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Mounding Squash or Cucumbers : What's the point?

Helena, MT

I have mounded squash and cucumber seed using drip feeders to irrigate; and I have also trenched rows of both using soaker hoses. There doesn't seem to be much difference in production either way, so I ask the question...What is the point in mounding???

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Maybe the thought is that squash bugs are just too lazy to walk uphill to get their food. ;)

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Solace - your answer is a hoot! ^_^

mraider - I've never seen the point of mounding, so have never done so.

Part of my garden must have an underlying "mountain" because I cannot get a shovel deeper than a couple of inches. I live on top of a hill.

My garden has several raised beds of organic soil above a rocky underlayment and Carolina red clay - but still don't find it necessary to "mound".

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

Maybe Farmerdill will comment with an expert answer, but I will offer my two cents. Hilling or mounding helps keep the plant from "drowning" if you are in an area that gets either frequent or heavy rainfall. It also may help some in warming the soil for cooler climates, since more surface area is exposed to the sun. If you don't have problems with wet soil, then hilling probably doesn't matter.


Enterprise, AL(Zone 8b)

The only thing I can think of is for people who have soil that does not drain well. The point being that mounding would help drainage. I always wonder about things like "mound squash and cucumbers" that should always be followed by the reason why.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

yes you are right.
both cucumbers and squashes don't like to stay wet and they need drainage

Helena, MT

Appreciate the responses. My soil drain very quickly and rain fall in the summer is practically nill. A localy nursery man calls our valley a zone 10 in the summer which I would have to agree with. Long days, and plenty of sun make squash and cucumber *both winter & summer( growing with irrigation pretty easy. No predators to speak of either. Can't recall having seen a squash bug; winters are possibly too cold and not enough gardens to mess with coming this far north, like Solace says...too lazy!

I have some drip feeder hoses which I have used in the past, but instead of mounding I scooped I dug holes which were filled with my vermicompost and left sunken several inches. Seemed to work fine for me.

Something I just recently discovered with my indoor vermicomposting is that coffee grounds have a tendency to hold moisture better than my peat moss media. I recently started collecting coffee grounds from one of those small drive through coffee shops, netting four or five, five gallon buckets a week. I experimented with adding about 10 percent grounds to my four indoor vermicompost bins twice a week as I remove some of the spent media. Although the media was somewhat clumpy and a bit more difficult to work with, I noticed it took less make up water to maintain a consistent moisture content in the media. My conclusion is that adding coffee grounds to the holes dug for tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkin and cucumbers may help maintain a more consistent moisture content while adding some nitrogen to the compost mix I place in these holes. I will be planting squash, cucumbers and tomatoes starting later this week. I will post later in the vermicompost forum if this proves to be successful.

Again, appreciate your responses. TYVM

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

dreaves got it. About 9 years out of 10 here in Indiana we have lots of spring rain. Even well drained soil benefits from some mounding or ridging for certain crops.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

my good buddie morgan !!!!!!
excellent point.. i also have always mounded soil where i put squash..
thinking..warming up soil for the plants and give them good start..
if i lived in south USA..probably wouldnt.. but in utah..any extra help i can give
the tender plants..
ive asked myself that question for many yrs too.. because come july.. were HOT
and i have to mulch like crazy so i dont have to water every day..
so.. this yr.. i raised the soil area where the summer squash went..but not mounded..
i know with my gardening practices.. the water will stay in area of the squash better
and come hot summer.. im "thinking" i wont have to water as much..
i still plan to mulch.. i use whatever i have..straw,grass clippings..sometimes
cardboard.. keeps weeds down..and helps conserve on water..
im growing corn this yr morgan.. never have.. its just me..and what am i to do..
with 16 - 16 ft rows of corn???? LOL
i think im going to have some happy neighbours..LOL :) doing 2 plantings.. 1st corn planting is in..and corn is 5+ " tall..
i'll put 2nd planting in end of june..

