aqh88
Cool Member
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Iowa
Contact: AOL

rotting squash

This is the 3rd year I've tried to grow squash and the 3rd year that just as the plants get to flowering the base rots away. I relocated the garden this year because of the walnut trees on the other side of the yard and a garden has been there for the past 50years without any soil amendments so it was getting rather depleted. I thought maybe squash would grow this time. I only bought one butternut squash to test it out. It was a tiny little plant and during the first month looked rather sad. Well my garden got abandoned for the year and I just got back to look at it. The sad little vine I thought for sure would die without water and care has covered the entire 50' garden and has an absolutely huge vine and leaves. However I noticed all the leaves were turning yellow so I pulled the couple weeds around the base and found it was a rotted pile of goo. It must have just happened suddenly because much of the vine is still green with flowers even though parts of it have cleanly broken off from the base. This is what happened every other year even when I kept the garden weeded and cared for. They flower and the base goes from perfect and firm to goo in less than a week. I don't see any bugs or anything. The ground isn't that wet. I haven't even watered anything this year and the new garden is on a slight slope. I used a little well composted cow manure in some places but mostly didn't fertilize because the soil on this part of the yard is very good. So far the only vining plant I've managed to grow is watermelon.

Any ideas?

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Squash vine borers live WITHIN the main stem of squash. Unless you performed a dissection on the main stem, you wouldn't get the evidence of the SVBs' existence.

Such a frustrating thing!

There are several discussion threads here at THG about Squash Vine Borers, so there are many others who've suffered--and some who have overcome!--this discouraging experience.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

Sczi
Full Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:55 am
Location: Tampa

It could also be regular old fruit abortion. You may need to pollinate the female squash flowers by hand if you don't have enough bees to do the work for you. From what I've read, squashes are particularly problematic if you don't have enough bees. There are lots of ways to do it, but I've read people using q-tips, small paint brush, cutting the male flower off, peeling back the petals, and making direct contact to female flowers, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zucchini (toward the bottom)

"While easy to grow, zucchini, like all squash, requires plentiful bees for pollination. In areas of pollinator decline or high pesticide use, such as mosquito spray districts, gardeners often experience fruit abortion, where the fruit begins to grow, then dries or rots. This is due to an insufficient number of pollen grains delivered to the female flower, and can be corrected by hand pollination or by increasing the bee population."

aqh88
Cool Member
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Iowa
Contact: AOL

We have tons of bees. That is not a problem around here.

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