Going to try this for squash borers...

trinquette(6)March 22, 2009

This year I'm going to buy several large bags of good top soil, lay them in a sunny spot, slit open the top, and put my plants right in. I'll cover them with a floating row cover until the squash borer risk is past. I've always lost out to the borers, and my plants never survive, even when I slit the stems open and remove the borers.

Has anyone tried this? Any comments or suggestions? I'm also going to limit my plants to moschata types to maximize the chance of a harvest.

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It may work, but be aware that squash roots want to grow sideways. Not sure if it makes any difference, though.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 9:59PM
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I don't think the bags of topsoil will help any. The borers are the larvae of a moth, so that's what you need to exclude ~ the moth. The moth may emerge from a chrysalis that wintered over underground, but using bags of topsoil won't avoid that since they'll be emerging from the regular ground around the bags and can simply fly over to your bags.

Floating row cover seems to be the best way to avoid them. The botanist at work (an organic nursery in Austin) and I were discussing this the other day, and he'll be doing what I'll be doing this year ~ covering with lightweight floating row cover 24/7 until female blooms appear. I'll leave it off after that since the plants should be big enough to withstand a borer attack after that, especially if I slit the stem and remove it. Neil (the botanist) said he'd had good luck manually removing the borers if he slit the vine longways, not across the vine, and then buried the slit part after removing the borer.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 1:37PM
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I'm new on this website. Glad to find it. Howdy from Texas!

Buy a syringe at your pharmacy (large needle). When stem is just strong enough to take it, inject the main stem with Bt mixed according to directions. Borer problems have been prevented for me since doing this. Lost my squash plants every year before doing this. They are vicious here. Hope it helps!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 7:57PM
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"They are vicious here." And as big as Buicks.

How many ccs do you inject per stem, Treepruner? And do you inject into the "flesh" of the stem or the hollow middle? Sounds like an experiment in the making for me...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 2:24PM
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Unfortunately, I am not a Measurer, and I tried this technique last year for the 1st time. Here's what I did:

I mixed the bt as directed, so it was pretty dilute. I bought the largest needle my local grocer's pharmacy had, and I just squirted it into the base of the vine, until I thought it was "enough." (That doesn't help much, does it.) If I remember correctly, I injected it into the hollow part. I was being very careful not to break the stem which determined how deeply I injected.

It's probably a good idea to keep the vine (next to the ground) sprayed externally between rains. That should knock them off when they hatch from their eggs.

I had my first successful squash year last summer because of this. It had me stumped before that. Powdery mildew is the other devil I fight here. I'm spacing my squash waaay apart this year to see if even more air flow will help.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 6:50PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. My thought with the bags of sterilized soil (sorry, should have specified that ) is of course, no existing grubs; I'd hate to use floating row covers and then trap the grubs/moths inside with the poor squash and pumpkins! Another thought I had was to sew the floating row cover into a big bag; let the vine grow inside it until the vine borer risk is over. That way I wouldn't need to use the bags. I may try both. In any event, I will try the Bt; let's see if it makes a difference. Happy Gardening. Trin.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:25AM
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Trin, let me know if that works. I haven't had a problem yet, but I was a bit later getting the plants in the ground. I have my needle ready though..

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 8:21PM
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