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Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

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Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  GioHub on 7/12/2013, 11:59 am

I live in Middle Tennessee. We've enjoyed a lot of rainfall this year and the summer has been unusually cool. 

This is my very first year square foot gardening. I planted one zucchini per grid and one squash per grid. They have completely taken over the whole entire box. It's crowding my okra and peppers. Is that OK? Everything looks healthy. They are flowering beautifully.  Sorry if this is an ignorant question but was I supposed to "cage" the zucchini and squash?  Shocked

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  grownsunshine on 7/12/2013, 12:12 pm

What an great problem you're having. I'm glad for you that your plants are doing so well. A lot of people have written about vertical growing your zucchinis and squash (and other veggies/fruits). I'm in the process of trying to vertical grow watermelon and cantelope, in addition to zucchinis.

I have my zucchini in a square and I read that someone put a bungy cord around it as part of the vertical growing process. This keeps the leaves from overshadowing the plants in the surrounding boxes. So far so good and I'm getting new flowers everyday.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t14401-vertically-growing-summer-squash?highlight=vertical+zucchini

PS - check this out.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=439045342818205&set=a.212106955512046.52922.212102705512471&type=1&theater

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Thank you!

Post  GioHub on 7/12/2013, 12:19 pm

That picture with the gourds.... it's a masterpiece.
I'm going to try to cage them ever so gently. It's my first year so I knew I was facing a learning curve. Lots to learn still.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  grownsunshine on 7/12/2013, 12:49 pm

Yeah, I'm pretty new here and and to sfg. There are a ton of wonderful people with a lot of knowledge. Everyone is sooo kind about helping and encouraging...very cool!!!

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  TxGramma on 7/12/2013, 1:04 pm

Welcome GioHub! And no it is not an ignorant question. 1 square really is not enough room for summer squash and zucchini if you just let them go...they will take over, they bush out with large leaves. But with some work you can do it. Here is a video that can help you get them under control lol. Growing Squash Vertically If you want to skip ahead to the part about the zucchini/squash go in about 5:30-6:00 minutes into the video...that will show you how to grow them vertically on a stake. By pruning off the lower leaves as you no longer need them it will give you more room for your other plants. It will also help give you better air flow and make it easier to water without getting the leaves wet which should help prevent powdery mildew.

Like you said this first year is a learning time (and not just the first year either, there is always something new to learn). Just keep reminding yourself of that and don't get discouraged. Try some things out and decide what works best for you. I started out this year with the intent of trying to trellis my squash and zucchini. It didn't take me long to decide I didn't like that idea and changed to this method with the stakes instead and I like it much better. I thought about caging mine too but decided I really liked the way this looked and felt it would be easier than having to deal with the cages. I've had alot of problems with squash vine borers this year though so hasn't been a great year for getting a good crop out of them but I did learn the method I like best for growing them so for me a winner year for my squash anyway.

If the squash you are growing is not summer squash and is a vine type squash then you can train those to grow vertically on a trellis.

And you can cage your peppers, if you want, to help keep them contained. Good luck!

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  sanderson on 7/12/2013, 1:28 pm

Newbie to gardening, SFG, and vertical growing. My back yard is so small that I don't have an option but to grow vertically. Each squash or melon gets 1 SF.

What I have learned so far:

1. Vertical growing works if you have strong vertical support.

2. Once you go vertical you have to stay on top of tying the plant to its stake as it grows, or it will fall over from the weight and BREAK!

3. Plant squash and melons every other square with shorter plants in between, i.e., greens, beets, carrots, etc.

4. Vertical makes it easier to see what's going on closer to the soil line, assisted pollination, collecting fruit. spotting insects.

Opps, I see Tx Gramma has posted. And, she posted a link to a video. Thank you, Gramma

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  grownsunshine on 7/12/2013, 2:21 pm

TxGramma - what do you mean to changed from trellis to stakes? Are these two different methods of growing vertically? Thanks!

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  gwennifer on 7/12/2013, 2:26 pm

I like that stake method from the video TxGramma, thanks for posting that. Yet I can't see how that would work in a real SFG bed (as in, how stable could a stake be in only 6" of loose, friable MM)? thinking 

I had been going to let my squash plants vine over the edge of my table top garden beds, but have been wondering if I'll be too annoyed at losing the aisle space and having to go around. So now I'm tempted to try growing them up some tomato cages. But then again, heavy fruit might pull it over. This is my first year growing squash/cucumbers/melons and it will be interesting to see how they all grow. I see tendrils on my spaghetti squash for instance, but don't see that the plant is vining at all, at least not yet. Same with the mini pumpkins.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  sanderson on 7/12/2013, 4:36 pm

I have bookmarked that video.  It is one of the clearest videos on vertical growing.  The stakes used in the video are set into the ground.  For SFG, think of the word "stake" as any sturdy vertical support.  For example, if you use Mel's trellis design, like I do, the summer squash or melon can be trained over to the electrical pole and then up, trimming lower leaf stalks on the summer squash.  Only the lower leaf immediately supporting each squash fruit needs to stay on until the fruit is picked.  Some use the actual trellis netting to tie the plants to.  Or drive a sturdy stake into the ground next to the outside squares.  I have some tall stakes gently set into the squares and secured at the top to something sturdy.  Some have to lean over to something sturdy.

