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Article: Grow Some Cover Crops For Rich Green Manure: Cover crops

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Forum: Article: Grow Some Cover Crops For Rich Green ManureReplies: 2, Views: 79
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ilovesunflowers
Markham, VA

October 26, 2009
1:35 PM

Post #7209543

I am very interested in planting a cover crop in my raised beds but have a concern about any bad organisms or bugs which may be lurking in the soil. This summer we had beautiful yellow and acorn squash until something started to damage it. I looked very carefully for bugs and didn't find any until late in July when the squash bugs appeared. By that time the acorn squash was totally gone and I checked it for wilt and something in the stems. Nothing was visible. Please give me any advice as to how to treat the soil to prevent this from happening next season. I don't think it had to do with the squash bugs because by the time they arrived the acorn squash was totally gone and the yellow squash was fairly well finished. Also the leaves started to get dusty looking patches but I don't think it was powdery mildew. I also rotate my crops every year with the exception of berries and asparagus. Help!!! P.S. I'm in zone 6 at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA.
OkieGardening
Edmond, OK

October 26, 2009
5:34 PM

Post #7210325

I had two issues this summer with plants from the squash family, both of which ended up destroying my summer squash crop as well as my pumpkins. With regard to the summer squash, I thought I had some sort of mildew or fungus. I treated the plants but with no success. The fruit would begin to grow, but shortly the ends would turn black, the bloom drop off, and end up rotting. I cut back the foliage to encourage more air flow, but still no luck. Turns out the blooms weren't pollinating. Apparently the flowers I'd planted elsewhere in our yard were more attractive to the pollinators. Solution: two new beds are over-wintering waiting to be planted with flowers and are located at the ends of my raised beds. The pumpkins were a simpler matter. Vines looked great, producing fruit, pollinated (with the help of a Q-tip), and growing like mad. Suddenly they began to die starting at the root end and spreading up the vines. Culprit was a squash- or vine-borer. They are not visible on the outside of the plant. Only evidence are tiny "piles" of browinish "goo" near the roots. Several friends and my local garden center suggested preventative treatment with Neem after the vines have several sets of leaves. Hope this helps.
BennysPlace
Beverly Hills, CA

November 7, 2009
5:09 PM

Post #7250496

To both sunflowers and OkieGardening...

First I apologize for the belated reply to your comments. I have heard that many people have had problems with squash this year. For most of them it is for the reasons Okie indicated. The Neem may be a good option if you notice the same thing next year.

If you do have some nasties hanging about, I don't think they would affect a cover crop. It is always worth a try.

Blessings to you both,
Ben

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