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Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Posted by p-mac 7a (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 19, 11 at 22:39

Just went out tonite for the evening inspection and walk-about....and to my HORROR....my yellow summer squash and zuchs have Squash Bugs!!! Since I've scaled WAY back, I only have 2 hills of each. Of course, one of each is way more affected than the other, but that doesn't fool me into thinking they BOTH aren't infested. The plants are only about a foot high and don't even have any blooms yet because I planted late.

I paniced...and thru my white-light furry....stomped to the garage and grabbed the Sevin. I dusted the top-side and underside of every single leaf...and then I did a light dusting of the Nat'l Pickling Cukes that I'm guarding with every reserve of energy I have. These bugs weren't full-fledged adults yet. They were only about as big as a pencil lead, but mercy! They were already doing a LOT of damage!!! I only found a few eggs on the underside of a few leaves, but I'm sure there's more I couldn't see yet.

Now, I'm so remorseful. I've tried so stinkin' hard to garden organicly this year and I've had so much success so far that I guess I just snapped when these critters showed up. Ugh.....now I wish I could go out with a flashlight - wash the leaves and give the plant some other method to survive. My saving grace may be that DH was hooking up a new sprinkler. He asked what I was going to do when the water washed off the Sevin. My flippant reply was "hit them again in the morning!"....is this the only sure fire way to battle them? I've done a search of this forum as well as a google search. It all tells me that Sevin is the fastest most effective way to get & keep them under control.

Maybe I should just pull the whole plant? Re-seed somewhere else and buy at a local farmer's market in the meantime? Ugh....I feel SOOOO defeated!!!!

Surely I'm not the ONLY one to encounter these Devils yet...

Paula


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Paula, I sinned also. I fought Squash bugs all last year, I decided I was not going down that road again.

I have another area I am getting ready for Butternut. I have never grown them before. They will go into this new area in hills that I will amend.

Sometimes it seems that you take one step forward and two steps back.

Larry


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Butternut is a good choice. I was reading an article by Steve Bender this week and it listed these four as resistant to squash bugs: Butternut, Early Summer Crookneck, Improved Green Hubbard, and Royal Acorn.

I went through my seeds and only had butternut. I had several hubbards and several acorns, but not the ones he recommended. I knew that butternut would be on that list, and expected to see Zuchetta, but it wasn't there. I would be interested to learn of your experience with any of those.

Guess I will just take my chances because there are several others I would like to plant, with spaghetti squash being our favorite.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

You can still be organic and kill bugs! Just use products that are listed organic. Johnny's seed co. sells several.


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well at least we can agree

ALL SQUASH BUGS MUST DIE !!!!!


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Paula, I don't blame you. I might have reacted the same. I haven't used Sevin in the garden since moving here, but I have some Ecobran for grasshopper control, and I'll put it out in the garden if the wind ever stops blowing so hard. The Ecobran is a bran bait with 2% Sevin. It will affect only those insects that are attracted to the bran, which should be grasshoppers and likely crickets and a few other pests as well. Time will tell if it is effective. I won't spray Sevin, though, because of its effect on beneficial insects. I count on the beneficials to take care of most of my pest problems, so I can't afford to kill them off and just won't do it.

You might try spraying Spinosad. It is about the best organic pesticide I've ever seen, although I haven't used it as a spray, only as a granular product. I don't use pyrethrins because of their toxicity to cats and I don't use Rotenone because of its link to some diseases in humans. I don't use neem either because it is an oil and can smother beneficials. See, once you start trying to choose what is "least harmful", even the organic pesticides don't seem so attractive, at least not to me.

The squash bugs haven't hit our plants yet, but I've been expecting them any time now. Last year they hit us here about the third week in June. Also, I've seen the dreaded clear wing moth that lays the squash vine borer eggs, but haven't found any evidence of SVBs yet.

Other than attempting to grow zuke and yellow squash every year, I've stopped planting anything the SVBs would kill. I still plant moschata squash, usually Seminole, and they usually don't bother it. I used to grow many kinds of pumpkins and winter squash but just got tired of the endless battle with the SVBs and squash bugs.

I prefer keeping the squash plants covered with floating row covers, and likely will use that for my fall plantings. We've had so much high wind gusting into the 30s and 40s lately that keeping them covered is going to be difficult, which is one reason my current plants aren't covered. I'm thinking of building a wood frame---picture a cage---and covering it with floating row cover that is stapled or glued or something to attach it to the wooden frame, and then setting it over the next planting of squash. I might try that with a plant or two and try floating row cover over hoops with some other plantings and see what works best or if either one works. The drawback to row covers is you have to uncover the plants to pollinate the flowers, but it is probably preferable to losing everything to SVBs and squash bugs.

