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Where are my squash?

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Pollinator on 9/4/2013, 11:41 am

@Triciasgarden wrote:
So maybe in the early Spring plant something or a variety of plants and flowers that will bring in the bees.  Going by the drastic difference this year and my pollination level being so much better, it has gotten me thinking of how and why the bees are more attracted this year than last year.
Y'all are doing a good thing, but missing the point. You cannot attract what isn't there. If you need a good population of bees, and it isn't there, you have to build it.

Bees don't just magically fly in from "somewhere." They have to have habitat, feed, nest sites, water, and most of all, protection from pesticides.

So you have to build that environment. Providing feed is good. Providing all of their needs is better. Then you'll build good (what used to be normal) populations of bees. When that happens, ALL the flowers in your garden will get visits.

Don't forget, there are many kinds of bees. Honey bees are now rare in the wild, so you might want to expend some effort to attract a beekeeper.

But the wild bees need care too. Are you providing continuous water? Continuous bloom? Nest tubes? Mud? Bare earth spots?

It isn't about "attracting" bees and it never was. It's about total care, so that they can reproduce and build up from their depleted, to *normal* levels.


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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  camprn on 9/4/2013, 11:49 am

@Pollinator wrote:
@Triciasgarden wrote:
So maybe in the early Spring plant something or a variety of plants and flowers that will bring in the bees.  Going by the drastic difference this year and my pollination level being so much better, it has gotten me thinking of how and why the bees are more attracted this year than last year.
Y'all are doing a good thing, but missing the point. You cannot attract what isn't there. If you need a good population of bees, and it isn't there, you have to build it.

Bees don't just magically fly in from "somewhere."  They have to have habitat, feed, nest sites, water, and most of all, protection from pesticides.

So you have to build that environment. Providing feed is good. Providing all of their needs is better. Then you'll build good (what used to be normal) populations of bees. When that happens, ALL the flowers in your garden will get visits.

Don't forget, there are many kinds of bees. Honey bees are now rare in the wild, so you might want to expend some effort to attract a beekeeper.

But the wild bees need care too. Are you providing continuous water? Continuous bloom?  Nest tubes?  Mud? Bare earth spots?

It isn't about "attracting" bees and it never was. It's about total care, so that they can reproduce and build up from their depleted, to *normal* levels.

+1

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/5/2013, 12:20 am

We had a lot of bees at the beginning of the season -- bumblebees and what looked like regular honeybees, along with really tiny bees of a couple of kinds. I'm thinking the constant Round-Up use in the neighborhood may have killed some of them off.

I did see some Mason bee artificial hives that looked like a cool idea (even though they too supposedly only come out in the beginning of the season, then pupate and hibernate, if I recall correctly). However, as was said, if they're not there, I don't know how to get them here.

We have a big pond about two blocks away, but that is probably too far. However, when we have standing water, we get a nasty mosquito problem. This summer was so wonderful with only moderate mosquitoes, and now they're almost all gone. How to you leave out water for bees without encouraging mosquitoes? I could empty out a container or two every day, but I don't know if a container or two of water is enough to attract bees.

Otherwise, since they were there before and they're not now, and I'm not doing anything differently, I'm kind of wondering if I'll have to find some place to buy bees. For now, my first year with anything but a few containers, I've already been pretty ambitious, but beekeeping is beyond my ken (and finances) right now.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/5/2013, 10:50 am

I have 5 gal buckets of water around my SFG.  Sometimes the bees fall in but I can take them out and they fly away.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  WriterCPA on 9/5/2013, 11:10 pm

I planted marigolds all over my SFG this year. I have lots of marigolds, but even allowing for losses to powdery mildew, I did not see many bees this summer. I attributed it in part of high temps and too many insecticides in the neighborhood. I do have several bees hanging out with my sunflowers and roses of sharon, but they're a good 30 feet away from my vegetable garden.

