Friday, May 21, 2010

Planting the Cucurbits

Tuesday I got out early morning to plant up my squash and cucumber bed. I have a bed that is two feet wide by the fence for them. Remember those walking cucumbers? Well I tossed them. Those where the Armenian cukes. Now I only have Diamant cukes, which is fine since they are my main pickling cucumber. Their makeshift trellis is getting old. I'm contemplating what to do for trellises for the new house. Eight cucumbers were planted, all a foot apart. I hope they grow well.

On the other end of the bed I planted my butternut squash. I planted these 2' apart. These seedlings didn't walk and rooted in their soil blocks just fine. The zucchini on the other hand didn't root well at all. They were growing, but their roots weren't well into the soil. Cucurbits don't like their roots disturbed and they were getting disturbed just by getting moved around so I tossed them. I planted seeds instead. Three in each of the three spots. I'll thin to one once they come up. Now I probably don't need three zucchini plants, but I find I get better pollination with more. So I either have very little zucchini or way too much. I'm going for way too much.

As I was over in that section of the garden I noticed the peas have been really taking off. The Cascadia had some spotty germination, but the Blizzard peas all came up. It could just be because the Cascadia is old seed.


  1. My cucumbers, squash, courgettes and pumpkins have adapted well to life in their new bed. They've rewarded all my hard work by letting their leaves go yellow, then dry and brown, and by generally dying.

    I have decided that cucurbits aren't very much fun!

  2. I pulled out my archway trellis that I have been using for cucumbers and discovered that it was falling apart. So I need to come up with another plan for them.

    I love your cutwork prevention method! I am going to try it. I found a cutworm yesterday while digging in the dirt.

  3. Everything looks really good! I'm amazed by how much you can fit into your garden. I had rooting issued with some of my larger seeds as well. I think itks because I don't have the deeper dimples for my soil blocks.

  4. I like your simple cucumber trellis. The tops are out of the picture, but I was curious how you connected them at the top points?

    Peas look good! My Cascadias are spotty too - but it was not from germination - it was from birds nipping off the young shoots. Dratted birds!

  5. Daphne, do you have any idea why your method of cutworm protection works? I thought the barrier needed to surround the seedling stem, but yours are still more or less open on two sides. I like your method and have plenty dried stalks on hand, but am a little iffy on why it works for you.

    Also, how tall is your cuke trellis?

  6. That trellis looks fantastic. I'm going to try something like that for my beans, I think. Grow 'em pointing down. I bet you could sneak a shade-lover in behind them, too.

    Yes, zucchini really are feast or famine, no? My housemate cooked these amazing zucchini last week -- baby ones, simply halved and fried cut side down in duck fat. They were terrific. I'm actually looking forward to zucchini season.

  7. The Idiot Gardener, some years I have issues with my cucurbits too. We have a lot of vine borers in the neighborhood and they will eat anything but C. moschata. Luckily the butternuts are C. moschata. The zucchinis will get hit though.

    GrafixMuse, I so hate cutworms. They are very prolific here. When I first moved here I thought that lettuce seed wouldn't germinate in my soil, but there were just too many cutworms. They were chopped down before I saw the lettuce seedlings.

    Thomas, I'm guessing that was the case too. The butternut squash that came up fine was smaller seed than the zucchini seed (by a lot). The Armenian cuke seeds were larger than the Diamant seeds. Next year with a larger garden I probably won't prestart most of the cucurbits. I might do a couple early cukes and zukes, but most will be planted in the ground.

    kitsapFG, I just tie it on with string or wire. The cucumber are smaller pickling ones and really don't get all that heavy. so this year I used string. If the Armenian ones had actually germinated correctly then I would have used wire since they get big and heavy.

    maggie, When they eat cutworms wrap themselves around the stem. They eat from the outside in. Currently the stem is on the inside so they can't get to it. Some people use only one, but I've found one doesn't work. Two on opposite sides works well. Though occasionally they do climb the stem and cut off branches (but rarely). The traditional cutworm collars prevent that. My cuke trellis is about three feet. It really needs to be taller, but it is what I've used for years. Five feet would be so much nicer. Then on good years it wouldn't overrun the top.

  8. Stefaneener, I used to use this trellis and plant lettuce behind it but a couple of years ago I switched my rotations. Now the lettuce and the cucurbits aren't grown together.

  9. It's all looking fantastic Daphne. I don't think we get those cutworms here, but I'll have to google'em.

  10. Aha, it says low-lying areas, and we're a mile asl. Hopefully not then!

  11. Ah, peas. I'm going to try one more time this fall. One more time....I want peas!