Do what you've got to do to get a crop and do what your conscience can live with. Now, see, I think my conscience can live with me using EcoBran, but I don't think it would like for me to spray Sevin after working for 13 years to build a good population of beneficial insects. And, my conscience may change its mind after squash bugs kill my current squash plants (which just seems inevitable, doesn't it?).

Some folks can wait and plant very late and get a crop, and it may work if you don't have anyone within a mile or two of you growing an earlier crop to give the squash bugs and SVBs a food source earlier in the season, and if you don't have the native squash plants they like. We have the native squash plants here (I destroy them on our property, but they are abundant along the nearby river bottom land) so we're always going to have SVBs and squash bugs close enough to us that they can migrate here.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: ATTRA: Squash Bugs and Squash Vine Borers


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Paula, out of all of our years in OK, I was only able to grow a decent amount of summer squash once. The squash bugs got 'em all the other years. I'd get maybe one or two squash and then blammy. They'd all die. I don't blame you a bit for losing your temper with them! I think the only reason I never did the same was because I never had any on hand.

I'm hoping for at least a year's grace period here in the new place. Since the previous people didn't garden, maybe the squash bug network doesn't yet have it on their radar. LOL I'm growing tromboncino just in case, though.

Carol, interesting to know about the early summer crookneck. It's one of my favorites but it's always succumbed to the critters as well. However, it's the only one that I ever get those one or two from before they croak.

Diane


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Yeah, I have lost 75% of my hubbards to SVBs already. I have been able to keep the squash bugs to a minimum by checking leaves on an almost daily basis. I cannot count the number of squash bug eggs that I have removed/destroyed.

I am hoping that the SVBs have made their pass through my garden for the next couple of months. I have been burying lengths of vine for my hubbards hoping they will root at those spots. My summer squash are handling the SVBs a little better, but I have lost a few to the SVBs.

I now have to tackle the trillions of aphids on my cucumber plants. This has been an exhausting season of gardening, with little reward.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I think when you read that butternuts are resistant, that they are talking SVB resistance, not resistance to squash bugs. It always frustrates me the way these two are discussed as if they are interchangeable, when they are so completely different.
Last year my squash were devastated by squash bugs so I was really looking for them this year. On one day, about three weeks ago, I found a small adult and a bunch of tiny babies, no eggs. I smashed the adult. Got out thee Diamectacous earth and made a mess dusting the plants and the ground around them. Made sure to dust the undersides of the leaves, so that if any babies happened to hatch they would be born on the stuff. Well, it seems to be working, since I haven't seen another bug. I have about ten huge plants and maybe fifteen cucumbers. I've been checking them very closely every day for bugs and eggs. Not a sign!
If something as benign to the beneficials as DE can work and I don't even have to resort to row covers and hand pollination I will be estatic. I don't seem to have the borers in AZ yet so I'm only dealing with those nasty bugs.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

It was my understanding that Sevin doesn't kill the squash bug. So I was searching for info on other ways to kill them. I found several places that said spraying soapy water would kill them. Of course I didn't believe it so just to see, I got my sprayer and mixed up some good soapy water using Dawn dish washing liquid. For a comparison I sprayed 1/2 of my plants with Dawn water and the other 1/2 with Bronco equine fly spray I have on hand which has pyrethrin and permethrin in it as well as citronella. To my surprise I can't tell by looking which plants were sprayed with what. Dead Squash bugs everywhere. Even still clinging to leaves and stalks. Just touch them and they fall off. Dawn is much cheaper!


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

YEA! Good to know, highline! I may have to give that a try!

I have also found an older thread on the Vegetable Forum for some input. I've linked it below.

Also, I'm slowly converting my work-partner into a gardener and she mentioned today she had tons of gourds growing. Every year she mows them down and they come back plentiful. She got curious and did some kind of google search and came up with some interesting info. She read to me a site that says gourd leaves, soaked in water and wrapped around the stem of squash protects from borers. She also read that ground-up gourds, sprinkled around the plant ward of squash bugs. Something about them being toxic to the bugs but not inhibiting the pollinators. This method was supposedly used by the Indians. I've done a search and can't find the site, but I'll ask her tomorrow. Anyone ever heard of this?

