What are best companion plants for squash?

ShowmemanApril 20, 2005

What are the best plants to plant with squash and cucumbers to repel the squash borer and cucumber bug or bugs. I always get nice producing plants but they soon wither and die. I am Practicing notill with lots of compost and mulch. Any help in this area would greatly be appreciated.

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In my own, personal experience, in my own, personal garden, there is no such thing as plants that repel squash vine borers, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. The things to do are:

1. Plant lots of different things in your garden
2. Add lots of compost and mulch
3. Grow resistant varieties. (For example, I had to give up on yellow crookneck squash, even though we love it, because the squash vine borers ALWAYS got it. Now I grow Costata romanesca zucchini, which is also yummy, and doesn't seem to care much about the bugs. Neither did Bening's Green Tint pattypan, the one year I grew it -- but the one year I grew it, we had SO MANY pattypans that I haven't been able to stand the thought of growing it since :-).)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 9:39AM
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lilyroseviolet(Maine 4and 5)

Pretty much what ALfie says,

I'd like to emphasis to Check out the soil forum and really get a head start on a healthy soil, if the plants are more healthy as a result of the soil you will have less problems.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 11:00AM
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mtmermaid(MT zone 3, 4)

Again, I agree with Alfie (and lilyroseviolet) about the importance of soil health and also diversity in your planting. These two things cannot be stressed enuf :)
biogardener explains this in a very clear concise easy to understand why it is important format. And her story is a real eye opener. See Paradise Lost - The Tyranny of Conformity. Guess some people think we're nuts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winnepeg gardener on the importance of diversity and soil health

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 3:08AM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Supposedly radishes gone to seed and dill are good to repel squash bugs. And I grow them by my squash. But as the others said, I find that no matter what, I get some squash vine borers.

I also read that I shouldn't grow potatoes by cucumbers and squash, and due to how my garden happened to turn out this year, I had to put the summer squash and cucumbers by the potatoes. I planted a row of marigolds in between them, don't know if that will help. Nothing much is up yet since I just planted most of it, I just have vigorous potato plants because I had some growing in the pantry and planted them in April. :-) I have used a ring of ashes around my zucchini and also diatomateous earth and really, nothing stops those darn bugs! I wonder if the marigolds will help.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 12:01AM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

That is really awful about the Winnipeg woman's ("Paradise Lost") garden. I can't imagine why some of her neighbors would be so nuts as to keep complaining about something like that for *eight years*. It makes me glad I live out in the country.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 8:44AM
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opabinia51(SW Canada)

Corn, melons, I think potatoes, onions and..... just do a google search for comanion plants. There are several good tables out there.

You can also check out www.helpfulgardener.com and in the Vegetable Gardening Forum there is a list.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 11:26PM
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gretagretchen(ATL - ZONE 7)

I'm growing nasturtiums with my zukes and squash. It seems that they work as a good sacrifice.

We'll see----this is the first time I've tried it. I've also heard that planting squash a little late can help.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 12:04PM
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I'm also growing nasturium as well as borage with my squash as a companion to deter squash vine borers. I did a web search recently when a neighbor told of problems with her pumpkins last year due to borers. Both of these plants were recommended on a site I read. I can report back later in the summer with results.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 2:03PM
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Well, here is news from the woman in Winnipeg, me. My neighbors, or more correctly, two of my neighbors, are still obsessed with the idea of making my garden conform to theirs, i.e. with the typical front lawn. This spring, they started another campaign to get my garden demolished. This time, they sent the media whom to harass me so that every time I went out of the house I had a mike shoved in my face and cameramen illegally roaming all over my property, shooting footage in every nook and cranny, including into windows.

Well, the neighbors' tactics backfired. In the 7 years since the demolition of my garden, Winnipeggers have become more environmentally conscious, and the media coverage brought out a host of supporters among groups and individuals about whom I had never heard. Scores of people came to see the garden for themselves. One family canvassed my neighborhood with a petition which showed that most neighbors support what I am doing. The resultant hearing at City Hall was filled with supporters whereas the two neighbors who are demanding that my garden be demolished were a no show.

