Any tips for growing Delicata Squash?

southofsaMarch 6, 2013

Hello - I love eating them, but have never grown them. I have had good and bad years with other squashes mostly depending on the squash borers.

Any tips? I assume they can they can be trellised? Mara, I think I saw some in a picture you posted last year. Any advice is much appreciated.

I'm a little south of San Antonio, established raised beds, good sun/drainage.

Thanks - Lisa

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robyn_tx(8 Dallas)

I've never grown them, so no help here ... but have you posted on the Vegetable forum? Lots of knowledgeable folks over there.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Thanks Robyn - I did a search over there and there was some info that was helpful. I thought someone on this site grew them, but I must have been mistaken. Timing is usually where I get tripped up. I think I'll just treat them like small pumpkins and give it a go. I'll post if I have any luck or if the squash vine borers win :-)


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 7:56AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I attended a seminar on organic gardening at Shades of Green last Saturday and Bob Webster said sprinking powdered B.T. on the stems near the ground helps to control squash vine borers as soon as they hatch. You must re-apply it after rain or watering. Also he said if you see the squarsh vine borer moth flying around you can often catch it with you hands. They are black and orange and look like wasps, but are moths.

Good luck. I love Delicata squash too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Shades of Green seminar schedule ...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Good tip about BT. Funny I heard Bob Webster at the SAWS Spring Bloom on Saturday. He said he'd been talking all morning.

Someone also swore by companion planting with hot peppers to discourage them from laying eggs at the base. I'm not a huge hot pepper fan, but figured it wouldn't hurt to try interspersing some among the squash plants.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:05PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

BTW, I tried covering the lower stems with aluminum foil which is sometimes recommended, but the squash vine borers just laid the eggs higher. It's amazing how quickly they find the plants. I hadn't tried to grow squash for years and none of my close neighbors do either yet they were on them almost as soon as they came up. Who knows how they locate the squash plants. I've read that butterflies have taste buds in their feet that help them locate their host plants. Hope the hot pepper plants throw them off. It's sure worth a try. If you don't eat hot peppers maybe plant some ornamental pepper plants.

I've read winter squash are resistant to SVB, don't remember which varieties were mentioned or if all of them are.

Yes, Bob talked to us for a couple of hours :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:02PM
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The only one that I think is resistant to SVB is butternut squashes and some of the thin vined cucurbits.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:47PM
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I had some hot peppers in the same raised bed as zuccini and the borers did not seem to mind. That was 2 years ago, didn't even try last year. Do they ever go away?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:49PM
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Awww Cynthia - I really had my hopes up :-). And no I don't think SVB ever go away. Some years you just get lucky. That pretty much sums up most of my gardening.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:08AM
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I would suggest the to get a row cover. That is one of the things I will do, at least until the female blooms come. I bought a big roll of tulle netting. That should let enough light in and let them grow protected. You can always hand-pollinate and leave the cover on.

This year, I will probably uncover them, then plan on being vigilant,and remove eggs by hand.
If you plan on having just a few plants, you should be able to inspect your plants daily, and remove many of the eggs. They are small red disk-shaped eggs. They are laid pretty much anywhere, not only on the base. I found many of the leaf stalks. They take up to 7 days to hatch, so even if you miss some one day, then next day you might find them.

Also if you let your plant grow on the ground, I would also dig in your vines into the ground. The vines will grow additional roots at each leaf joint. That increases the roots available, and gives your plants a better chance to survive.
Whatever part of the vine is dug under, or mulched over heavily, that part will not get eggs laid on it. so it reduces the places you need to look for the eggs.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 3:33PM
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ccabal- Thanks so much for the information. I didn't realize the vines would grow additional root junctions. I'll leave them on the bed and dig them in a little.

I've practiced a lot at watching for eggs and hand picking. They're sneaky little things no matter how well I look though :-)


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 5:22PM
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