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Vegetable Gardening: Zucchini...seed or seedling?

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araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 13, 2012
12:57 PM

Post #9041295

I recently added 6 more EB's so I finally have room to branch out a bit and want to grow Fordhook Zucchini. While the package says direct sow I have to wonder if that applies to the Houston area as well. Also when should I direct sow?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2012
1:12 PM

Post #9041324

araness - anything in the "squash family" doesn't like its roots disturbed, which is why "direct sowing" is recommended.

If you put each seed in a separate small pot and transfer very carefully into the garden before the roots are crowded, they should be okay.

Can't help with when to sow them in your zone.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 13, 2012
1:34 PM

Post #9041353

I'm 9b, not sure how different that is...does your county extension service offer a Planting Guide Calendar?

I have a book for my area by George Brookbank "Month to Month Guide for Planting" or something like that. It's very helpful.

Here's my county extension calendar, for what it's worth. Try to Google your county name extension service.

http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1005.pdf

Hope this helps.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 13, 2012
3:53 PM

Post #9041517

I think the direct sow instructions apply to the warmer climates more so, because we don't need a head start. We have enough growing days, I like direct sowing and think it saves time, in the long run because you don't have to acclimate the plant to the outside.
bariolio
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 13, 2012
9:23 PM

Post #9041954

I have Bob Randall's book, Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for the Metro Houston Area, and he says mid to late March, beginning of April or again in July and August is the time to plant. I just read through the squash section and it was a little depressing! Sounds like it is very hard to dodge the squash stem borer. I've never grown zuc but am planning to try this year. Maybe. Anyone have any experience with growing zuc?
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 13, 2012
10:06 PM

Post #9041973

The only time I've had really good luck with summer squash was when I lived in CA we had so much we couldn't eat it all. Here it's always a battle.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 14, 2012
6:19 AM

Post #9042195

There was a rousing discussion about the squash vine borer (SVB) a while back, I'll venture my comments again... :-|

According to what I have read, and that's a fair amount of research because I love to grow summer squashes but had an entire crop wiped out by these buggers, if you can prevent the SVB from getting at the first few inches (don't remember if it was 2" or 6") of the vine, you will be successful in growing the vine and its fruit to maturity.

The first year I tried this control method I used old pantyhose with the toe section cut out. Slip it over the vine and anchor with some dirt to seal the hose close around the vine. This seemed to work. I got lots of zucc and spaghetti squash that year. YoooHooo.

Then I read that someone was using empty toilet paper rolls. Slip the young vine through, press into the soi, viola! That's a lot easier than putting panty hose on the vine.

Someone here said the SVB will lay eggs all along the vine so my method won't work. So. Try it and see I guess. I still think they will only lay all along the vine if they have access to the first few inches of the vine - the SVB enters the young vine from the soil. Block that entry and you will save the vine.

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araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 14, 2012
8:37 AM

Post #9042366

Well I'm gonna give it a go, I'll try Mary's tricks and see what happens. Not sure if growing them in an EB will make a difference but I don't have tons to lose. Bariolio do you like Dr. Randall's book? So much info is available online that I find it so difficult to pay 30-40$ for a gardening book

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 14, 2012
9:26 AM

Post #9042439

From what I've read, TIMING is the critical factor. Seems the SVB lays eggs during a particular time frame. If you can prevent her from laying eggs on your squash plants during that period, shouldn't be a problem with the borer.

I'd recommend laying floating row cover on your seedlings once you plant out (or the seeds pop), just until a bit after her egg laying season ends. I believe it's a June-July timeframe? Don't quote me on that.

Lemme know what you do find out about the laying season.
araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 14, 2012
10:05 AM

Post #9042493

I might try the small mesh dome food covers since the plants won't be large and that should allow the air to flow..only a buck at the $ store and I'm only going to have two plants.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 14, 2012
11:00 AM

Post #9042557

[HYPERLINK@www.google.com]

and this. Scroll down for one person's war against the SVB.

http://www.ourediblegarden.org/gardening/pests.html

This message was edited Mar 14, 2012 12:06 PM
bariolio
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 14, 2012
1:27 PM

Post #9042724

Can't wait to check out all the svb info when I have more time.
As for the book, I find it easy to go to something specific to Houston using his book but the editing is horrendous! For instance, there will be a chart and it will cut off some type. Or a sentence will just end midway, like they forgot to type in the rest. If I had a highlighter and alot of time and they paid me, I'd help correct some of that! (My compulsive side is showing!).
The worst thing about squash for me is that they take up so much room. I may just get a couple more big cheap plastic containers and try a couple.
Now, off to Sherwin Williams...

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 14, 2012
1:49 PM

Post #9042754

That's the only reason I haven't attempted squash -- no real running room. Even ONE plant ends up being humongous.

Although, quite beautiful...

Now, the community garden across the street grew almost 4 boxes of squashes last season, in concrete RBs. It was a sea of yellow blossoms, very pretty. Now I'm wondering where all those squash vines ran, cause I didn't see them outside the boxes.

Hmmmmmmmm. I need to take a walk over at lunchtime to see how they've got so many growing in such a compact space. Maybe I'm over-thinking this...

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2012
2:07 PM

Post #9042770

I still think that silver plastic mulch does a pretty good job deterring SVBs, at least in my garden. The problem is that then the squash bugs get my plants. Neem helps, but I need to apply it more regularly. Last year I got only one squash. This year I'm growing only parthenocarpic varieties under cloth!

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