The clay soil and snails did in my wildflower plantings by the SFG. I definitely need a new flower strategy to get some pollinators into my garden.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  sanderson on 9/6/2013, 3:15 am

@WriterCPA wrote: I did not see many bees this summer.  I attributed it in part of high temps and too many insecticides in the neighborhood.  I do have several bees hanging out with my sunflowers and roses of sharon, but they're a good 30 feet away from my vegetable garden.

The clay soil and snails did in my wildflower plantings by the SFG.  I definitely need a new flower strategy to get some pollinators into my garden.
Just a suggestion, plant bee attractive flower in pots (with Mel's Mix) around the garden.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Millenia on 9/6/2013, 10:07 am

I got about 3 yellow squash and 3 zuchinis before the pickle worms wiped me out in June. I replanted from seeds and have been spraying weekly with spinosad to keep the pickle worms away. My new zuchinis and cukes are blooming but I haven't noticed any female blooms yet.

Speaking of female blooms, my pumpkins have been blooming away for months but I have yet to see a female bloom. I also planted gourds the end of May and have one, count 'em, one gourd growing. I've only seen about 3 female gourd blooms the entire time. What gives?

I keep checking my pumpkins thinking I'll hand pollinate but can't find any to pollinate. I planted a different kind of pumpkin a bit later and it has started blooming so I'm watching it too.

I know I have a problem with some powderly mildew but am trying to avoid spraying and have been trimming off the affected leaves. Could this be causing the lack of female blossoms?

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Millenia on 9/6/2013, 10:14 am





3.  It could have been (and could be in the future) worse!  A neighbor has horses and chickens, and I'm getting lots of free poop from her which should make next year's compost much better, and very substantially reduce the cost of getting pots and bags and beds filled or topped off this coming year.  Having poopy neighbors is a really lucky cost-cutter!



Be careful with the horse manure. If your neighbor uses any herbicides on her pasture it can stunt your garden.

I was throwing horse manure into my compost pile regularly until my hubby decided to spray the pasture. Now I can't use it any more.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Millenia on 9/6/2013, 3:01 pm

I just spoke with an Extension Agent who said our pumpkin crop will be bad this year because of all the rain. He said if I'm not getting female blossoms, the plant is too happy. Sometimes they just need a little stress. He told me to let them need water before I water them. He said, oftentimes, a plant has to think it might die before it feels the need to reproduce.

I know I was told one time by a nurseryman to go out and beat on my old dogwood tree to make it bloom (because it had gone several years without blooming.) I laughed at him but did it anyway. I took a shovel out there and gave it some really good wallops along the trunk. Darn if that tree wasn't covered in blooms the next spring.

Now that we've gone about a week without rain, maybe my pumpkins will put out (pun intended.)

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/7/2013, 12:52 am

I just spoke with an Extension Agent who said our pumpkin crop will be bad this year because of all the rain. He said if I'm not getting female blossoms, the plant is too happy. Sometimes they just need a little stress. He told me to let them need water before I water them. He said, oftentimes, a plant has to think it might die before it feels the need to reproduce.
That's a very interesting idea that I'm more than willing to experiment with! Thanks Milennia!

Re your first post in the series of three above, your problems sound so close to mine it's almost as if you substituted the word "squash" with "pumpkin." Although in my case the worms were doing the number on the tomatoes and marigolds and basil rather than on my squash.

Good luck on your pumpkins!

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  walshevak on 9/7/2013, 1:00 pm

I got some squash early in the year while the plants were still under the tulle cover. Ants were crawling into the blossoms and I hand pollinated a few. After they started really blooming well, I uncoverd them for the bees. That's when the SVB got to them and I got no more squash.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/7/2013, 11:13 pm

They sure are finicky, aren't they? This makes two dismal years in a row for me with them.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/8/2013, 4:46 pm

I read somewhere that the patty pan and the butternut are the only ones that the SVB doesn't get in to due to them not having hollow stems.  I know they are the only 2 that are producing for me this year.  BUT they aren't producing much due to powdery mildew taking them down.

