Planting Squash

comments (14) June 15th, 2009

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, member
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Newly sprouted yellow squash seedlings are protected birds under a square of chicken wire. A buried flower pot allows direct watering straight to the roots.Click To Enlarge

Newly sprouted yellow squash seedlings are protected birds under a square of chicken wire. A buried flower pot allows direct watering straight to the roots.

Photo: Ruth Dobsevage

Most people mound up the soil into a “hill” to plant squash and pumpkin seeds, but I do just the opposite. I plant my seeds in a depression, and there’s a reason for that. One year, when I planted my seeds in hills, they sprouted just fine, but then they disappeared. Undeterred, I tried again, and the same thing happened. There were no signs of cutworms or slugs. It was a mystery, one I finally solved.

Somehow, I figured out that birds were descending on the garden and yanking out the baby seedlings, perhaps to get at the seeds still attached. So in a Spy vs. Spy moment straight out of Mad magazine, I devised a low-cost deterrent.

To fend off the birds, I fashioned “shields” from some old chicken wire fencing left over from other projects. I unrolled the fencing, flattened it out, and with a wire cutters sectioned it into 2 ft. square pieces, each large enough to cover the seedlings until they were strong enough to survive on their own.

Instead of hills, I dig shallow holes, and make a small mound at the center of each. Following the spacing instructions on the seed packets. I then plant five to seven seeds in each little mound, again as instructed. To hold each shield in place, I weigh down the corners with bricks or rocks and fill in the gaps at the edges with leaf mulch. When the seedlings start to push through the tops of the shields, I remove the shields  and thin the plants as necessary.

The shields let water and sunlight in but keep birds out, and they are, of course, reusable from year to year. As the plants grow, should watering be necessary, it’s easier to get the water to reach the roots in a depression. Without them, I’d have well-fed birds, but not much squash.

An aid to watering, along with bird protection
This year, I decided to bury flowerpots at the center of the squash plantings, a technique I read about in How to Grow Superb Summer Squash. I haven't needed to water anything for weeks (this May and June it's been raining almost every day, or so it seems), but maybe later this summer we'll have a dry spell, and I'll be glad I took this extra step. Stay tuned.

posted in: squash

Comments (14)

JohnOneal writes: Good
Posted: 1:31 am on November 24th
stephenstone15 writes: Wonderful
Posted: 3:34 am on October 18th
ericlimberlet writes: Mind Blowing
Posted: 7:47 am on September 27th
Ednajooper writes: Great job
Posted: 4:27 am on September 15th
Ednajooper writes: Great job
Posted: 4:26 am on September 15th
wiseharvey writes: Impressive
Posted: 1:06 am on August 26th
javierdiaz writes: Brilliant
Posted: 2:54 am on August 11th
willisrose writes: This is safe.
Posted: 1:23 am on February 29th
johan21 writes: awesome idea
Posted: 1:19 am on July 2nd
Deepak786 writes: wonderful idea
Posted: 5:37 am on June 23rd
neylar writes: nice share
Posted: 12:10 am on March 20th
philipmcnabb writes: Congratulations ! Great work
Posted: 2:33 am on March 16th
mickervine writes: awesome tut
Posted: 4:57 am on March 13th
shovellady writes: That is a fantastic idea, congrats.
Posted: 6:55 pm on April 21st
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