We wanted to get our squash in the ground over the weekend, but life had different plans. We had major rain here on Sunday that would not let up, but personally we were happy to get a much needed break from the go, go, go! As last night was such a beautiful evening, we decided to take advantage and get our zucchini, yellow straight neck squash, and yellow crookneck squash into our brand new planting area along with nasturtiums and marigolds in an attempt to keep the squash bugs away come summertime.
Our squash patch is a little bit of distance from our main growing areas–another attempt at controlling bugs. Because it is a newly conditioned plot of land, we are eager to see how our plants do. During the winter we covered the spot with a large piece of plastic to kill the grass, and then we tilled in our amendments, based on our soil test. Then we tilled one more time just a few days before planting.
After being sure to harden off our plants, they were ready to go in, along with some fish emulsion for fertilizer. This is the first time we have transplanted squash–we have always sown seed directly. Squash plants need plenty of room–about 3 feet–in order to grow and run as they need to. Crowding your plants will actually decrease your yield and encourage disease. They also don’t like to be planted too deep. We alternated our rows between plants that run a lot (yellow squash) and plants that are more compact (Black Beauty zucchini) in order to keep the rows from running all over the place.
As I already mentioned, we planted a border of nasturtiums and marigolds around the whole patch, which supposedly keeps the squash bugs away, but we shall see. Squash bugs are horrible in this area. We can manage to keep them at bay using neem oil for a while, but eventually they take over anyway. If any of you have advice, we’d love to hear it!