Tag Archives: cucurbits

Sowing this week

Regular sowing is necessary for regular cropping without gluts. We try to sow a few things every week or two throughout the growing season. This week we started with the cucurbits: summer and winter squash, melons, and cucumbers. I used a mixture of a free draining soil based seed compost with some organic peat free multipurpose, relieved of any large bits of woody material. Cucurbits are rather sensitive to excess moisture; the seeds will readily decay and the young plants collapse under damp conditions, which encourage rots and fungal problems. Whilst some moisture is obviously needed, the compost must be free draining and the pots should not sit in water. The seeds of squash, melons, and cucumbers, are somewhat flattened, and it is common practice to sow the seeds on their edge, supposedly so that moisture sheds from the seed more readily. Whether this really makes much difference or not I have not bothered to find out, but one might as well continue the tradition. The larger seeded squash are planted a good ¾” deep and the melons and cucumbers perhaps ½”. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 5 – cucurbits

The fifth article in the series looking at our sowing plans for the coming season covers the cucurbits – cucumbers, melons, summer and winter squash. Whilst melons are a somewhat marginal proposition, we have a great harvest of cucumbers and summer squash, both of which are prolific. We also reserve one of our large borders for winter squash, which, if they store well, can provide many winter meals. Continue reading

Replanting cucurbits and some general maintenance

A little light work was carried out today in the glasshouses and polytunnel. A few remaining winter squash plants were potted on, as the outdoor bed is still choked with weeds and will not be ready for a couple of weeks yet. This is running late, but Sweet Dumpling is a smaller bushier variety and hopefully it will still have plenty of time to develop when we finally get around to planting out. Continue reading

The hidden menace strikes again

From 19 plants, only two have survived unscathed. The rest have been decimated by some unknown, yet particularly hungry, pest. Bait blocks and slug pellets remain untouched, yet more cucurbits have been reduced to mere stalks. Once again, with a lack of slime trails, slugs or snails are looking increasingly unlikely suspects. The damage has all the hallmarks of a larger toothed menace. Two mouse traps baited with peanut butter have been added alongside the surviving melons, to see if some furry fiend is responsible. The strange thing is, the other side of the greenhouse has some nice ripe strawberries that I would imagine being the first thing to disappear. Continue reading

Winter squash planted out but a menace lurks under glass

After a weekend of heavy weeding, the smaller of the ‘wedge’ beds was cleared of the worst of the explosion of spring growth. A nasty assortment of annual and perennial weeds had taken over, including thistles, nettles, couch grass and the ever present creeping buttercup and some as yet unidentified but not quite so invasive sort. We should have covered the bed with weed fabric over winter until ready, as we did with most of the other beds – next winter we plan to cover all bare soil as crops are cleared. It makes life so much easier when planting comes around once again. As much as possible of the perennial roots were dug out, but no doubt some remain. What small growth was left was hoed off and the soil raked over ready for planting. The soil appeared rich enough from previous applications of manure so nothing more was done. Continue reading