Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sowing Squash

Last year I grew only four crookneck squash plants, and we really regretted growing so few because they were delicious and didn't last long. This year I am growing sixteen squash of four different varieties.

squash, pepers and green beans in the vegetable garden

I learned this year to be patient when sowing squash, and wait to direct sow them in the garden when night time temperatures stay above 55 degrees. This takes discipline for me, but I have learned my lesson. I sowed sixteen squash seeds indoors this year, and only four of them germinated! That's only 25% - not good. Later when I sowed the seeds outdoors, the rates were higher, but still nothing to brag about - about 50% success. Be sure to sow three seeds per hole so you have a better chance of successful germination. Don't try to "save" the extra seedlings by pricking them out of the soil and transplanting them - squash will not tolerate disturbances to their roots. You will end up with a stunted plant that produces little (if any) fruit.

A squirrel decided to gnaw down one of my squash plants, so I had to resow it today. What is it with squirrels? One of them dug up one of my eggplant transplants too! I suspect a pack of squirrels with some sort of vendetta against me, probably related to the fact that the birdfeeder is positioned out of their reach. I bought a fake snake to scare the little buggers away from the garden. So far it has scared me a couple times, so hopefully it is having some effect on the squirrels too! When you place a fake snake in the garden, you need to move it around the garden regularly. Otherwise, the squirrels realize it is a fake, because it never moves. Those pea brained critters are pretty darn smart. Too smart if you ask me!

You'll notice that I don't build mounds for my squash. I really don't see a strong reason to give up so much garden space for the sake of mounds. Maybe someone out there can convince me otherwise.

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