The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Will a fall squash planting beat the borers?

Young summer squash plants about to bloom.It's a bit of an exaggeration, but I think of this as the year without a summer.  Our tomatoes succumbed to the blight and our summer squash gave up the ghost due to vine borers.  Usually, we're able to keep the borers at bay with weekly sprayings of Bt, but this summer was so wet we just couldn't get the bacteria to stay on.  About a month ago, I threw in the towel and ripped out the soggy squash.

But I didn't really give up.  Without blogging about it here (didn't want to give the borers any ideas!) I pushed more summer squash seeds in the ground at the opposite side of the garden.  The copious rain did its job and sprouted the seeds in no time, and now there are flower buds on my second planting of squash.  Even though the weather is still a bit soggy and foggy, I'm hopeful that we can keep Bt on these plants.  It's also possible that it's late enough in the year that vine borers are no longer active, but I'm not taking any chances.

In the long run, I'd like to find a variety of summer squash which the borers don't find so tasty.  Last year, we tested out half a dozen winter squash varieties and were thrilled to find that butternut was both the tastiest to humans and the least tasty to vine borers.  If any of you have discovered a similar miracle summer squash, I'd love to hear about it!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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