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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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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...
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...
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!