Winter squash questions

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)May 17, 2011

I have grown a few winter squash (Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti) in the past, just enough for our families. This year I am increasing production to try to have winter squash for the fall and store them for winter sales.

I am planning on planting them after I dig my potatoes. I am still planning on doing this, but I got the idea to grow them at my parents farm too. This is about 35 minutes away.

They have some old outdoor pig lots, haven't been used for 10 years or more. Sure there are alot of weeds, but I can use their tractor and disc and make the tillage a breeze. There is water available if I dig up a leak and fix it (yea, that stinks but I have done it before.)

They don't have any fields that are close enough to water to think about using.

I am planning on planting wide rows, wide enough to drive a tractor between the rows. Put in drip irrigation and and probably transplant all the seedlings, maybe direct seed some too.

During the summer, I will be going to their house at least once a week or every two weeks. I was planning on putting a timer on the water and my mom and nephew wouldn't mind just looking them over every couple of days.

Does it sound like a plan that would work? I am planning on cash renting the area and paying for the water and use of the tractor. Haven't agreed on the price.

Any thoughts?

Jay

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randy41_1

i have a tiller i pull with the tractor and plant winter squash and pumpkins as you describe.it works very well. i can till between the rows just before the vines run out of the rows. so i guess my rows run about 6' apart to fit the tractor between. i direct seed. of course once the vines run you can't get the tractor in there.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 12:20PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Randy,

Do you plant in rows or in hills?

I am going to use rows. So it will work with the drip irrigation. Then transplant one seedling every 12 to 18 inches. The shorter vines will be at 12 and the larger vines at 18 to 24 inches.

I thought about using black plastic, but I think we will just use old straw as mulch around the plants and to conserve moisture.

Jay

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 3:08PM
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myfamilysfarm

I have actually had better luck with direct seeding versus transplants. I bought a jab planter this last year and plant on using it, either in the hills or without, haven't decided on that yet. I will be planting prior to Father's day for winter squash.

I, also, have not bothered with watering the plants, just when I planted the seeds in the past. This year, I will have the availability of water, but not sure if I'll water or not.

Marla

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 4:18PM
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randy41_1

i plant in rows. makes it easier to manage the weeds. when i direct seed its acorn and similar squashes @ 18" and butternut,etc @ 24". if the variety is a bush variety its 18".i don't use plastic.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 4:35PM
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boston3381(7)

Jr how much land are you going to plant???
and what size tractor do you have?

we plant abought 4 to 5 acres (3 fields) of squash,pumpkins,gords,and and some odd and end stuff..all planted in a 4 foot by 4 foot grid no drip irrigation..

4 fooot by 4 foot beacuse thats abought the size of the wheel base of the tractor..then we plow,wheel harrow to make nicey nice, then put cultivator on with ONLY one tooth in the middle and mark the field north to south then east to west like graph papper. where the marks intersect is where we plant the seed...

then as the plant grows we cross cultivate. as the plant gets biger we remove cultivatin tines as needed, untill you cant cultivate anymore...witch works for us..your never going to stop the weeds...

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 6:56PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

The old pig lots probably take up 5-8 acres. I am looking at maybe 1/2 acre or more. But the rows are going to be farther apart to allow for the use of the larger tractors.

As far as tractors, my family has several 65-110 hp John Deeres. I also would have access to all there tillage equipment, but most likely I will dig the old 3 point disc out of the trees and use it.

I really like your ideas on how to mark the field. I did that with a rake and pvc pipe. At the intersections I planted a lettuce plug.

Jay

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 11:57PM
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boston3381(7)

jay this is what we use


all pics are from the web.but its the same tractor and cultivator.

For marking: if you look at the pic of the cultivator, remove all the cultivators and leave one in the middle.. maybe leave one on each side center of the tires for stability depends on how your draft is set up.

Then for cultivatin: remove the center one and add all the others. as the plants get biger keep removing cultivators from the center out..we cultivate abought 4 to 5 times.

In my years of doing this the only real trick is dont plant stuff that grows quick or large with stuff that dosen't. in othere words dont put acorn with large growing pumpkins. the vines on the pumpkins grow a lot quicker.

We keep large pumpkins, Waltham Butternut Squash, and buttercup squash in one field.
then plants like gords, small pumpkins, acorn (bush type) in another field.
also whats your plant date?? we plant around june 8..

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 6:21AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Thanks for the pictures. I am planning on a planting date around June 4-5th.

As far as tractors, my family has a 6330, 4240 and 4640. I will probably use the 6330, it is the smallest. I rather doubt I will want to bring out he 4640, 150-160 hp to till between the rows!

I am planning on planting Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Delicata. Probably one/two 200 foot rows of each. Depending on space.

Jay

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 10:39AM
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boston3381(7)

WOW!!! no small tractors??? what dose your family farm grow?? OMG i wish i had tractors that big.. the bigist we have is abought 120HP that we use to plow and a 75 HP to disk harrow...

the IH 574 is used for planting, cultivatin, and choping head-lands..

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 8:45PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Just your usual soybeans, wheat, milo, hay, cattle and hogs.

Jay

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:59PM
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myfamilysfarm

Most farmers in my area don't have the smaller tractors except to run the grain elevators, if that. Smaller tractors and the equipment to use in food crops are very hard to find, here. Most have been either scrapped or sent away.

Marla

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:59AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I agree Marla, if they are smaller, they are either way to pricey or are restored museum pieces.

I will use the 6330, it is a new style Deere, my brother hooked up a two bottom plow to it to work their garden (20 by 25)

Jay

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 8:08AM
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myfamilysfarm

We were given a 2-bottom plow to use, and except for taking forever, it has worked great.

Marla

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:28PM
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boston3381(7)

LOL!!! sry i just find that funny a tractor that big pulling a 2 bottom polw, just dosent seem right to me...

i think i have a lawn mower that can pull a 2 bottom plow...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:46PM
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myfamilysfarm

Our tractors are 45-50 horsepower, but unless you have sandy soil, I'm not sure you could use the 2-bottom 14s with your lawn mower. LOL. It does sound funny. Our tractors can pull 3bottoms, but we were given the 2bottom to use for free.

Marla

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:54PM
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boston3381(7)

lol all good, we use the 3 or the 4 bottom plow with 18" Mow-Boards. we try to plow abought 10 to 12 inches deep for potatoes...
we have no sandy soil here just lots of slate and rock witch makes for a fun day of plowing. i am so glad we are not still doing 200 arces of potatoes. we down sized to just 20 arces of potatoes and got into growing other stuff
i think i spend more time picking rocks then plowing, at least thats what my back tells me..

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 9:17PM
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myfamilysfarm

My fields have had generations of the family picking up rocks. We still are finding some, luckily not near as many as when I was a child.

Marla

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:08PM
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tulsacityfarmer(6)

I plant my winter squash and pumkins in a feield I planted the fall before with annual rye grass. I mow it down and till just strips were i put my soaker hoses and I direct seed a long the the hose line.The pumkins and winter squash grow over to the rye which dies out in the heat and keeps the fruits off the dirt.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 12:35PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I agree with the black plastic. It doesn't cost that much and no weeds, plenty of water and nice warm soil!
For bulk try AM Leonards.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 5:34PM
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