Saturday, July 24, 2010

a tale of two squash vines

I've not said much about the garden this year, because really, there's not much to tell. I set everything out late, so it's taking a while to catch up. One thing I did do differently this year is to plant squash. Yes, I said I'd never do it again, but this year I discovered row cover. I thought this would work for the vine borer problem, but hand pollination was not working, and I was not consistent enough in going out and removing the covers for pollination by insects. So off the row covers went.
Naturally, now I have a few signs of vine borers, and I want to document it here just in case it might help someone. Above, you see a good, healthy squash vine - nice dark green vine and strong leaves. The one below, however, has vine borers. You can see the differences; wilted leaves, pale color, weak vine, and gold-colored stuff (called frass) coming out of holes in the vine. There's even a tiny squash that has rotted.
I've tried many methods to deal with these things, and I'm going to tell you the one that has been most effective, least invasive, and least disgusting for me. If you'll look carefully at the vine, you'll see a pin; take a nice, long pin and poke all the way through the vine, at and above the frass. Go farther than you think you really need to, because they do travel upward. Also get the places where the leaves and fruit branch off, because they crawl up into there too. This can be therapy for you, too - really take out your frustrations with that pin.

Once you've stabbed everywhere you think necessary, dig a trench under the vine and bury it. Tuck it in tight, give it a night-night kiss, and say a little prayer that it roots above the borer damage. If you'll check regularly for signs of borers and do this before the vines are too far gone, they have a better chance of survival.

1 comment:

Martha Marshall said...

Thank you so much for this great description and information!! I don't know how many people I've talked to had this problem this year, including us.