon (who, I should mention since you also live in the Willamette Valley, wrote the bible on growing vegetables in our region called Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades - I highly recommend you get a copy and read it, it's where I started), talked about powdery mildew on curcubits (squash and cucumbers), and blames most of the fault for early PMD (powdery mildew disease) on not giving the plants enough space and not giving them enough water. While all curcubits will eventually succumb to PMD at the end of the season as the plant is exhausted from producing so many large, delicious, ripe fruits, early PMD attacking curcubits is usually a result of the plant behind dehydrated. In many cases, the gardener crowds the squash plant too much and as the plant spreads into soil that is crowded with nearby roots of other vegetables, it can't get enough water. PMD starts to appear. The gardener, seeing a fungal disease, incorrectly thinks that there's too much moisture on the plant spreading fungus and waters less, making the problem worse (dehydrated plant = too weak to fight off PMD), and the plant dies.

In your case, I think you're watering the soil, but the water is not reaching the plant. The surface water is being stolen by the sunflowers, and you don't have enough other soil absorbing water to supply the squash plant. The soil under your sidewalk is likely so compacted the squash can't penetrate it very well, so the plant is limited to that small strip and fighting with the larger sunflowers, who are winning.

Here is a picture of my squash plant this year. Some things to note are that this plant gets the entire root zone that it occupies to itself, no competition. Also note, if you look closely at the bottom leaves towards the left, you can see some spots of PMD starting to occur. They haven't spread, or they're spreading so slowly I'm not concerned (note all the lush green foliage). That's because, while all curcubits get PMD eventually, a healthy plant occupying it's own root zone with plenty of fertilizer can fight it off on its own. I'm harvesting more fruit than I can deal with right now from that one plant.
IMG_1286.jpg
Here is an aerial view showing how much free soil space the squash plant has to occupy:
IMG_1272.jpg
This is a summer squash, and your's is winter squash, but the same principal applies (as it does to cucumbers, and many other veggies as well).

I hope this is helpful, I know it sucks hearing when you're stuck with little space (believe, I've been there), but it's the reality.

lsputters
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

@bri80
Thanks for the in depth reality lesson. Now I completely understand. Prior to your 2 cents I believe my questions were answered and I thanked everyone for their help.

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applestar
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

Good news is that growing the sunflowers there this year means they have been delving deep into the ground with their roots, loosening the structure and will be leaving organic matter of their roots deeper than you could have dug them in.

Does the ground freeze where you are? If so, at the end of the season, cut the sunflower down to about 10-12 above the soil line with loppers or saw and then wait until the freeze kills off the roots. Then use the protruding stem as handle and wiggling back and forth should be enough to get the upper root mass out. Minimal digging/loss of existing soil.
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bri80
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

lsputters wrote:Because of bri80 I no longer feel comfortable posting to this thread as well as being apart of this forum.

-goodbye
Whoa, are you serious? I spent a lot of time constructing that reply, trying to help you understand what's going on with your plants. Why would that offend you?

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kayjay
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Re: Sick spaghetti squash

lsputters wrote:Because of bri80 I no longer feel comfortable posting to this thread as well as being apart of this forum.

-goodbye
Well, that's incredibly childish and rude. You started the thread. It doesn't end just because one or two people make a comment or two. Bri80 wrote a very thoughtful post that obviously took some time and effort. And it's not just about you: other people will benefit from that info, too, when they do a search on "sick spaghetti squash" or what not. That's why this is an open discussion forum with years of posts to view, not a private help line.

I was going to offer info on my success with growing squash in a space that small, but I guess you're done with the forum, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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