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2020 Squash Photos and Comments

Page history last edited by Ruth 5 days, 7 hours ago


 Seeds were direct-sown on May 27th, in 8 hills at 5 seeds each. I had 100% germination by June 6th. Hills were thinned to 2 or 3 plants each.

Early in the season I spent some time removing the seed leaves and any compromised leaves from around the base of the plants since these often provide cover for cucumber beetles and squash bugs. I also banked soil around the base of the vines at grade to discourage the moth that lays stem borer eggs near the soil. The vines are moderately vigorous and seem to be very attractive to cucumber beetles. The beetles are most drawn to recently spent blossoms. I now remove these early in the morning while the beetles are still sluggish, both so that I know where I’ve checked for beetles, and so that the rotting blossoms don’t remain around the vines. I check every other day for squash bug eggs. These have been easier to find and remove than the adults who lay them.


Same squash about one and a half weeks apart. Notice the thickness of the vines to get a sense of scale.

Syl's Update (8/8)

My experience seems to be similar to that of others. The variety is very susceptible to squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. All of this is making me wonder whether this is part of the reason the variety fell out of cultivation. The squash borers are the most challenging insect to deal with. You can cover the plants till they begin to flower, although I’ve never been a big fan of row cover. The moths that lay the eggs are beautiful, and a little hard to catch. I’m growing another squash, Doran Round, that Brian wanted to try. I think it’s a moschata. It has shown no evidence whatsoever of any of these three insects. Did someone suggest that maximas are more susceptible as a species than moschatas?


No photos of the squash, but here are the surgical tools I used to deal with the vine borers:

Right to left: an Xacto blade, useful because of the long handle, tweezers for extracting the offending grub, and a metal staple for fastening the surviving vine to the soil in hopes that it will root and allow the squash to finish ripening.



First female blossom (7/17 and fruit (7/21)



Vines and first fruit (7/21)

This is my one hill, two vines, of Vermont Hubbard.  It's the biggest of all my squash vines, although I started these about a week later than my other varieties.  Here it is using the escape path through the electric fence.


Stuart's Update (7/28)

I've been naive about squash vine borers.  I think just last week I said on this email list that I'd never had them.  I can't say that anymore.


I saw the photos that Ruth posted on the wiki yesterday of her wilted VT Hubbard vines with the lament  that the borer was having its way.  I thought, by golly, one of my VT Hubbard vines looked just like that two days ago and both of them looked like that yesterday.  So I looked up squash vine borers online and read up on symptoms, control measures, etc.


There's a lovely photo of a squash borer moth here: https://images.app.goo.gl/RjG5QGpaiRVBBFcq6


Turns out we have had that in the garden.  In fact, just last month, as I was preparing a bed for late kale, right where my squash had grown last year, I saw a chrysalis (if that's the right term for a moth) starting to pop open.  And what popped out looked (eventually) like the moth in the photo.  So overcome was I by the miracle of pupation that I went to fetch Li and we oohed and ahhed over this marvelous little creature.  We noted two or three empty chrysalis, identical to the first, nearby.  The one that had so enamored me could have been the one that laid eggs at the base of my VT Hubbard vines.


It didn't take me long to find a video of this folksy midwesterner demonstrating how to excise the nasty larvae from the vine stems.  https://youtu.be/UkKLxQcEPuU


Today both vines wilted as soon as the sun came out.  So I got out my dentist mirror and a utility knife and performed surgery with the able assistance of Dr. Li Shen.  (Who, regrettably, backed her rear end into the electric fence at 8400 volts, went airborne and landed with both feet squarely on the squash hill.)  I made my incision according to the youtube video, as any good surgeon does, and there it was:

You can see how tiny it is.  Hard to believe it's wreaking such havoc.  I elongated the incision further down the vine but found no more.  


The second vine has no tell-tale squishiness indicating internal damage but the wilting in the sun is dramatic, so I decided on exploratory surgery.  I cut a slit but found nothing except healthy tissue.  Well, previously healthy, anyway.


Who knows, maybe the grub-ectomy will be successful and the first vine will recover.  I have my doubts.  Nonetheless, I dressed the wounds with mounds of damp compost and the patients are resting, comfortably as far as I can tell.


So, it turns out that I was wrong about never having seen squash vine borer damage before.  I checked my notes from last year and almost exactly a year ago I removed a summer squash plant that had mysteriously thrown in the towel and collapsed.  I'd never seen that before and didn't look further.  Now I know.


Stuart's Update (8/7)

Zombie Squash

Well, I'm not sure the surgery to remove the squash vine borer can be categorized as a success.  The stem has completely rotted away and detached from the (original) roots.  The second vine is in almost the same condition.  And yet... they live on.  Obviously, they vines have sent down roots from one or more spots along their lengths.  They don't look great but, they haven't quit yet.








(7/26) Furthest along fruit and vines succumbing to the borer, so wilted on a hot day, so sad.







(8/8) Vermont Hubbards seem to be having comparable troubles to those mentioned already.  Some of them look great, and I think others have that squash vine borer.



(8/9) I have not found a squash vine borer on the Vermont Hubbards, but at least one of the roots looks possibly suspicious (photo below).  However, no wilting so far (correction one vine now wilting since I tromped through the area; will recheck tomorrow).  Please note that I have seen the squash vine borer moth (multiple) on several occasions and I removed a squash vine borer larva from a C. pepo today, located in a nearby garden approx. 40-50' away from the Vermont Hubbard.

One note:  There are two immature Vermont Hubbard squash, each on a different vine [and plant] which appear to be yellow in the center and green on the ends.  I am mentioning this becauseI believe  the other immature squash have all been more green.  On each of the two vines with the yellowish squash, there are also immature and maturer green squash on the same vine; one of them has red spots/markings on the skin (possibly pest/other related ??).

I have C. moschata and C. pepo in the same garden area as C. maxima (Vermont Hubbard); c. moschata (Canada Crookneck) is adjacent to the Hubbard and c pepo is further away.  No squash vine borer on any these as far as I can tell though I have seen the moth by C. pepo.

I planted radish and a borage near the squash.



















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