Compost volunteer

AmyinOwasso/zone 6bJuly 22, 2014

Do you think this is a watermelon? It came up in the compost bin. It looks like it will have round fruit, currently smooth. I have seen vine borers flying around it. It is bigger than this now, pic was taken a week ago.

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slowpoke_gardener

Looks more like a squash or pumpkin to me.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:31PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

Darn, I was hoping for melon. Didn't grow pumpkins last year, nor did I buy any. Could be butternut squash, fruit doesn't look like acorn. My luck the borers will get it. It is growing THROUGH the lid of the box. I can't get to the base of the plant.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 7:12PM
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OklaMoni

Add me to slow pokes answer

Moni

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:07AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Amy, I agree with everyone else. Melon leaves, depending on the kind of melon, would either have a pointy end to each unlobed leave (cantaloupes and muskmelons) or more rounded lobes (watermelons). Also, by the time a melon plant got as large as the one in your photo, it clearly would be running like a vine, not growing in such a bushy manner.

The SVBs likely will find the plant, but maybe you'll get to harvest some squash or pumpkins before that happens.

Dawn

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:32AM
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kfrinkle

I picked a ton of SVB eggs off of my winter squash plants today. They are still out in full force in SE OK....

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I still am not seeing any here yet. That doesn't mean, of course, that they aren't here. Maybe they just aren't out and about as early as I am every day. My favorite time to be out is right at sunrise, and if I harvest quickly enough, I can just about make it back into the house without seeing a single bee, wasp, butterfly, etc. They must sleep in a little later than I do.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:10PM
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oldgardenguy_zone6

The great Squash bug war rages on I put on a surge and I get a 2-3 day lull then more eggs I keep after the eggs and as soon as start seeing them I get the squirt bottle of soap and kill all the adults I can find this has helped as no plants are showing any sign of wilt even on the hot days so I'm not going to give up the battle , so far I haven't had to nuke um ( use the hose end sprayer and put 3 feet of suds in the pumpkin and squash patch.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:15PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

This is a pic of the fruit on this plant, sorry its not better. I can't see the screen on my tablet well in the sunlight. It is a little bigger than a softball at this point.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:31PM
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macmex

Pumpkin...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:32PM
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slowpoke_gardener

Amy, I agree with George.

Have you tried putting something of sharp contrast next to what you are trying to take a picture of? That is the way I have to do to take pictures in the sun because I cant see the screen on my camera.

Larry

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Nice pumpkin, Amy. Look how healthy and green that plant looks growing in your compost pile. I hope the pests stay away and you get to harvest ripe pumpkins.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:35PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

I can already see SVB damage, I think. I can't figure out where the seeds for this came from. It was last season's compost container. You know, I remember roasting seeds from one, so we must have bought one, probably for a jack o lantern. Daughter must have bought it. No doubt a c pepo. Maybe the strength of the plant will get it past the SVBs. I poured some BT mixture through the boards hoping it would get to the base of the plant. I have been out trying to spray soapy water on the moths, but if it slows rhem down I couldn't tell. I have seen the moths at mid day, Dawn. Seems the hotter the better for the bugs from hell.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 5:22PM
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kfrinkle

I am telling you, I have had to go out every day, twice a day to get rid of all the SVB eggs I am seeing on my winter squash plants right now, it is crazy. I really hope they give up and fly somewhere else soon. I think I crushed about 75 eggs this AM, and I wonder how many I missed.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:03PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

My husband just said you have bees on this plant. I said what color are they. Red. Sigh. I can see holes in this plant's stems. Don't know how much longer it has. Saw a squash bug on the cukes. Right next to the radish seed pods. Grrr. Do squash bugs bother beans? Looking for a place to put some bush beans. Pole beans have blooms. Hope they don't fall off this weekend. Going back out to chase SVBs. Maybe I will put some oil in the soapy water.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:55PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Maybe that is why I am missing them Amy. I am out as early as possible--preferably near sunrise---and try to be back inside to stay by 10 a.m. When I came inside this morning a little after 10, it already was 86 degrees here with a heat index of 94. That's about as hot as I want to get in July. If I had an air-conditioned garden, I might be out at mid-day watching for SVBs.

