Tag Archives: summer squash

Powdery Mildew Strikes Again

We have had a very cooler and wet spring and the powdery mildew is back with a vengeance.

A day before our last good rain, I sprayed all of my crops with a mixture of Garrett Juice (2 tbsp per gallon), neem oil (almost 2 tbsp per gallon), and a tablespoon per gallon of ocean minerals.  After wards, the leaves had a nice rich green shine to them and the powdery mildew could not be seen.  I suspect that it was just hidden under the glossy finish.  After a few more days of very light sprinkles, enough to wash the spray off, I can again see spots of powdery mildew all over.

I had a small pump bottle of copper fungicide, so I sprayed the most affected leaves.  Tomorrow when I go to town I will look for a concentrated bottle of copper and I plan to add that to my spray mixture of Garrett Juice, neem and ocean minerals.

Neem oil can treat fungus, mites and insects, with varying efficacy.

It starts with just a few small spots here and there.

powdery mildew on squash plants

Then it spreads.

powdery mildew on squash closeup

Another squash leaf.  Different varieties of summer squash and zucchini have differing tolerances and immunity to the powdery mildew.   Winter squash and gourds seem to have the strongest resistance, except for spagetti squash.

powdery mildew on squash plants

I cut out the leaves that are totally wiped out by the mildew.  They are light yellow, covered with the white mess and dry and stiff.  The powdery mildew if a parasite fungus that taps into the leaves and feeds off of the squash leaves.


Please follow and like us:

Squash Issues – Yellowing Leaves on Some Plants

In one of my raised beds, I have some squash plants – both summer yellow and zucchini – that are turning yellow.   In the neighboring bed some of the late planted squash appears to be stunted.  This is affecting the older leaves first.  The edges turn yellow and the leaf surface is splotched with yellow areas.  (This year I am growing some of my summer squash – both yellow and zucchini – in tomato cages to see if I can get a better control over the plants that would otherwise sprawl all over.)

The little squash plant to the front left of this caged plant appears to be stunted.  The plant to the back, right of the center caged plant is OK.  The problem plants are intermixed with plants that are just fine and looking good.  This is a pointer to mosaic virus as opposed to a nutrient deficiency.  I have a hard time thinking that a nutrient deficiency would only affect intermittent plants when the soil was turned over and mixed before planting.
summer squash leaves are yellowing

And a closeup:  The younger leaves are OK so far.
summer squash leaves are yellowing

After spending hours searching for an answer, the 2 most promising answers are either a nutrient deficiency or a mosaic virus.

Below is a broader view.  Some of the plants are affected while others aren’t.  To add more confusion, I only made note of the varieties that I originally planted, not the subsequent 3 re-seedings that I had to do because of poor germination.  (I don’t know why the seeds did not germinate well, the original planting was 2 year old professional seed that has been stored in the refrigerator.)  The 2 original varieties were Superpik yellow and Obsidian zucchini, both on the Cucumber Mosaic Virus Resistant list at Cornell’s Squash resistance lists.

What is affecting my squash does not look exactly like any mosaic virus images I found, neither does it look exactly like Zinc deficiency, although it does look a wee bit more like the zinc deficient images.  It could also be magnesium or manganese deficiency.

So what to do?  I am not ready to pull the plants because I don’t know for sure if it is a mosaic virus.  I am going to water the squash with a handful of Epsom salt in the water.  Maybe I can crush a few zinc vitamin pills and add it to the magnesium sulfate mix.
summer squash leaves are yellowing

Oh what to do?  I have squished a few squash bugs and scraped numerous batches of eggs off of the leaves.  My research has revealed that aphids and cucumber beetles are the culprits that transmit mosaic viruses, not squash bugs, although squash bugs are blamed for transmission of some plant diseases.  No clear answer.

Please follow and like us:

Is This A Squash Vine Borer?

