Saturday, July 5, 2008

Squash bees and flowers

Squash flowers are abundant on the long rambling vines of two of the Cucurbita moschata types that I'm growing. Normally, C. moschata are winter squashes (butternut, etc.), but I've enjoyed growing the varieties that are eaten fresh -- Tromboncino for several years and this year, I added something called 'Summer Mix' which is a yellow-fruited C. moschata type. Both are tasty, and resistant to both squash vine borers and squash bugs.

Squash bees actively gather pollen and nectar from dawn through mid-morning, emerging from their ground nests to forage in the squash patch. Their biology is fascinating, but that's another post -- I need to go transplant basil seedlings before it (hopefully) rains!

Squash vine borer damage -- ugh -- it's tough to organically manage. Careful rotations and deep cultivation that disrupt the moth-egg-larvae life cycle seem like the main defense.

Bt injections, wrapping the vines with foil or plastic (ugly), row covers (then you have to hand-pollinate), wiping the base of the vines manually (!), covering the base of the stems with soil : these are all other potential organic controls. The Bt injections sound the most effective, but a bit time-consuming. (CEN in a recent comment says she's so far had success with it).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the tip on trombocino and summer mix. They'll be on my seed list next year.

    ReplyDelete

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