GardenSMART Newsletter Signup
Visit our Sponsors!
Visit our Sponsors and win.


--- Anne K Moore August 15, 2009 ---

Fixing Problems in the Garden

Squash-flower_0742Summer squash is not only good in the kitchen.Insects and disease find it very tasty in the garden.Squash vine borers, powdery and downy mildew, and virus diseases can plague all gardeners hoping for that windfall crop.

Downy mildew, brought on by prolific rains or humid days and nights, can wipe out the large leaves needed to maintain the squash plant.Space your plants correctly, so that you have plenty of air circulation around the plants.Spraying the plants regularly with compost tea is also supposed to cut down on this wet weather disease.

Powdery mildew is a dry weather disease.It will damage leaves on older plants.Keep the plants well irrigated by using drip lines along the ground.Apply sprays before either of these mildew diseases appear.

Squash vine borers and cutworms can cut the vine and kill it just as it begins to blossom.Wrap the stems of squash with aluminum foil when you put transplants in the ground or after the seedlings are up and growing.Extend the foil up the stem 3-4 inches and for an inch or two below ground.This will foil (no pun intended) the pests and stop them from entering the stem.

If a borer is already present, your vine will start to wilt.You can try to save it by finding the borer entry, either a hole or split in the stem near the roots.Insert a wire to stab/kill the culprit, and then pile soil on top of the wounded area to encourage roots along the stem.

Viruses, spread by aphids, can ruin a crop quickly.Once a virus takes hold, there is no cure.The plant needs to be sacrificed to the garbage.Donít compost these plants.Home composts do not get hot enough to kill the virus.

This tip from Fine Gardening Magazine, is a simple way to keep aphids off the plants:ďYou can also use adhesive tape to remove aphids and other small insects from plant leaves. Simply wrap a long piece of tape around your fingers (sticky side out), and blot off the bugs.

Bees are essential for pollinating the squash flowers.Keep insecticides out of and off flowers.Donít use any form of pesticide when bees are flying.Bees usually quit their nectar and pollen collecting in late afternoon or early evening.If you must use a lethal insecticide, make sure it has no residual killing ability.

One way to outwit these problems is to just pull up the old, sick, insect infested plants, remove them to the garbage, and plant a new crop.Summer squash is ready quickly, in 40 to 50 days from seed, depending on variety.Look up your first expected frost date.Most state university Cooperative Extension Service websites have this information.Subtract 2 months to see if you have time to raise another small crop of squash this fall.

If you donít have time for a fall crop this year, make a note on your calendar next year to plant a second crop.Try some of the new hybrids that might also give some mildew and disease resistance.Visit Fine Gardeningís website for cures for these and many more summer plagues.

For more information on pest identification and control, consult your State Cooperative Extension Service.


All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

Article URL:

Back to Articles List                               

GardenSMART Featured Article

By Eric Johnson, host of GardenSMART

This year GardenSMART embarks on one of our most exciting adventures ever and we'd love to have you join us! We are partnering with Alki Tours and spending 10 days visiting some of the most amazing sites in Holland and Belgium. Many of these gardens are my favorite horticultural destinations in the world. If you are a plant lover, this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Read more...

Jump into Spring with savings up to $2200 on this Exclusive Cruise of the Rivers of Holland & Belgium with Eric Johnson Host of GardenSMART from PBS

Sail right into the pages of a storybook on our European garden tour through Holland and Belgium.

MAY 6-16, 2018

As low as $3799 per person/do, Price includes airfare from New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago. CALL FOR OTHER CITIES THROUGHOUT THE USA

> Click Here For Details <

Watch filming and be part of the fun, telling your favorite...and not so favorite Dirty Tales. 2 Nights Amsterdam & 7 Nights River. Visit Amsterdam, Holland, Belgium, Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruges, Keukenhof Gardens, Rotterdam and More!

This Exclusive, Five-Star, Cruise & Garden Tours Vacation Includes:

  • 2 nights in Amsterdam including gorgeous hotel, wonderful tours and daily breakfast
  • 7 nights on the new, flagship Amadeus Silver III river cruise ship Incredible excursions in Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Utrecht
  • All of your meals on board the ship, including wine with dinner
  • Deluxe motorcoach transportation
  • Transfers and luggage handling in Amsterdam
  • Hosted by Eric Johnson of PBS' GardenSMART
  • Fully narrated so you won't miss a thing!

Reserve space now by calling toll-free 206-935-6848 or make a reservation here.

  Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!  
Copyright © 1998-2012 GSPC. All Rights Reserved.