Paula

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous thread on squash bugs & borers


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Two yeas ago I tried dish soap mixed with pet flea shampoo, both a very light mixture. It seemed to help. I had to spray often and stopped because of concern about safety. I had not read anything about people trying it and I did not want to be a Guinna pig.

Larry


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Tracy - I had always heard that butternut was resistant to SVB also, but here is the quote from the southerliving.com site.

Plant Resistant Varieties

Some squash types are resistant to squash bugs, including 'Butternut,' 'Early Summer Crookneck,' 'Improved Green Hubbard,' and 'Royal Acorn.' If you plant non-resistant types, check the leaf undersides frequently for eggs clusters and destroy the infested leaves.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

After I read your post I went out to take a good luck at my squash plants. Found two mating pairs, several egg clusters and a bunch of nymphs. I spent several minutes handpicking and squishing and then DH found the diatomaceous earth and sprinkled. Tomorrow or whenever I see more I may try the DAWN dish deterg. Thanks for that.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

So far I haven't had many pest except for pill bugs and slugs which I have just ignored and let them eat since I knew most of what they were eating was going to go to seed anyway. I did protect the eggplant with some diatomaceous earth and that seem to take care of the pill bug problem.

I didn't find one worm on any of my broccoli and haven't seen any hornworms.

I bought a dusting gun from Lee Valley that you can use with DE, it says wet the foliage and cover with a light dusting. I had planned to try it on the Japanese Beetles and see if it made any difference. I started seeing JB's on the grape vines this week but I haven't treated anything yet. I will also put it on other things if I begin to have a problem. I normally don't use anything but I have given up on summer squash except for Zuchetta. I am thinking of making a couple of grow cages for next year so I can grow a couple of squash in one and eggplant in the other. Soon we will be growing everything under protective covers if the insects get any worse.....and then there's the hail.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Soonergrandmom, I'm glad the DE worked on pill bugs for you. I lost a bunch of bean seedlings this spring. I'll have to try that when I replant greens and beans in that bed this fall.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I found two adults and a bunch of babies on one plant today. I sprayed the babies with a high concentration of Neem oil and cut the two adults in half. Evil squash bugs. Evil.

Kelly


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I learned something else on this thread. The young ones are nymphs? Well, that's what I had last nite. They were dark with black legs, but not a full grown adult. Some were kinda of a light "glow" green and smaller so I imagine they were even younger. Obviously, these critters have no morals because there were enough eggs on the underside of the leaves to infest a 10 acre crop!

I removed all the leaves that had eggs, plus pulled several of the plants that were past hope. Also, not a single sign of anything moving around the plants. I found a few remains of bugs. They still look like a baker tossed out 10 lbs of flour.

Thanks for the tips, friends!

Paula


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

My choice is 'Pyganic" it wiil wipe them out!!!I get my from; http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-679-insecticides.aspx


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I know as soon as I send this It won't be true.
A week ago I had a adult male on one plant.
Grabed him and lost him but havn't seem him since.
NO eggs no bugs yet.

Kelly
sorrry about
saturday old man got called out and I have no phone
and can't drive since my accident and the computer was down for 2 days I've been in Okarche prison.
I'm still happy to give anyone gourds.

Paula sorry about the bugs.
When u love squash and look forward to it and the bugs come
it's sad.

Larry
hope it holds true for the butternut it's my first year as well.

tree


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I grow c. Moschatas almost exclusively. That is the butternut family. They resist squash vine borers but nothing I know of resists squash bugs. I guess gourds do. But my experience with them is limited. I've resorted to planting (re-planting) my squash in coffee can collars, hoping this keeps the squash bugs off them until they start to crawl. So far this year, they've killed most of my squash plants. Sevin is tempting....

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I have noticed some of you use DE, what grade do you use?
I bought a 50 lb bag of it a few years ago and cant say it does a lot of good. The bag says "Food Grade", maybe I am using it wrong, maybe you are to pick a bowl of the bugs, dust them and eat them. If that is the case I think I can fill my freezer within a couple of weeks.

Larry


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Larry,

The food kind is the one to use. The swimming pool type sold at big box stores is processed dangerously and using it is hazardous to your health if you inhale the particles.

DE hasn't worked as well for me as I'd like so I don't use it much any more. It works better in areas where I have the sandier soil, and doesn't work as well where I have clay. I have no idea why the difference in performance.

Dawn


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Same as Dawn for me, Larry. I used it and it worked... okay. But the beneficial bugs worked just as good so I just quit using it in the garden. I do still use it in the chicken house, though.

Diane


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I had DE left from when we had quail and we used it under their cages.

