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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › too late to start squash?

too late to start squash?

user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 36
gosh it's been such a busy spring i haven't checked in here for a while. hope all is well in the permaculture gardens of maine.

well, i'm checking in now with frustrating news.... my one and only blue hubbard was nipped by a #$%(% cutworm!! grrrr i do have other squash plants, so far so good, but i was hoping to grow some BH this year. what do you all think... is it too late to start more squashes at this point? it would have the benefit of being under a plastic tunnel, which would speed things up a bit....

also, any ideas about dealing w/ the potential for more cutworm attacks? i have read about inserting sticks along the stem so the cutworm can't girdle the stem, and also about collars of aluminum or metal. i am willing to try either or both on the remaining squash, but am wondering if i might end up damaging roots inserting collars or sticks at this point? any thoughts? what has worked for you in the past?

Cape Elizabeth, ME
Post #: 1

Its not too late to start squash, and they will germinate and sprout quickly. Just make sure not to let the seed and new sprout dry out!

Also, cutworms can be controlled with cat food or tuna cans put around them. Use a can opener to cut out both sides after washing them clean (or putting them through a dishwahser). Blood meal sprinkled aorund the base of the plant (don;t let it touch the plant esp when its young as it can burn leaves) will often work as well.

Also, try planting some marigolds around the plants. They often will repell just about anything but Japanese beetles! Hope this helps! Email me wiht any questions - I'm a master gardener and I love to help out veg gardeners.

A former member
Post #: 84
Welcome Beth! My experience with blood meal has been that critters love to dig where you've applied it so if you have raccoons and skunks in your area, I might use the tuna cans instead. Once new plants get established, they seem to become tough enough to fend off cutworms but don't quote me here!

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 192
It's not too late too plant squash. I have had a lot of slug problems so I just keep planting. They start faster when planted later due to warmer weather.

user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 205
Yes, slugs! I found 2 of the teeniest slugs I ever saw today. We bought a few bottles of cheaper beer last night to put in jar covers as lure once it stops raining.
Cape Elizabeth, ME
Post #: 4
Winnie is right about some critters liking blood meal (including my dog), but I have a fenced in garden and have been spoiled. I'd go with the cans, regardless...

Good luck!

user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 37
thanks for your replies! in a serendipitous turn of events, as i was turning a pile of compost yesterday i found 5 squash seedlings, leggy but otherwise happy, growing near the top of the pile! i know they are not funky hybrid compost creations, bc i tossed some seeds that never sprouted earlier this spring when i was starting my squashes. so maybe there's a blue hubbard amongst them afterall. :) i planted them out yesterday and we'll see how they do...

i ended up placing 2-3 toothpicks alongside the stems of my remaining squashes, cukes, and melons.... i hope this does the trick. if i have another casualty i will do a variation of the can method.
Ted M.
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 72
i ended up placing 2-3 toothpicks alongside the stems of my remaining squashes, cukes, and melons.... i hope this does the trick. if i have another casualty i will do a variation of the can method.

I'm curious Alder - what do the toothpicks do?
user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 39
according to research i've done, placing toothpicks (or other small sticks) closely along the stems will prevent the cutworm from being able to girdle the whole stem. i can't recall at the moment but i believe one place i read that tip was in nancy bubel's seed starting book.

regardless, so far so good (knock on wood!)... now i am dealing with slugs who've been chomping favas and limas just as they break the surface. i hope this is not cutworms, too..... i have seen slug slime on some of the casualties but not all.
A former member
Post #: 155
I remember reading that cutworm trick years ago as well. I used to put cans around everything but didn't do anything this year and was lucky - no cutworms. But I do continue to lose many plants to cabbage maggots, even the ones that I mulched right after planting. I do have a plan for next year though. I will put them in cans and fill the cans with sawdust - that should work!
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