So the secret for me if I choose to grow squash next year is to get seeds of those 2 only that are PM resistant.  

But I want zucchini & spaghetti squash!!!!  frustration screm 
sobbing 

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  camprn on 9/8/2013, 5:09 pm

My patty pans succumbed to SVB and virus transmitted by stripped cucumber beetles. I miss having squash.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/8/2013, 5:19 pm

@camprn wrote:My patty pans succumbed to SVB and virus transmitted by stripped cucumber beetles. I miss having squash.
crud! There goes my zucchini substitution...
Crybaby 

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Kelejan on 9/8/2013, 6:23 pm

Two seasons ago I was overwhelmed with Scarlet Runner Beans that I got sick of them and couldn't give them away fast enough after filling my freezer with them.
This year I had zillions of blossoms and visits from humming birds. I doubt that I got more than a couple of pounds of beans. Sad 

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/8/2013, 9:50 pm

One of the reasons I'm so looking forward to planting fall crops is that most of the ones I'm choosing - kale, lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, brussels sprouts, radishes -- don't need pollinating. Only the peas. But I've got over 30 pea plants coming up, of three varieties, so I hope that by hook or by crook I'll at least get something.

I tore out two of my patty pan squash plants today. They looked so healthy that it made me sad, but they don't have time to put out much of a crop, and to judge by their productivity, that space is better used for something else.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  sanderson on 9/9/2013, 12:33 am

Marc, I believe peas are self pollinating. ??

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Pollinator on 9/9/2013, 1:55 am

@sanderson wrote:Marc,  I believe peas are self pollinating.   ??
Yep. That's a claim wrongly made for many plants, but garden, or English, peas are among the few that actually do. The pistil and the stamens grow together to touch and transfer pollen.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Millenia on 9/9/2013, 11:10 am

Just FYI, after not watering my pumpkins for several days, I actually found an itty bitty yellow knob at the very tip of one of the vines. Pumpkins at last?

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/9/2013, 2:53 pm

Well, if they're self-pollinating, fantastic! Are English peas the same as what we call snap peas and/or snow peas? Or is that just a very particular cultivar among many?

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  TxGramma on 9/9/2013, 5:57 pm

Marc, English peas = garden peas, sweet peas...it's the little round green peas!

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  sanderson on 9/9/2013, 7:34 pm

Marc, Both my flat snow peas and my "round green peas" peas were self pollinating.

I have both going again right now because they are kind of fail safe. Gosh, I need a few fail safes 'cuz I don't have bees. I take that back, I saw one confused bee today that was going from green leaf to green leaf. I haven't seen another one for weeks.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/10/2013, 5:20 pm

Good to know, folks, thanks!

I have about 60 peas sprouted, but will have to leave them and my lettuce, spinach, kale, and radishes unwatered this week from Friday through Monday. And it's going to be in the 90's! I hear that's bad news, but I'm hoping my nicely saturated Mel's Mix will keep the plants okay until my Monday return. I haven't been shy with the vermiculite, so I think that will help a lot. Nice to know at least I won't have to worry about bees!

I'm going to plant tons of flowers every year no matter what kind of crops I grow, though, because I want to create a bee-friendly environment. I think I'll follow through on the suggestion to leave some water around, too. From what I've read, an additional benefit of having water available in the garden is that it will make birds less tempted to attack your tomatoes etc. just for the water value. So two birds with one stone kinda deal.

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Re: Where are my squash?

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/15/2013, 2:21 am

Final tally --

1 yellow pattypan
2 light green pattypan
1 tiny butternut that refuses to get any bigger or ripen
4 zucchini

I'm saving seeds from the pattypans, as well as from a beautiful butternut squash I got at the market, but am kinda wondering why. Razz

Zucchini is definitely out next year. I don't like them enough to devote the garden space to them. Though with a neighbor's huge yellow zucchini, I made some fantastic zucchini bread. Smile

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Re: Where are my squash?

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