Tag Archives: squash

Disease, cucumber plant.

All About Vertical Gardening: Protecting Vertical Gardens from Disease

Because vertical gardens grow up rather than along the ground, the risk of disease is significantly reduced thanks to limited contact with the soil. However, that doesn’t mean your plants will be disease free in a vertical garden.

As with any type of gardening, the first step to avoiding disease is the quality of the soil. If this is the first season for your vertical garden, make sure you start with an area from which all weeds have been removed and the soil has been vigorously turned and mixed with clean compost.

For an existing vertical garden, you’ll still want to weed and augment your soil with compost, but also make sure you have rotated your crops from their planting locations the previous year. Plants like squash, cucumber and peas are highly susceptible to disease when planted in the same spot as the previous year.

Two common diseases that affect vertical gardens are:

  • Anthracnose: This fungus most often affects cucumbers, watermelons and muskmelons, and is most prevalent during warm, humid conditions. To protect your plants, rotate crops annually, leave enough space between plants to let leaves dry out as quickly as possible and promptly remove/destroy affected leaves and fruit to prevent spreading. To help prevent or eliminate anthracnose, use Safer®Brand Garden Fungicide or Safer®Brand 3-in-1 Garden Spray, which acts as a fungicide, insecticide and miticide. Both are OMRI Listed® and compliant for use in organic gardening.
  • Bacterial wilt: This disease is indicated by vines that wilt in the day but recover at night. Try to purchase disease resistant species and watch for cucumber beetles, which spread the disease.
Squash Harvest

ALL ABOUT SQUASH: Harvesting Squash

Your squash plants are in the ground and are ready to grow! We’ve got tips for you to help keep your plants growing and and make your squash harvesting an abundant effort.

Squash are fast-growing crops that offer high yields. Keep garden beds filled with compost to give your plants tons of nutrients. Mulch beds to assist with moisture retention and weed deprivation. When seedlings are about two inches tall apply a layer of mulch to help regulate soil temperature and protect plants. As plants mature apply more mulch to continue helping growth.

Plants need a continued supply of moisture. Supply plants with about an inch of water per week. Ground irrigation systems allow water to feed directly to roots without pooling on leaves. Watering during early daytime is best so that plants avoid sitting in water in cool evening temperatures, which could cause mold to form.

Squash plants have male and female flowers on each plant. Pollination must occur for large fruits to bear. If you do not have enough bees in your region you can manually pollinate plants by transferring pollen from male to female flowers using a paintbrush or Q-Tip.

PlantingSquash

ALL ABOUT SQUASH: Planting Squash

Now that you’ve decided your squash varieties for your garden, it is time to get to planting squash. Here are a few tips to keep your squash plants happy and healthy!

Summer squash needs full-sun, warm temperatures, and a steady moisture supply. Stock garden beds with plenty of compost matter and make sure drainage is plentiful. If you’d prefer to keep your squash growing contained you can do so. They thrive well in 5-gallon planter containers.

Directly sow summer squash seeds in late spring to early summer, once all threat of frost has passed.  Space your plantings about 1.5-2 feet apart, depending on variety. Typically squash plants can harvest in about 60-90 days. If you want to have a continuous supply, plant seeds in succession.

Winter squash appreciates well-drained soil and warm conditions, too. Prepare three-foot wide planting hills for your winter squash and loosen the soil to at least 12 inches deep. Mix in compost for a nutrient rich base. Plant six seeds per hill to later thin out to three seeds per hill.  Winter squash varieties can be planted throughout the summer up until about 14 weeks before fall frost dates are expected.

Protective row covers should be used on your winter squash varieties. Row covers can be used for various reasons – to hold heat, to keep plants from pests and disease, to guard from weather elements that can be damaging. Using row covers as frost blankets can give them up to 8 degrees of frost protection or can help your almost harvested crops continue to grow even in cooler temperatures.

SquashBeetles

ALL ABOUT SQUASH: Squash Bugs and Diseases

As with most vegetable plants, squash bugs and diseases can quickly eliminate a garden crop without regret. Keep eyes peeled for damage to leaves, flowers, or fruits to eliminate a garden takeover before it is too late!

Aphids – curled or yellowed leaves indicate an aphid infestation. Use a pyrethrin-based spray like Safer® Brand Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer to kill insects on contact without harming plants.

Cucumber Beetles – chewed holes present on your plants are often a result of cucumber beetles. Cucumber beetles help the spread of disease so using an insecticidal soap will control this issue. Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap kills insects on contact without damaging the integrity of your organic garden.

Squash Borers – wilted plant leaves and stems are caused by a squash borer presence.  Safer® Brand Bug Patrol will attach to your hose and can be applied quickly and evenly to your squash plants.

Powdery Mildew – although often mistaken for dirt, powdery mildew is a strain of fungi. Yellowing or stunted leaves, a dirt-like presence on leaves and vines, or premature leaf drop all indicate a possible powdery mildew presence. Safer® Brand Garden Fungicide is compliant with organic gardening and effective in powdery mildew control.

Assorted squash

ALL ABOUT SQUASH: Squash Varieties

Squash Varieties

Originating in Mexico and Central America, people have been eating squash for more than 7,500 years. Native Americans shared squash seeds in different varieties with European explorers, who then took the new crop back to their lands to grow. Continue reading