Now to the question of cucurbit borers. The best way to protect against any kind of pest is healthy well-drained and water retentive soil. Cucurbits are tropical plants requiring lots of heat and super-rich soil. In my native Germany, they are grown by throwing the seeds right onto the compost heap. The decomposition heat will not rot cucurbit seeds but make the plants thrive, and I have never seen them affected by any kind of pest that way. You can even place the seeds directly into fresh manure. Just make sure the manure is covered with a bit of soil to prevent smell. Stick poles right around the manure so that the plants will grow up rather than lie on the soil. I have grown squash as large as 40 pounds hanging from poles. Just make sure that they don't climb into a tree. They are not that easy to get down out of a high tree. I learned that lesson the hard way.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 6:40AM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

I actually read a garden tip a few years back (maybe Rodale, or Vegetable Grower magazine)that named a well-known plant that, when grown with squash, promished NO squash vine borers. I was going to try it--but senility has caused me to forget what it was, dratitall. Not much help, here. (Checking through rheems of notes, trying to find where I wrote it down.) For some reason, I've had no SVBs in the last 15 years or so at my place, and don't really know why. I've definitely had them in the past, and know their work. Sinking feeling when you
go to the garden in the morning and your 30-foot-long Butternut Squash plant (with 15, or so, immature squash) has
been reduced to a mass of withered (and dying) stems and leaves. Sinking, still, with summer squash, but they take 45 days, and Butternut takes 90--so, no replanting, there--it's wait 'til next year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 12:39PM
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vstech(z7 Charlotte)

isn't there something that can be painted onto the vine that can protect the vine from the immature bugs that cause the boring? If anyone finds out something PLEASE post it here. I am new to this, and my garden has never had anything planted in it before, so it can't be something that is in the soil from a previous crop. they must fly to the crop from other areas. how is the dang creature arriving? I guess I will do some googling.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 7:58PM
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vstech(z7 Charlotte)

I found this page

Here is a link that might be useful: SVB INFO

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 8:05PM
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Vstech, my neighbor is trying Bullseye from Gardens Alive on her pumpkins. The catalog recommends it for squash vine borers. See link below for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: gardens alive

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 7:21AM
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Miss_Mudcat(SE Indiana z5)

I always thought you could use a physical barrier against SVB... something like a strip of Aluminum Foil around the base of the plant? I recycle tin cans (empty pumpkin or peach cans), open both ends so that I have a tube, place that in the soil and plant the seeds or the transplants inside. For the past 2 years, I've grown squash both with and without these, and so far, I've not met any SVBs.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 10:07AM
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My companion plant for cucumbers this year is a blueberry bush. You see, I cover the bush with floating row covers to prevent the birds eating all the blueberries, so I just extended the cover over the cucumbers. They are doing very well. In fact they're about to bust out of there! The only thing is, you have to get cucumbers that do not need to be pollinated. I got Sweet Success from Burpee.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 10:28AM
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Here are the results of my companion planting experiment. I'm knocking on wood as I type since the growing season isn't completly over, but I had no svb's in the garden companion planting squash with nasturtium and borage. The results are inconclusive however. In the main squash bed I interplanted with both companions. I moved one volunteer squash to another area and planted only borage nearby. I moved another volunteer to the other side of the house near the garden where my next door neighbor lost her pumpkins last year. I planted nasturtium near this one.

My neighbor who lost her pumpkins to svb's in the past lost all of her squash and most of her pumpkins to them again this year. We disected the affected vines and got a positive i.d. on the borers. She decided against using Bullseye out of concern for inadverantly harming bees. She told me a neighbor down the block lost all of his zucchini to svb's.

My squash seeds were sown in average soil, good sun, topdressed with compost and were given a foliar feeding of kelp early on and alfalfa/nettle tea a bit later, before they started vining. I don't think my neighbors made any special efforts with their plants. My next door neighbor bought plants from a greenhouse.

I don't know if the companions were responsible for keeping the svb's away. They couldn't possibly have not seen my squash as they traveled through the neighborhood. If I ever plant squash again (the worry over svb's became excrutiating at one point), I'll definitely include these two companions in the bed.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 8:57PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I planted nasturiums with my acorn and butternut squash...also with some of the watermelons. I cannot say whether they helped, but this year I have had the healthiest plants in those areas ever.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 8:37PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

This is about the first year in a long time that I didn't have any squash vine borers (fingers crossed, but they should have shown up by now, we will have frost in a couple weeks.) My zucchini are planted by a lot of marigolds and radishes and some dill. Possibly the smell of those things confused the bugs, I guess they go by smell. Also it was a brand new lasagna bed I made last fall so maybe that helped, too, although I had them nearby last year.

I had read NOT to plant potatoes by squash, but I did due to circumstances and it wasn't a problem, although the cucumbers also present did really poorly. Gardening is sort of an unfolding mystery so it is hard to say exactly why some things happen or don't, we can only surmise.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 12:35AM
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I read that you can take a syringe (get one at a pharmacy) and inject the vines with a Bt solution. This kills the squash vine borer if you inject the Bt early enough so that the worm will eat enough of the Bt (dipel-in Safer caterpillar killer) to poison it. You can also spray the base of the plant to prevent entrance but this doens't work as well. I haven't personally tried either of these techniques.

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 2:56AM
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