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Protecting Squash from Critters

Posted by northerner_on Z5A ONCanada (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 24, 10 at 11:51

Hi: I am a first time grower of Squash (butternut & zucchini), gourds, and melons. The only critters we have around her are squirrels, which I keep out of the garden by feeding them at the back of our property. But it seems we have something else visiting. The first thing that disappeared were 2 halapeno peppers, but now it's a gourd, a young butternut, a couple of young cukes, and possibly all the zuc.'s from the two plants nearest to the back. Has anyone come up with any way of protecting squash from critters? I would hate this critter to take all my produce. We have had skunks, ground hogs, and racoons in the past, but not recently. To protect my cukes from the racoons I would enclose them in plastic bags with air-holes punched in them but this would be too tedious with all the fruits on these vines and the fact that they are growing on a wood pile. I may try bagging a few, but it's not really feasible to bag them all. Any suggestions? Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Protecting Squash from Critters

Update: Last night as I was watering my squash I thought I saw something moving: that something was a groundhog!! It had attempted to get my largest butternut and had already eaten the leaves and young fruit of one cucumber bush. I switched the hose to 'jet' and let him have it. It went leaping across the grass and out of the yard through a hole which has been left open in the east fence because of a tree. I don't think I can close it but are ground hogs smart? Will he realize that he is not welcome and stay away? There are lots of things for him to eat like fallen apples and other berries. UUGGHH!!

RE: Protecting Squash from Critters

I'm a bit surprised your little interloper munched a couple jalapenos and came back. Sounds like we have a critter with a diverse palate. Generally something like a chicken wire cage or possibly some strong netting would keep surface animals out but a groundhog could probably burrow under it if he wanted. Worth a shot though.

RE: Protecting Squash from Critters

I have been successful by using chicken wire around some of the plants. But I have bagged all of the squash which I want. I leave all the 'bitten' ones around as attraction. Now it has started on my tomatoes. This is WAR.

RE: Protecting Squash from Critters

To protect the squash from nibbling, simply secure a plastic mesh-net bag (like what onions are sold in) around the squash. But just make sure to leave room for the squash to grow. You want to put on the bag right after the flower closes up, because anytime after that, the critters are interested -- and even a small nibble can ruin the squash.

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