Debating if its worth it to put down sheet mulch for pumpkins?
We have not in the past, but have fought weeeds. What say ye?
If you do not, what is your plan for weeds?
I use plastic mulch for them and most other stuff.
Dripline without mulch is a weed explosion for me.
I never use mulch for pumpkins or any of the winter squash. I use the bcs walk behind tiller set on shallow to cultivate the weeds between plants every few weeks. Then just before they start vining, I do it one last time along with some careful hoeing around the plants. The plants vine so fast they shade out almost all the soil and few weeds manage to cause much of a problem.
My winter squash patch is 100' x 40' and I cover it entirely with plastic lumberwrap, the covering that comes on units of lumber. It's basically the same thing that comes on the rolls, just a little thicker. I do it more for the quality of the squash/pumpkins and the extra heat than the weeds. We are likely to get a lot of rain around harvest time and it keeps them clean and unstained. But I also get $15 or more for some of those heirloom squash, so it's worth a little fuss.
First time pumpkin grower. Planted them 4 foot apart and in 6 foot between rows. Am using drip tape to irrigate. I thought I read you couldn't use weed barrier as the plants sent out tendrils in to the soil. Now I am confused. Please help because if I can plant through weed barrier, that is what I will do next year to keep the weed problem down. Thanks for your input.
I cover my entire patch in plastic and cut a small X to plant through and they thrive. Lots of work up front and then none at all except to turn the drip on.
The squash patch in that photo is gorgeous. What does everyone do to control cucumber beetles and squash bugs?
I use black plastic and drip tape for winter squash and whatever else that i can, but weeds are a problem between rows. I like the idea of using the walk behind tiller between rows. We've thought about weed barrier fabric but don't want to use fabric staples to hold it down because we're afraid we'll loose one and it'll puncture a tractor tire. Not sure how else to keep the fabric down, sand bags don't seem like a good solution.
Cucumber beetles and squash bugs are a major problem for us. I have cucumbers covered with row covers and am planning to cover my winter squash, but might not get to it. The vine borers leave butternut squash alone and cucumber beetles don't seem as interested in it as other squash. I'm trying kabocha, blue hubbard and some other stuff this year and think i may end up tearing it all out when the bugs get to it.
Hubbard is used as a trap crop for cucumber beetles, SVB, etc. so you may want to rethink that - you can still plant it, but around the borders of the more vulnerable squash, and be prepared to do battle. You're just picking the battleground!
Here is a link that might be useful: Experiment with Hubbard as a trap crop
Sometimes I just weed eat or run the mower between the rows right as the plants start to creep off the beds. Some weeds break through the canopy of smaller type like butternut and kabocha, but not enough to hurt anything. With plastic or because of good hand weeding the more critical plant root zone is not heavy with weeds ever. This may not work for everyone. I am more careful with small watermelon varieties and cantaloupes because they are more susceptible to being shaded by weeds.
I don't think you have to worry about rooting unless you are trying to grow atlantic giant pumpkins for competition. Mine generally don't root much on branches, with or without mulch, unless I have helped them and watermelons and pumpkins have done well.
I actually planted blue hubbard squash as a trap crop for cucumber beetles, but I haven't been organized enough yet to cover everything else. And I didn't leave as much space for the blue hubbard as I planned to, so I'm not sure how effective it will be.
I can usually get some acorn squash to ripen before the plants die, and butternut does pretty well, but I've been frustrated with almost everything else. I had hoped that our cold winter would have killed off a lot of cucumber beetles, but they're already very active. I'm thinking about tilling under my row of peas, because that's where I see most of the cucumber beetles. Horrible, destructive little bugs.
I have terrible problems with cucumber beetles also. All the squash (and melons) get row cover from the time of planting until flowering (or if they outgrow the covers). It's a bit of investment in $ and time but it's worth it for me even though it's almost an acre of row cover.
If I continue to expand, i'll probably switch over to "Surround", which is an organic powder applied to the plants when young.
The benefit of the row cover is that the plants grow faster and I have some of the first squash/melons at market.
I don't have much of a cucumber beetle problem until later in the year. In fact I haven't seen one yet this season. The year before last they built up tremendously on the cucumbers so when I was done harvesting for the year I stuck the chickens out there. It's pretty easy to do with the portable electric netting. It was super entertaining to watch them go after the beetles. Every day or so I'd hop in there and go around shaking the trellises and the hens would ecstatically follow me. Then we moved them and I cleaned up. Not sure if makes a huge difference but it's kinda fun! Also starting in November the hens make the rounds through most of the growing areas, staying in one spot a week and then moving on.
i've used surround with less than stellar results. pyganic kills cucumber beetles. you need to spray it when pollinators aren't flying (early AM or just before dark PM).