For your TT, you could prune them grow to go down to the ground, then wrap around and around the four legs as they produce fruits.  You just need to make sure to  balance the weight so the TT doesn't topple over.  I don't think cages will work.  Sad   Maybe strap strong vertical stakes to the sides of the 4 legs, giving you 4 vertical pathways.  Maybe hubby could make a 4-legged, tall structure that would fit/slip down over the TT.  It could be removed when growing greens, radishes or flowers.

I hope this helps.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  boffer on 7/12/2013, 4:42 pm

@gwennifer wrote:... So now I'm tempted to try growing them up some tomato cages.  But then again, heavy fruit might pull it over. ... 

My spaghetti squash vines are over 10 feet minimum, year after year. You might consider an arch of some sort, reaching to another box, or out to the yard.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  TxGramma on 7/13/2013, 3:28 am

@grownsunshine wrote:TxGramma - what do you mean to changed from trellis to stakes? Are these two different methods of growing vertically? Thanks!

Yes they are two different methods...trellis is a netting that is used to grow vertically and a stake is just a pole. I planted my squash and zucchini plants along the trellis in my SFG beds with intentions of tying the plants off to the trellis but I didn't like the way it was turning out. I was having to tie the stems of the plant to the trellis and since they are hollow they would break easily and it was hard to keep the growth contained. Pulling the stems back and tying them off to keep them from crowding the plants in front of them was difficult...they were too easy to break and it was just a mess on the trellis. So I untied them and placed a bamboo stake beside the plant and pruned off the lower leaves and began tying the plant off to the stake closer to the ground and working up like it shows in the video.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  TxGramma on 7/13/2013, 3:39 am

@gwennifer wrote:I like that stake method from the video TxGramma, thanks for posting that.  Yet I can't see how that would work in a real SFG bed (as in, how stable could a stake be in only 6" of loose, friable MM)?  thinking 
 

Your welcome. I haven't had any problems using stakes in my SFG. I have my eggplants staked and my squash & zucchini are on stakes. I just pushed the bamboo stake down in the MM next to the plant and use velcro to attach the plant to the stakes. We have had plenty of wind and rain and they have stood without any problem. My beds are 10" deep not 6" so not sure if that makes in difference in getting them to stay up but I don't think so as I didn't push them all the way down anyway.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  grownsunshine on 7/13/2013, 12:28 pm

Thanks everyone for being so generous with your knowledge! I really attribute any success I have with my garden to the discovery of Mel, sfging and you all! My sfg is such a joy for me. Every day I go out to my garden to see if I'm having success or struggles....usually it's both. I can't imagine what my garden would look like it I was going it alone...actually I can, ugh! I'm sure you feel the same way....I'm sure I'll say this again in the future when I'm feeling it....which brings me back to the wonderful article someone posted about community gardening (I'll post it if I see it again) and the wonderful post about sharing zucchini with neighbors, "What goes around comes around..."

...on to the next sfg project...building a trellis for my cantaloupe and watermelon plants.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  gwennifer on 7/13/2013, 1:44 pm

Thank you sanderson, boffer, and TXGramma for your follow up replies! I can't believe a stake stays up and holds all that in just half a foot of MM. I'm shocked! I just assumed anyone doing SFG'ing on the ground would drive the stakes down into the ground deeper than the beds. Good to know it works for you! How tall of stakes are you using and how far up do your plants get on it? boffer is saying his spaghetti squash get 10' long minimum! I spoke too soon about not seeing how the plants will end up vining BTW. When I watered yesterday I could see where they are starting to grow longer, and not just wider. Looks like they can vine out in multiple directions? They grow so fast!

In the table tops I've got mini pumpkins, and the vines are only supposed to get 4'-5' long total. I'll just let them hang down. My spaghetti squash is in one of my non-SFG barrels on the ground, so I'm just going to let it vine along the ground and hope I don't end up stepping on it when I water daily. I really, really want to find a place that I can build a cattle panel arch for the vines to grow up and over - the kids would love having a tunnel to go through!

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  TxGramma on 7/13/2013, 9:19 pm

gwennifer I'm using 6' bamboo stakes. I just pushed them down into my MM next to the plant and then just pressed right around the stake a little just to make sure the MM was up against the stake. My plants that are on those stakes are over half way up the stakes. I was surprised how well they have held too. I was afraid that the plant and stake would all topple when we got some wind but so far so good and we have had some 20-30 mph winds (with rain) since I planted them. They weren't quite as tall as now but almost.

I have my cantaloupe on a trellis so it has plenty of room to climb. Hubby made my 2 beds for me and they are 2'x10'x10" with trellis on the north side. The trellises are 10' long framed out with 2x4's with a center 2x4 for support and are about 7' tall. He used the 2x4's from the trellis as the corner supports for the beds on that side so 10" of the 8' 2x4 is inside the bed. We used a roll of wire fencing with 4" openings for the "trellis". We are going to build TT for most of the garden and these two beds will be used for long vining things (i.e. melons, cukes, winter squash, pole beans, etc.) to grow on the trellis.

I love your TT's btw and I thinks that's a great idea to let the pumpkin vine down over the side. I agree the cattle panel will be great for the spaghetti squash and a great fort for the kids. We are going to build some grape/muscadine arches and some bean teepees for my grands to enjoy when they are over.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  grownsunshine on 7/14/2013, 11:50 am

Txgramma - would love to see some pics. Have you posted any?

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

Post  murarrie25 on 7/14/2013, 7:10 pm

Do you hand pollinate the zucchini flowers last crop first flowers where all male  and then later a couple of days all female flowers .Harvesting  male flowers to eat  is a good use.

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Re: Newbie with Zucchini and Squash questions

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