Helena, MT

I've decided to trench the squash and cucumbers as well as tomatoes and corn this year. I'm not sure that mounding has made much difference as to heat for the squash and cucumbers, however I have the capability of watering these with warm water for the first couple of weeks. I trenched the potatoes a few weeks back as well and it made it easy to mound up the potato plants as they got larger. The method I used was to attach a plow blade behind the Mantis tiller and make two passes per row, adjusting the plow blade down several notches on the second pass to achieve a six inch trench. I then add composted cow manure to the trench and till a third time with the Mantis tiller without the blade attachment. Figured I would used this method for the other crops mentioned as well. Sure beats digging holes.

I have not mulched in the past Dave, but I plan on doing it this year. Neighbor has accumulated piles of grass clippings which he plans to use for mulching. He and I both had our lawns treated commercially last year and I didn't think it was a good idea to used grass clippings which had been chemically treated. Besides I've heard that clippings can contain grass seed which can sprout in the garden. I have a tendency to let my grass grow taller than my neighbors so I don't have to water it as often. Saves on gas as well. I'm leaning towards rotted straw or hay for mulching. Would prefer alfalfa straw if I can find it.

Not sure whether I mentioned it to you before Dave, but I like growing pole beans next to my corn. I have five rows of corn and five varieties of pole beans. Using Farmer Dill's recommendation for planting corn 14-inches apart has worked for me the last several seasons and I switched to Ed Hume's Early Sunglow hybrid. a 63 day, cool climate, short season variety. Will let you know how that works out. Farmer's Almanac tells me I will need to get my corn in by the middle of this week so I'm hustling to get the rows ready. I was skeptical when I read we were going to have a cool wet spring when May temps rose into the high 80's, but that only lasted a week. I will never truly understand how those predictions work, but it sure beats listening to the weather reports on TV.

New Port Richey, FL

Geeze, and I always thought Grandpap did it cause it was easier to cover up the cow patty than bury it.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

morgan..i mow 2 neighbours lawns..i throw away the 1st couple
mowings.. same reason u mentioned..herbicides.. but also weeds..
by the 4th mowing..weeds "usually" are under control..and i feel better
using the clippings on the gardens,compost..
i havent used a "commercial" herbicide for now..
it may be 10 yrs now..
i also let my lawn go taller than neighbours too..
my 2 neighbours want the "perfect" manicured lawn..which im happy to
accomodate.. i also dont want to spend all that time,and $$ (water and fuel)
just for the "perfect" lawn..
though..i do have a nice lawn.. :)

Helena, MT

water & mow; water & mow....seems like an endless cycle around here. Makes no sense to me. I have this patronizing neighbor and that's all he seems to get done, and when I do mow my lawn he makes it a point to compliment me on my "nice" lawn. Now my wife is doing it as well. I just laugh it off. Feel like I'm back in the forth grade again.

Nice point Dave about using the forth trimmings. Hadn't thought about that. I just wasn't sure that the trimmings would be free of weed killer. We had a lawn service for a couple of years and they got greedy this year so we dumped them. I remember 5 cent Hershey bars (big ones), and I can't get my head around a $450 tune up. The trade skills have just gone through the roof here. Don't know if that's true every where else or not.

I told the wife I was going to sell most of what I grow this year since we can't seem to empty our four freezers. I have been checking prices at the grocery store and I'm just as puzzled at food prices. I never paid any attention to prices in the produce section since I don't buy any produce from the grocery store, but it seems like food is becoming just as expensive. I know that most of the food is shipped in and there is no comparison to taste and freshness when it comes to home grown. So I thought I would come up with my own version of a CSA. I need to run this by some people here for feed back. Every time I mention it someone here they seem to like the idea. Living on a highway as such offers an easy access and I thought I would use the net to get the word out. There is only about two to three months where this would work (July - Sept), but that would be about all I could stand.

I will be planting corn on Wednesday; five 60 foot rows, or approximately 250 plants. We typical get two to three ears per plant. So I figure about 500+ ears of corn around mid to late August. I plant pole beans with the corn so those two are primarily the cash crops along with cherry tomatoes. squash. and cucumbers. Onions and potatoes don't seem to be high on peoples choices for home grown but I figure these could be priced around the same as grocery store prices and would be easy to move along with the other crops. Last year farmer's market cherry tomatoes where bringing 4 to 5 dollars a bound here!!!

Decided if I can make enough money on the sales from the garden I would buy a fishing kayak, attach it to the top of my Blazer, and take a long vacation. Hear there are some nice spots near you I'd like to try. .

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Indeed, non-commodity food prices have been steadily rising at a higher rate than inflation -- shockingly so in a few quarters but we've gotten a break lately. Commodity food prices are also climbing but have been at a much slower rate.

Food prices follow oil prices due to the high petroleum use in the industry, but it tends to lag behind by half a year or so. We should have a very good global cereal crop in 2013, which will help some, but not in the produce section.

(For those interested in food prices and food issues, the USDA publishes "Amber Waves" which covers a lot of food issues.)

Just a few years ago, buying pasture-raised meats locally seemed so expensive, but those prices have scarcely budged. It's still more expensive than feed lot/chicken house meat, but not by much, and WAY cheaper than the organic and grass fed meats in the fancy grocery stores.

mraider, since you are next to a highway, I'd just set up a produce stand and call it a day. At least that works pretty well for folks around here. Some don't even bother with the stand and just post a sign like "turnip greens $1 Wal-Mart bag." You've mentioned taking orders and such before but then you are setting yourself up to deal with no-shows and phone calls.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

mraider - You might want to check local zoning rules first. You don't want to be faced with fines for not following their guidelines.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

morgan.. u always have your priorities right..kayak for fun !!!
i gotta start listenin to u !! :)
last couple yrs..friend of mine decided to start planting on her
2 acres.. before i think they kept a cow..or a horse.. just pasture..
now.. she makes enough at local farmers market to take her and
family on a cruise in the fall.. thats some serious $$$$
everything seems to be doing ok.. i see in black hills ,SD they had
a major hail storm.. :(
i grew up there...
its hot..and dry mulching is a must this yr for sure..
i think the relative humidity was 6 % today.. geesh...
the lawn is suffering the most..
i wish my 2 neighbours would listen to me about grass length..they would
spend less $$$ and keep the lawn nice ..even during july/aug..
its there $$$ oh well..

Helena, MT

Nicole, I think you're right...Keep it simple. Signs easy as well as access since I'm on a block long road next to the highway which gives people two access points. I don't figure this will be a cash cow since there is probably only a two month window of production. I wasn't sure what you meant by Walmart plastic bag. Bring your own bag, or that is roughly the amount of produce offered??? I went to a farmer's market in Colorado Springs where one vendor was offering a plastic bag full for eight dollars. Seemed like a pretty good deal. He allowed the customer to stuff as much in the bag as they could.

Honeybee, there are no zoning laws here. Anything goes. Guy across the street runs a vehicle repair business and I'm pretty sure he's selling drugs as well. Traffic is far to busy for his repair business and from what I understand law enforcement in Helena is probably in on it. Figured I would give him some of his own medicine and block his driveway.

Dave, maybe I will get a two seatr then I can take you out. I know the granddaughter would love that. Luckily I just finished my five rows of corn and pole beans before the rains hit. Got a little hail with it, but hopefully no harm done. Farmer's Almanac said I had today and tomorrow to finish above ground planting for this month. Don't think I will make it. More rain in the forecast. Told the neighbor he could have some tomato plants if he helped me plant mine this weekend. I've got way more plants than I need even though I will be planting two or three plants per hole this year. Hope ole Ed is right and stressing the plants will get them to produce earlier.

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

That was just an example -- I used to live down the street from a guy and that's what his sign said every winter. I always thought it was funny he specified a *Wal-Mart* bag. I don't know if he provided the bags or not!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

morgan..u need to send some of that rain south..
forcast for us is warm/hot and no rain.. sigh..
couple towns are putting water restrictions on ..
ive kicked around the idea of going xeroscaping in front for yrs..
use the water on the vegy garden..and my tropicals..
neighbour kid that helps me with heavy hauling fishes alot..
he brings over his brag fish all the time.. :)

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

tropicalnut, do you ever fish in Lake Powell? I used to spend a lot of time on that lake.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

ive only been there once..jet ski.. :)
most of the fishing..not for couple yrs now.. has been stream fishing,
one of my buddies has a pontoon on big lakes did trolling..
my son and i use to clamber thru tight brush,trees,etc. next to close by streams/rivers..up the local canyons...
im amazed i never got into any poison ivy.. :) or bit by rattlers..
there everywhere up the canyons here....

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