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GardenSMART :: Controlling Squash Pests

Controlling Squash Pests

By Shannon McCabe, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/

Squash is nutritious and widely diverse. With so many forms and flavors available, they are a favorite crop for U.S. gardeners. Squash is native to the Americas, traditionally grown in concert with beans and corn, and typically an easy to grow and prolific crop.

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Photograph courtesy of Ilona Loser, Wikimedia Commons.

While the vines are vigorous and fairly carefree, some gardeners have difficulty with squash pests. With a few handy tricks you can prevent pests from damaging your precious harvest. Squash bugs are a major pest, especially in the Southern states. At Baker Creek, we plant our squash later in the season to avoid the peak of squash bug populations.

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Photograph courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

A layer of Reemay, also known as floating row cover, will also help to serve as a barrier to squash bugs. Growing a variety that suits your climate is the best way to have a successful squash crop. Consider your location and try a variety that is adapted to similar conditions. We have found that Chinese varieties often perform well in the U.S., as there are many analogous climates.

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Photograph courtesy of Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

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Photograph courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

If squash vine borer is a problem for you, try growing a vining type squash and allow the vines to sprawl across the garden. Setting roots at various points helps to ensure that the borer will not kill your entire plant. If all else fails and squash simply will not grow for you, try growing Serpente Di Sicilia gourd or luffa gourd. The immature fruits are similar to summer squash and gourds experience far fewer pests. 


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