I have seen several of these bugs flying around.  I don’t think that they are squash vine borers – the wings look different from other squash vine borers I have smashed in the past. (I also don’t know what that green think is in the top right corner on that marigold bud.)

is this a squash vine borer, don't think so

I had massive summer squash die off, but I don’t think it was from squash vine borers, but it could have been. I don’t know what to think. Next spring I will have to keep better tract of the stems of my squash. I use BT and inject it into the base of my squash stems with a syringe until it squirts back out. If it leaks out of the stem somewhere along the bottom, then it is probably leaking out of a borer hole.

Please follow and like us:

The Squash Bugs Are Here, The Squash Bugs Are Here!!

I was harvesting when I saw this vile little bugger, my first squash bug. Since it was laying eggs when I caught it (see the eggs circled in red),  I knew that there are obviously 2 squash bugs around.

squash bugs

I smashed this squash bug against the wood bed.  Squash bugs are related to stink bugs and give off a disagreeable odor when smashed.  I then smashed each egg – I scraped them off the leaf with my finger nail and then smashed each egg.

A couple of days later, I noticed two adult squash bugs around the stems of a squash plant in another bed.  I have not seen any mass hatching of nymphs.  When those egg clusters hatch, the nymphs stay together for a while, feeding on the under side of the leaf.  This causes bleached-out looking clusters of tiny spots on the top of the leaf.  This is a sign that must be watched for so that the baby squash bug nymphs can be smushed.  Squash bugs don’t have any known predators, so the gardener must take care of them.  If they get out of hand, I like to sprinkle sevin dust around the stems of the squash plants – being careful to keep the sevin away from blossoms so that bees are not affected.  I don’t anticipate a troubling population of squash bugs this season, but next spring may be another story.

Please follow and like us:

Basil And Squash Overview

The plants on the left side of the pic of the first bed are Basil. I start Basil from seed each year, with occasionally buying a pack of another variety of basil. Most of the seeds that I started from last year are ‘regular’ Basil. This year I bought a pack of Globe Basil seeds – those plants grow somewhat slower, but are very interesting. They do indeed grow in a round ball and the leaves are smaller. Hopefully they won’t cross with my ‘regular Basil’ for next year.

Under the raised cattle panel, I plant a climbing winter squash.  On the other edge of the bed are summer squash.
basil seedlings

A closeup of Obsidian Zucchini, which is a hybrid that I purchased from Twilley Seed.  I like it and plan to purchase some more.  It matures shortly after 8 Ball zucchini, and well before all of my yellow summer squash.
obsidian hybrid zucchini

This is a bed of zucchini down the middle and a row of summer squash along each side.  The zucchini is already producing, but the summer squash is still growing.
squash row

I mulch each bed with several inches of dry oak leaves and other leaves.

Please follow and like us:

Cucumbers – Marching Right Along

Because of the move and having to build my raised beds, these cucumbers were planted a month late. These tiny seedlings are popping up through oak tree mulch. Cute – eh?

cucumber seedlings popping up

I am using last spring’s left over Tasty Green hybrid cucumbers from Twilley Seed Co.  I had excellent germination.  I like an ‘English’ type of cucumber and Tasty Green is Twilley’s closest match.  Last year I had an excellent harvest and expect one this year.  These cukes are best harvested at about 12″ in length.

cucumbers may 20

I use cattle panels as trellises.  Here I am weaving the growing tips in and out of the openings.

cukes closeup june 9

I had to make raised beds because our soil is red clay – I don’t understand how all these trees grow in the stuff!  My raised beds are about 5’x16′.  I have a raised cattle panel running down the middle length of some of the beds.  On the outer 2 long edges, I plant other things – bushing summer squash in this bed.

cucumber bed wideshot

Please follow and like us:

The Squash Row

This little beauty has plenty of blooms.  This is what a happy squash plant looks like.

squash plant full of baby fruit

This year I inter-planted over 3 dozen basil seedlings in and throughout the garden. You can see a few of the first planted basil popping above the squash. Today, the last day of July, these large, beautiful squash are all gone and only the basil are left. They are now enormous – all at least 2 feet tall and bushy from having their seed heads pinched out regularly for a month.

