Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I should've known: Growing Squash

So I thought I was completely prepared and well-read when I carefully selected my squash and zucchini plants. If you read my previous post, then you saw how pretty my little plant are... or were. The sad thing is that I go out to my garden at least a couple of times a day. In the past few weeks, I noticed that a leaf here and there would start to wilt. I would, of course, take my scissors and cut of the leaf to make sure my plants stayed looking pretty. Boy was I wrong. My plants were telling me exactly what I needed to know. They were suffering from... drumroll... Squash Vine Borers.

What I found: I did some research online to find out what was causing sawdust-like stuff to come out of tiny little holes at the base of the main squash stem and the underside of some of the leaf stems. As it turns out, there was a nice little moth that laid some eggs on the stem. If I would've known to look for those eggs I could've removed/wiped the eggs and prevented them from hatching. Once the eggs hatch, little white worms make a hole and go into the stem.

What I did: Anyhow, I took a sharp knife where I found the holes, and cut into that part of the stem. Then I gently opened the stem and starting looking for the ugly white worm. Once I removed my findings, I gently cleaned out the inside of the stem with some water, dried it and used some twine to to wrap the base of the stem up to where I performed the surgery. I found that almost every squash and pumpkin plant, with the exception of two, had this malady. Even the Butternut Squash plant that was supposed to be resistant to this type of pest was affected.

Prevention: I haven't tried a soap wash yet, but I plan on frequently, at least once a week, wiping the base of the squash stems to remove any eggs before they hatch.

I expected the plants to be completely dead after the mini surgery, but they are still alive and trying to make it. Unfortunately there were numerous baby squash and zucchini casualties, thanks to our invaders. I'm still trying to figure out if I will start over with new transplants, or if I will wait and see. In the meantime, I will let you know if my plants make a recovery.

1 comment: