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Old 01-11-2019, 10:05 PM
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A week ago today we got ice, then snow here in central Oklahoma. Not common, but not unusual either. Snow is sometimes called the "poor man's fertilizer" and I have read that it does add nitrogen to the soil. So I'll take it. Here is a pic of my vegetable garden beds on that day.




After a couple of days, the snow had already melted for the most part. But as can be seen here, my southern-most garden bed is in perpetual shadow this time of year due to the fence. So it is still covered in snow, while the others are bare.



Soon, perhaps this coming weekend, I will begin turning the soil and mixing in compost in preparation for the coming spring planting season.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:17 PM
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Yeah, here snow is considered like a blanket for the ground, better than just being frozen with no snow. I've been going through all the seed catalogs and trying to figure out how early can start seeds indoors.

We always try to push the boundaries of how early we can plant eh?
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:25 PM
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We always try to push the boundaries of how early we can plant eh?
Indeed we do... although I have found that, living where I do, starting plants indoors is very difficult. The winds especially are around here brutal, especially in the spring. Seedlings started indoors simply cannot withstand the beating they take once they are transferred outdoors. It's usually better to just wait until it is warm enough outdoors to sow directly.

A cold frame would probably solve much of this problem but until now I simply have not had time to try that solution.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:35 PM
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Yeah, I'd love to have a cold frame.

I only have mostly containers and a VERY small amount of land to plant in. When the plants get about 2" tall, weather permitting, I bring the trays of seedlings outside for a couple of hours and then back in before nightfall. Then a little longer each day till all danger of frost has past, plant in the ground. Any larger garden than what I have, it would be too much of a pain in the butt lol

I'm excited about this season because I'm using GroPots for containers. I had one last year I grew a cabbage in and it did excellent. I believe they work better than hard sided containers. Something about the "roots breathing" that makes them so good.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:41 PM
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When the plants get about 2" tall, weather permitting, I bring the trays of seedlings outside for a couple of hours and then back in before nightfall. Then a little longer each day till all danger of frost has past, plant in the ground.
I've tried that too, although in the past my work schedule made it difficult to manage. But now that I am retired from the military, I would probably have better success.

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I'm excited about this season because I'm using GroPots for containers. I had one last year I grew a cabbage in and it did excellent. I believe they work better than hard sided containers. Something about the "roots breathing" that makes them so good.
I am not familiar with this product, but I will look into it. Thanks for the heads-up!
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:56 AM
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Since you already have raised beds, have you considered a low-tunnel?

Just pound rebar into the ground along the sides, about every 4 foot. Then bend 10 foot pieces of PVC from one side to the other. Forming what looks like a mini-greenhouse. Cover with cheap plastic. In this case, plastic from the hardware store will suffice, because you arent using it year round. Use just about anything heavy to hold the plastic down.

By doing that, you have moved your garden 1 zone South.

Just something to ponder.
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:36 AM
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Since you already have raised beds, have you considered a low-tunnel?
They're not true raised beds, in the usual sense. I put steel landscape edging around my garden beds to help keep out the bermuda grass. However, the edging also helps keep the prepared soil in.

I have considered doing something like what you suggest, maybe I will give it a try this spring.

I'd also like to do the same thing but for use with a floating row cover. Every time I try to raise any kind of squash-type plant, the squash vine borers destroy it.
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:37 AM
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I'd also like to do the same thing but for use with a floating row cover. Every time I try to raise any kind of squash-type plant, the squash vine borers destroy it.
Vine borers, the bane of squash growers! I've tried the row cover for summer squash and it works well until those rambunctious plants get big and start pushing on the row cover tops and sides. They want out! LOL! Once that cover is removed, word spreads like wildfire in the borer community.

I've read about using food grade diatomaceous earth around the stems for borers. It's been bought already and will probably be my last effort to battle borers. Or maybe try a dwarf summer squash variety that will stay contentedly stay within row cover?

Strangely, for the past two years the borers have not bothered the 'Small Wonder' spaghetti squash we've grown. I wonder why.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:22 PM
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I've read about using food grade diatomaceous earth around the stems for borers. It's been bought already and will probably be my last effort to battle borers. Or maybe try a dwarf summer squash variety that will stay contentedly stay within row cover?
My experience has been that the borers won't limit themselves to just the stem base. They will dig in at any joint in the vine, and also at the base of any leaf along the vine. So I think a floating row cover is really going to be the only way to ensure a reasonable chance of success in my situation.

Last summer I planted a few pie pumpkin vines among my ornamental corn, just to see if maybe the corn would hide the pumpkins from the vine borers. It did not...
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:13 PM
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Strangely, for the past two years the borers have not bothered the 'Small Wonder' spaghetti squash we've grown. I wonder why.
I wondered the same thing about my Volunteer Butternut. Considering it was growing by some other stuff that was covered with the little buggers...

After some research, it seems they arent really interested in Winter Squash. Sometimes the simplest explanation....
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:38 PM
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After some research, it seems they arent really interested in Winter Squash. Sometimes the simplest explanation....
Interesting... I've heard of using "bait crops" to distract pests from the plants you really want to grow. But I wasn't aware that there was any kind of squash, summer or winter, that the borers wouldn't go for.

Maybe I'll try some Butternut squash this year, just to see what happens with it in that regard.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:26 AM
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Interesting... I've heard of using "bait crops" to distract pests from the plants you really want to grow. But I wasn't aware that there was any kind of squash, summer or winter, that the borers wouldn't go for.

Maybe I'll try some Butternut squash this year, just to see what happens with it in that regard.
Without going back and looking, I know I said how many I harvested from one vine. I want to say about 9 to 12? Out of those, I think 1 showed any damage. But it was clearly a dud. Mishapen, etc.

I think the Winter's just toughen up so fast, the borers cant do their work. Its easier for them to attack other stuff of interest.

So yes, bait crops do and can work. Also your timing. If you can get stuff started a little earlier, your ahead of the bugs. And with protection, you can harvest later into the fall. You might look at what your extension agent says as far as the worst time for borers. It will very area by area. In might be in your interest to simply skip a couple months of squash growing. Where im at it seems like July, August, is by far the most horrible time of the year.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:36 AM
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Where im at it seems like July, August, is by far the most horrible time of the year.
It's pretty much the same here in Oklahoma, at least from my experience. I've considered actually delaying any kind of pumpkin / winter squash planting until later in the season. Then I could more easily protect the plants during the worst months for borers because they would still be relatively small. My only concern would be timing it so that they can still mature in time before first frost.

Sounds like yet another garden experiment to try during the coming season.
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:03 AM
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It's pretty much the same here in Oklahoma, at least from my experience. I've considered actually delaying any kind of pumpkin / winter squash planting until later in the season. Then I could more easily protect the plants during the worst months for borers because they would still be relatively small. My only concern would be timing it so that they can still mature in time before first frost.

Sounds like yet another garden experiment to try during the coming season.
With the Winters, you really need to get them in the ground immediately after your soil warms up. Most of them have dates in the 90-120 days of maturity. So obviously time is of the essence.

I should have been more clear up above. I was referencing Summer Squash growing during that time. Although I will probably try again this year. With appropriate protection. And Summer Squash does grow crazy fast, so just keep planting it.
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:11 PM
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I should have been more clear up above. I was referencing Summer Squash growing during that time. Although I will probably try again this year. With appropriate protection. And Summer Squash does grow crazy fast, so just keep planting it.
I haven't planted yellow squash for some time now so I will probably give it another shot this year. I also want to try something with the floating row cover, just to see how that goes. I've never worked with it before.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:26 PM
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I haven't planted yellow squash for some time now so I will probably give it another shot this year. I also want to try something with the floating row cover, just to see how that goes. I've never worked with it before.
Thats two of us then. I have never used floating row cover, but gotta try something. This year im expanding and wouldnt mind having 2-3 dozen plants in production at a time.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:30 AM
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Something I ran across last night. Then I saw you started a thread asking about best keeping Winter Squash. This would allow you to kill 2 birds, 1 stone.

Trap Crops. Growing very early Blue Hubbard as a trap. Or, Buttercup, evidently.

https://ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2017/3/Trap_cropping/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22182562
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:42 AM
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Something I ran across last night. Then I saw you started a thread asking about best keeping Winter Squash. This would allow you to kill 2 birds, 1 stone.

Trap Crops. Growing very early Blue Hubbard as a trap. Or, Buttercup, evidently.

https://ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2017/3/Trap_cropping/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22182562
Funny, we've been doing that for years w/o knowing there was a studied science to it.........

Grams and Gramps knew their ****!
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:49 AM
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Trap Crops. Growing very early Blue Hubbard as a trap. Or, Buttercup, evidently.

https://ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2017/3/Trap_cropping/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22182562
Thanks for this, I have saved both articles.

Looks like the Buttercup was mainly tested for cucumber beetles, which I do sometimes get around here. But not like the squash vine borers and squash bugs.
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:12 PM
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Supposedly those solid vine squashes deter the SVB... But... At my house... They lay eggs on flower buds... Wormy squash make the chickens happy... But don't store well...

Re: cucumber beetles... Just grow amaranth.
At my house, those cucumber beetles prefer pigweed, and leave the other stuff alone.
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