I always have trouble with eggplant and some years don't even plant it. I didn't remember to plant it this year, but Chandra gave me one plant. I put it in a cheap tomato cage and covered it with a cover made from sheer curtain fabric. Although it probably got a little less light, it still got rain and protection from the flea beetles. I was shocked to see that it had leaf damage so I watched it for a day or to. One morning I uncovered it to find dozens of pill bugs so I scattered a little DE and covered it back up. The damage stopped and within a few days, it was stronger looking so I uncovered it and it is now blooming.

Until a few days ago my hollyhocks were fine, but now there are no leaves, just the veins left where the leaves once were. I haven't been watching them so I don't know if they were eaten by flea beetles or Japanese beetles. We put some DE on the grapes this morning to see if that would make them less attractive to the JBs. Some of the leaves had 20 beetles on them.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

My friend saw a few squash bugs in our garden a week or so ago and used the dish soap/water mixture. She hasn't seen anymore. Should she keep applying it though? She was in tears at the thought of those bugs eating our garden!


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

OMG!!! Spraying with the dawn really seemed to work. I have been searching and searching for a solution to this problem. I already lost one crook neck and one zuchinni to the buggers. I been have doing squash bug patrol every morning and every evening to no avail. I get about 6-8 adults every day and about one or two egg masses. I went out today armed with the dawn and sprayed my heart out. They came out of hiding and I was able to easily grab them up. One just keeled over as I was about to grab it was dead. Thank you, thank you highline for posting the dawn solution. I will be using it everyday.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Okay, you all have me convinced to try the Dawn. What kind of water:Dawn ratio are you using?

Just you watch -- I'll have no squash bugs to experiment on now.

Diane


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I guess I am paranoid, but now I'm wondering about using it on dishes. LOL


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Would y'all please stop spraying me all over your plants. I'm getting spread really thin here. : )

Just be careful when using any insecticidal soaps on plant foliage in high temps and intense sunlight. It can burn plant foliage and, in fact, soap sprays also are used as herbicides....so be really careful with them!

The way the soap works is that it coats the bugs and I think it starts dissolving their exoskeletons. It works by contact, so only kills those with which it makes contact before it dries.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: How Insecticidal Soaps Work


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I guess I went a little heavy with it because I did burn some of the leaves on two of my plants. They were already understress from the squash bugs. I will go lighter next time. I still have time in the garden season so I might just plant two more on the other side of the house.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I do not use soap sprays period in hot weather. In our intense heat and sunlight they can very easily burn foliage. Often the burn doesn't show up for a few days so folks don't realize what they've done to their plants and think instead that some weird disease has hit. Of course, not everyone in OK is as hot as we have been here (and many places in western OK are hotter). At our house we're at or over 100 every day lately and those temps are bad enough without making life harder on the plants by spraying them with soap. If you spray too much soap on your plants, you're spraying them with "herbicidal" soap and not "insecticidal" soap.

If I were going to use soap, I'd avoid homemade concoctions and purchase a commercial soap spray. They are precisely formulated to lower the risk of having too much soap and burning the foliage. However, even commercial soap sprays can burn plants if used too heavily or in weather that is too hot or if too much of the solution is sprayed on the plant.

Also, be sure to use soap and not detergent. Detergent burns a lot more easily.

Dawn


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

So, Dawn, are you a detergent or a soap? I have some Dr. Bronner's which I know is a soap.

By the way, I'd planned on only spraying the actual bugs, not the plant. Of course, there will be some overspray, but I can't imagine giant parts of the plant getting sprayed?

A random memory came to me today: In our OK house, we had continual problems with wasps getting in the house and we used soapy water to "shoot" them. I'd forgotten all about that until this morning.

Diane


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Great thread!


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

And thanks for reviving it because I'm faced with these little buggers once again! Really enjoyed re-visiting this subject and time! Since all this, I've bought a cheap little sprayer at the $ store and it's perfect for this application. My best recollection is the ratio is 1/4 cup Dawn DW soap to a gallon of water, maybe only a half the water though.

And from experience, it must be the tried and true Dawn brand. (Ain't NOBODY like Dawn, right? OR Diane aka Owiebrain) I used the Dawn pink formula this spring to make the gardeners hand scrub recipe that Moni posted and I love it! Given several jars as gifts.

Lesson learned...use Dawn. The soap or her. She's pretty good natured about it (her knowledge) and the brand name soap is the "bomb".

Going out now to spray cuz the little buggers showed me some new eggs last nite.......