kfrinkle, Once they find you they are incredibly relentless. I mostly plant only C. moschata type winter squash. They have solid stems (most other winter squash have hollow stems) that generally discourage the SVBs from boring through them. Maybe that's why I am not seeing them---I don't have anything they like. Still, despite the best efforts of the squash bugs, my uncovered (they were covered by netting earlier in the season) summer squash plants are alive and well. I was able to grow any and all kinds of pumpkins and winter squash from the time we moved here in 1999 until about 2006 or 2007, or maybe even 2008, before the squash vine borers found us and ruined that for me. Every now and then we have a year when there are no SVBs at all, and the last one like that was in 2011.

Amy, You can try to save that plant by slicing the stem open vertically on one side to extract the SVB grub and remove it, and then push the damaged stem down closely to the ground and heap several inches of soil on top, patting it down closely, to serve as a band-aid. Or, take a long straight pin or needle (a corsage type needle is perfect for this) and stick it completely through the stem in the area where the SVB damage is apparent. Stick it through every inch or so for a few inches. With luck, you'll stab the little grub and kill it. Since you're likely to lose the plant if you do nothing, you may as well try to save it---if your efforts kill it, well, it was going to die anyway.

You also could try injecting Bt 'kurstaki' inside the stem or Spinosad if you are feeling adventurous. Some people have good results with both of those.

Dawn

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:05PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

My daughter reminded me she brought the insides of a pumpkin home for me to roast the seeds. There must have been just enough left in the strings to start this volunteer and several others that came up where I used compost. The problem is it grew through the slats in the top of the box. I can't get to the base of the plant without tearing up the wood, which would probably shred the plant in the process. I think I killed one adult SVB today, and I pulled one batch of eggs. Also found some squash bug eggs on it. Next year there WILL be row cover.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:58PM
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chickencoupe

Sorry it's been such a headache with the bugs! Yet, it's cool. I composted some old pinto beans ... a LOT of beans. I'm seeing some volunteers on the ground in front of it.

I love roasted pumpkin seeds!

bon

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:56AM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

About basketball sized now. :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:58PM
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chickencoupe

Wow!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I love the way that pumpkins and winter squash can get so big so fast. I hope the SVBs don't get that plant before your pumpkin can mature.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:16PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

It is getting darker instead of lighter. Some leaves are dying from SVB damage, but the main vine seems to be surviving.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 3:47PM
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luvncannin

wow wow wow.
now why I haven't I planted pumpkins before.
kim

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:34PM
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kfrinkle

I am still squishing SVB eggs. I think i got about 40 today. The daily total is down from about 75, but this is getting old. How long are these things going to fly around and try to kill my squash plants?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:03PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

I found squash bug eggs on the dying leaves caused by the SVBs. I am simply not phsically able to fight them. Next year I am thinking bush varieties under row cover.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:14PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

I think this plant is on the verge of collapsing. I don't think that pumpkin is any where near ripe. I cooked immature acorn squah last year and loved it. I guess the question is how to cook it. There are several tiny pumpkins on it too. Today I checked the trombocini, finding numerous leaves with frass right at the joint of the stem, and even in the leaf vein. I poked them and coated the area with elmers glue. I have no idea if that will help, LOL. I also coated some squash bug eggs to see what would happen.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:34PM
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chickencoupe

I stabbed the base of my gourd vine as suggested.. with a syringe. It seems to be doing okay. But the SVB is desperate to plug it up everywhere else. I need to check on my pumpkin, but every time I go out I start with the gourd vine and by the time I get... well, even before I finish checking all the leaves of the gourd vine for SB I'm too tired to carry on to the pumpkins. I need to get out there tomorrow and discourage the squash bugs on it. I had my son bury many of the vines. That should help.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:57PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Kfrinkle, Each SVB generation of moths tends to be active for about 4-6 weeks. Here in OK, we are on our second generation now. Every now and then we can have 3 generations, so I've seen SVB moths out in the garden even in September. In a summer that is relatively mild, temperature-wise, like this one has been, we are more likely to see that third generation so don't let your guard down.

