i see these directions over and over, but no reason for it. i mean cukes & squash seeds start in my compost tumbler, for heaven's sake. do they really care if they are planted in hills?
i will be transplanting soil blocks.
The only reason for having a hill is to allow some drainage. If you have a wet summer, then having hills means that the plants have some area that is better drained than the flat soil. If you are gardening in a raised bed, then the entire bed is a "hill" for drainage purposes. The drainage makes sure that the plants don't drown during an extended wet period.
I always plant my Cucurbits (melons,squash Ect.) in hills. It certainly is not necessary. I do this for a couple of reasons. First i dig a hole about 1ft. deep and fill it with well rotted manure mixed with some 10-10-10 fertilizer. I then place the excavated soil on top in a mound. You can either direct sow your seeds or use transplants which I plant about 8 " from the center of the mound. This allows me to place gallon jugs filled with water and or water soluble fertilizer up side down into the top of the hill. The water empties at the rate required by the plants directly into the root zone thus eliminating runoff. I have excellent success with this method. Try doing 1 or 2 plantings using this hill method and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
There are bush var now, cucurbits of yesteryear were grown on mounds also because of the space req'ments they need and the tendency of the vines to strangle each other as they split from the stalk real close to the main stem, the hill allowed ppl who were not in constant attendance to 'watch the kettle boil' so to speak- to keep the vines separated more as they grew real fast, same as mounds for watermelons.
I always recommend mound growing for people who garden on clay as mentioned by David, the mounds help prevent the roots sit in either wet soil or even too cold. there are several common plants that only grow in the method as the roots are better spread out the crown of the plant id raised above wet soil when watered and some like their crowns to be baked in the sun, Fox tail lily's spring to mind,
As for Mellon's, squashes, I always plant those with the seeds on their sides, I got better germination this way and the same method as cyclops with a rich deep bed of enriched soil, this helps keep moisture in at the roots and feeds at the same time.
I have not grown those for several years now as we have not had long enough sun days and the soil is taking longer to warm up from spring.
This I think is another way of showing gardeners there is not always a right way or wrong way, we all have to consider we don't all have the same soil types, the same climate, the same methods and the same length of growing seasons so we all have to learn to adapt, the methods are basically the same but with adaption so no one's right or wrong really just smart by adaptations.
Happy gardening, WeeNel.
The idea of planting these crops in hills, as they call it, has more to do with the spacing that is usually needed to grow these plants. The term hill actually refers to the hole dug in the garden where you sow 4 or 5 seeds. Usually it is not mounded up unless you have a heavy soil were the soil may be to wet. For a lot of these vining crops the spacing is from 3-5 feet. But when pickles or cucumbers are field grown they are seeded in rows and the seed is planted close together.
I usually plant in rows and grow my cucumbers on a fence that is made with twine. Which looks a lot like a fence. This allows for more plantings in the garden and makes better use of the limited space in the small garden.
You can also grow other vine crops on this type of setup. The only problem that I watch out for is that when planting this way I make sure that the row next to this setup does not become overly shaded.
I'm opening up a new area in my garden where running bamboo has been removed.
The top 2 or 3 inches is nice soil, but further down is hard, red clay.
There's not enough soil to make raised ridges, which is what I wanted to do. So... I've made individual mounds - one for each squash family transplant. Right now it looks like giant moles have been at work as there are twenty six mounds of dirt within a poultry wire fence. LOL
Am sittin in NC tonite- they were all happy the strawberries are ripe 2 weeks earlier than last yr- chuckl- the way I 40 ppl drivin today makes me think they turnin their strawberries into wine, chuckl, those ripe strawberries in flats for sale makes your mouth water!!