Our garden beds all have a mix of things in them, but this has to be the most mixed up of them all.
This bed is the scene of the The Great Zucchini Squash Disaster of 2009, and we took some measures to improve conditions and hopefully avert problems with the dreaded squash vine borer. In the fall, we turned over the soil a lot hoping to expose any vine borer larvae to cold temperatures. Then we planted two rows of garlic around three sides of the bed in November. In early spring we turned the soil over again and planted icicle radishes on both ends, which are supposed to be a deterrent. As the weather warmed up, we added a pile of fresh homemade compost and planted the squash directly in the compost, and planted a few marigolds, which are also a good companion and deterrent. You can’t see the marigolds because of the garlic and radishes, but they are there, hidden sentries among all the tall green leaves.
So far this year is a major improvement over last year. The squash are big and tall with lots of stalks and plenty of flowers. We check the squash daily for signs of the vine borers, and so far we’ve only lost one small plant to the pests. There are several squash on the plants now and hopefully we’ll be able to write about our homegrown squash next month!
The only problem with our plan is we can’t really narrow down which one thing might have had the most impact, but after the total destruction of last year we didn’t want to take any chances. Next year we’ll rotate the squash to a different bed, and probably will take the same measures to protect it.
And speaking of homegrown squash, we hope you’ll join us for this month’s Grow Your Own event. You can send your post information to me by June 30.