Amy, If you decide to grow them underneath row cover next year, be sure to plant them where no squash or pumpkin plants were grown this year since they overwinter in the soil. You wouldn't want for them to hatch out underneath your cover and be trapped there with your plants as their captive audience, so to speak.

Bon, With squash bugs and SVBs it is war every day. That is why I stick mostly to moschatas. Fighting the pests every day, year in and year out, gets so old and I have less enthusiasm for doing it every year than I had the year before.

This week I found squash bug nymphs not on my squash plants but on the adjacent Armenian cucumbers. It is always something.

Dawn

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 8:54AM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

I think the SVBs have been after my cukes. The stems don't seem to be hollow. There were dying leaves with frass and some stems that looked swollen and punctured. I hate those monsters more than anything else!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:05AM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

The plant is very sad and squash bug nymphs came up when I watered. There was frass on the stem, the light spot in the picture. I poked it a little, but didn't want to damage it more than I had to. The question is, should I pull up the plant and bag it, or will all the nasties then run over to the Seminole?And what about the compost it's growing in. Any way to kill SVBs and SB in there? Sterilize it? Flippin bugs.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 3:50PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

The plant is very sad and squash bug nymphs came up when I watered. There was frass on the stem, the light spot in the picture. I poked it a little, but didn't want to damage it more than I had to. The question is, should I pull up the plant and bag it, or will all the nasties then run over to the Seminole?And what about the compost it's growing in. Any way to kill SVBs and SB in there? Sterilize it? Flippin bugs.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:42PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Amy, Have they bored into the stem where it is white and damaged? I normally won't pull a pumpkin plant if it has secondary rooting and has a chance to keep growing and being productive.

If you have a steaming hot compost pile, you can go ahead and compost the plant if you want and the internal temperatures in the pile should get hot enough to kill any pests that get into the pile via the plant. This fall or in early winter, incorporate the compost into the soil and then rototill it deeply several times over the course of the winter. That will bring any overwintering pests in the soil/compost to the surface and increase their chance of being exposed to cold temperatures and dying. Or, if you wanted, you could bring the compost into the house and sterilize it in the oven, which ought to kill any residual pests. I'd consider that as a drastic last resort, though, because it will kill all the billions of microorganisms in the compost that make it so wonderful and full of life.

Pests may move to the Seminole pumpkins, but I've never had SVBs kill a Seminole plant and the Seminoles are so vigorous that they outgrow any damage done to them by squash bugs.

The only way to grow almost all summer squash and most winter squash organically (except those that are C. moschata) without having a huge pest problem is to grow them under floating row covers or netting or screening material that excludes the pests from reaching the plants. Otherwise, you will find yourself battling them constantly probably 8 years out of 10. Every now and then we get a year when they are not as big of a problem as usual, but not very often. Some people have success spraying their plants with Surround WP. Here in the southern plains, we always have tons of squash bugs and squash vine borers---they are about as common in the summertime as house flies.

Some years you can defeat them and get a great harvest and other years they win.

Dawn

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 6:31PM
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AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

It has a stem that has rooted in the grass. I don't know how long DH's OCD will will allow him not to mow it. :) I thought there were some little pumpkins, but I couldn't find them today. The rest of the plant is failing fast. I don't have a rototiller. I was thinking about spreading the compost out on a tarp and letting the birds sort through it. I might put it in a bag or two that would allow it to get cold over the winter.

My seminole has escaped the fence and gone 10 feet toward the creek. It is reaching out in other directions, too.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:40PM
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