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I know that Dawn dish detergent is very popular for making soap sprays but it is a detergent, and detergents are more damaging than soap. Soap and detergent are not the same thing, y'all, so please use a kinder, gentler soap. I would feel horrible if y'all use detergent and burn your plant foliage. The hotter the temperatures get, the more likely detergent (and even soap) will burn foliage. So, if y'all insist upon spraying my namesake detergent on your plants, please be careful and spray in the very late afternoon or early evening, and never in the morning, and never, ever, ever during the middle of the day. Temperatures are heating up this week and folks who got away with spraying detergent in lower temperatures might have problems if they spray that same stuff on plants at significantly higher temperatures. We hit 100 degrees at our house today and I decided I am sick of summer and looking forward to autumn.

If I was making a homemade soap spray, I'd use Dr. Bronner's, and I'd use the lavender one because that one has such a lovely aroma. You can spray your plants with it and inhale the lavender aroma and pretend you're growing a garden full of lavender.

Moni's gardener's hand scrub is the bomb! I love it, love it, love it.

Dawn


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

There is a post above that suggests gourds could repel SBs and SVBs. It is a few years old. Did anyone try it? Any guess what kind of gourds. I have searched the internet far and wide looking for ways to deal with these pests and never found any other reference like this.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I'm curious to know about the gourds, too, Amy. I actually have a couple of old gourds we were gifted. I wonder if I bang them up and spread them around .... I'd hafta have approval. Bill loves gourds.

I'm in a battle over my Old Timey Pumpkins which are growing like crazy.

I keep shoveling dirt on the base of the stems.. really buried 1/4 of the plant yesterday to help against SVB. The squash bugs seem relentless. I'm considering dropping some yellow squash seeds to help keep them off the pumpkins.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Bon - a deterring plant would be helpful. I've got zukes growing in a new place this year...but I planted catnip all around them. So far.....(knock on wood!!!) they have no bugs while the yellow straightneck are continually under attack. I've got dill in the bed with the straightneck as a deterent and it's obviously NOT working.

Don't know about the gourds but if anyone needs any seeds, there was a TON of packets leftover from the Spring Fling. I'd be happy to mail them to anyone interested.

Paula


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

Catnip.. I will give that a try! This is certainly challenging.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

I have radishes going to seed, petunias, buckwheat, marigold, calendula, chamomile and possibly catnip (though it didn't germinate well and I am just beginning to see plants I think are catnip. I planted the squash around the edges of a 4 foot bed, which is now working on climbing a trellis. The companions are kind of scatter sewn in the Middle. I keep looking for squash bugs, and knock wood, none have appeared. This chaotic method drives my OCD husband crazy, and there is quite a jungle. I was visited by borers a few weeks ago, but I am growing Trombocino and Scarchuks Supreme and so far damage has not slowed them down. There is a seminole pumpkin across the yard with only a radish in with it, so far it is clean, too.


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RE: Squash bugs - forgive me Nature, for I have sinned

SVBs do attack gourds, although it seems like gourds are not necessarily their favorite thing. Sometimes they kill mine and sometimes they don't. They seem to bother decorative warted gourds more than they bother birdhouse gourds.

The nice thing about catnip is you only have to plant it once. After that, it will reseed itself everywhere. I always let mine bloom its head off because the flowers attract beneficial insects. Catmint is another great companion plant for squash and other plants. I have "Walker's Low" catmint growing near my squash.

Amy, Gently rub a leaf of your catnip-looking plant between your fingers and see if you pick up a catnip aroma. Their scent is present from a pretty early age.

I think I have lost one Seminole plant one year, and I never checked it to see if it was SVBs that got it or if it was bacterial wilt or something similar. The other Seminole plants just filled in the area where the deceased plant had been growing and within a couple of weeks, it was so well filled-in that no one but I knew that a plant had died there in that row. In a good year, Seminole runs 30-40' across my garden and I let it do as it pleases because it grows in conditions, and under pest pressure, that nothing else can and will tolerate, except for other C. moschata winter squash. This year I planted both the regular fruited Seminole and the ones with the larger fruit. In the past, I've only grown the regular one. C. moschatas are as close to being SVB-proof as anything else I've ever grown.

Squash bugs and squash vine borers are a big problem roughly 8 years out of 10 for everything except the C. moschata types. Over the years, I basically dropped all the C. pepo and C. maxima types of pumpkins, replacing them with C. moschata types. I just got tired of fighting the SVBs every year, so figured I'd work smarter instead of working harder, and replaced them with C. moschatas that deter the SVBs for me.

Dawn


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