basil interplanted with squash plants

Please follow and like us:

Zucchini Appears To Be Recovering From Squash Vine Borers

Several posts ago I showed a picture of a zucchini plant that was wilting probably because of the evil squash vine borer.  I have treated all sizeable summer squash plants numerous times with in-stem injections of BT.  These 2 zuchs look like they recovered enough and are trying to regrow.  They should have an excellent root structure to build on.  Look at those new leaves !  The old, dead yellow leaf stems are still visible.  (The white powder at the stem is diacatamous earth to try to cut down on the excessive pill bug population – it seems to be working).

zuch recovering from squash vine borer


another zuke survided the evil svb

What could have been, look at this beautiful zucchini. Absolutely wonderful. I don’t expect the damaged plants to attain such stature, but I do expect production out of them.  (You can see the 2nd above damaged plant off to the bottom right side, by the Marigold).

 beautiful zucchini plant

Please follow and like us:

Squash Vine Borer

I was walking along my squash row, looking at the plants as I walked along.  Then – there it was – a squash vine borer fly just there on the leaf.  I put my gloves on and picked it up – took it to the greenhouse and put it in a plastic zip bag.

This is the top side:

squash vine borer

This is its underside:

bottom side of a squash vine borer

I mixed up a fresh batch of BT worm killer and injected the stems of all of my decent sized summer squash.  The SVB is a moth and when I was trying to pick it up with my gloves, some of the glittery wing covering that moths have rubbed off on the leaves.

These evil little bugs have already claimed the lives of 2 of my large zucchini plants.  Constant vigilance is needed since it seems that they are a constant pest during the summer here in the hot south.

Please follow and like us:

Hybrid Summer Squash Out-Performs Open Pollinated Varieties

I prefer to grow open pollinated/heirloom varieties of plants. (I get a thrill out of saving seeds). However, here in east Texas, the growing conditions are harsh during the summer. As a result, the past few years gardening has not been as productive as I would like. (And this includes fresh seeds from seed sellers).  Last fall, after talking with a road side vegetable vendor, I decided to go hybrid this season. The vendor recommended Twilley Seed of North Carolina. I purchased all of my tomato, summer and winter squash and melon seeds from them (plus other seeds also).

The last 2 growing summer seasons were a total disaster for my yellow summer squash. This was due to a wide variety of issues from armadillos to squash vine borers to the drought. Also, my heirloom yellow summer squash just didn’t ever seem to produce well. This, along with me watching those volunteer cantaloupe grow very strong and well in the garden – they had to be hybrid and although they were the seeds of hybrids, they grew exceptionally well and strong.  I figured that real h1 hybrid seeds should do exceptionally well.

I planted 2 varieties of hybrid zucchini: 8 Ball and Obsidian. I planted 2 varieties of yellow crook neck squash: Sunglo and Horn of Plenty. While it is quite obvious to tell the 2 zukes apart, I can’t tell the 2 yellows apart.

I am so utterly amazed and thrilled with how totally prolific these hybrids are. I never had this many baby fruit on my open pollinated squash. This yellow squash has 6 babies, in various stages of development.

Prolific hybrid summer squash

This zucchini is Obsidian. It has one ready to harvest zuch with buds for more.

obsidian hybrid zucchini

This beauty is an 8-Ball zucchini.

hybrid 8 ball zucchini

You will notice the leaf mulch I use. I have to mulch because otherwise the soil would dry out in a day. It is so hot and dry here. Also, the white powder you see around is diacatamous earth. It’s main purpose is get rid of the excessive number of pill bugs (which DO eat and destroy seedlings) and hopefully damage squash vine borers and their offspring.

This is my very first zucchini harvest of 2012:  (The 8 Balls are coming in at just a few ounces over a pound.  The Obsisian is just over half a pound.

first zucchini harvest of 2012

If I can fight off the squash vine borers and am allowed to water my garden, it should finally be a good squash year. Lord Willing!

Please follow and like us: