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Garden Planning and Review II

January 25, 2010

My family is not terribly fond of squash. I like it. The garden fairy likes it. It grows quickly and summer squash is highly productive. I don’t remember gardening much, as a child, but I do remember growing zucchini with an aunt and making zucchini bread. That may be my only gardening memory from childhood. So, I grow squash. Unfortunately, it takes a good amount of space and my garden is small. As the seasons pass and I learn what works and what doesn’t, I need to be more selective.

pattypan

Last year, I grew three types of summer squash; white scallop, yellow straightneck, and zucchini, and four types of winter squash; acorn and spaghetti that were purchased seeds, and butternut and carnival saved from store bought fruit. They were all basic varieties of seed found at stores everywhere. This was before I knew anything about exotic varieties, online or catalog suppliers, gmo, or organic seed. None of them grew well. I only harvested one tiny butternut, a couple white scallop, and a few yellow.

yellow

I started the seeds in five inch peat pots and then planted them into their garden spots. They got off to a good start. I was away on vacation the first two weeks in July. I use soaker hoses to water. Kirk set up a timer to turn them on every other morning while we were gone, but it rained. Not just a little rain, either. It rained excessively. One source I read gave an average rainfall of 3.4 inches of rain for July, but 17 inches for July of 2009. The plants suffered powdery mildew and squash vine borers. I tried pulling the worst looking plants and putting in new seeds, but they didn’t survive.

spaghetti

The rains left the garden overpopulated with slugs. It was such a bad year with slugs, they could be found eating my plants in the middle of the day. They devoured anything direct sown into the garden and many transplants. I tried beer traps, handpicking them, eggshells and coffee grounds. Nothing worked. I read that bran might help get rid of slugs. Apparently, they eat it and explode when it expands in their little bellies.

butternut

This year, I have some leftover seeds of fordhook zucchini and white bush scallop. I also saved seeds from butternut squash I bought at a local farm. I spent the weekend narrowing down my seed wish list. I had several catalogs to browse and wish lists from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Tinyseeds.com, and Pinetree Seeds. I placed my Pinetree order, last night. Tinyseeds offers Botanical Interests seeds at a discount, but in the end, I passed on ordering. There were only a few varieties that I couldn’t get from Pinetree and I have a local nursery that carries Botanical Interests. Baker Creek has some wonderful exotic varieties. I don’t know if the few items that made the final cut are worth the separate order, but I may order anyway if they restock the squash I want. Their shipping is very reasonable. Pinetree had most of what I wanted at good prices. Probably too good. I’m sure I will have way more than I have space for. I ordered cocozelle and bennings green tint  summer squashes, and pink banana winter squash. I only hope I can find a way to thwart the borers.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 1:00 pm

    Borers are the worst! They always ruin my squash year. I have learned though, that butternut squashes (which are a different species than the other squashes) are resistant to them. This year, I found that pinetree has a variety called zucchetta rampicante tromboncino which is actually a butternut squash you can eat as a summer squash — so I’m going to try it and hope it is borer resistant too!

    • Kate permalink*
      January 25, 2010 1:08 pm

      Rampicante is the squash I wanted from Baker Creek, but they’re out of it. I didn’t know Pinetree had it. It’s not on they’re website, so maybe they’re out of it, too. If it resists borers, I can see why everyone wants it. I guess I’ll have to order earlier next year. I’ll be watching your blog to see how you do against the borers.

  2. January 25, 2010 1:36 pm

    I have not grown squash before, but I have many great memories of my father growing lots of zucchini in our California garden.

  3. January 26, 2010 2:51 am

    Exploding slugs! I got the visual when I read that….I’m ordering my seeds now too, isn’t it fun? I love looking thru garden catalogues.

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