Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Pumpkin Diaries, 2012, day 1

a pumpkin in Cavemomma's garden from a past successful year

(in my best caveman voice)
Cavemomma **love** pumpkins!

I really do!  (-:  I love pumpkin pie, I love making jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, and I love making pumpkin pinhole cameras.  I love growing pumpkins, with all the anticipation, and little science lessons we have gleaned over the years.  (pollinating pumpkins is the most fun!)  I love stepping around the vines, and I love watching those vines climb into the trees, where pumpkins grow all summer long.

But, for the past 3 years in a row, our young pumpkin plants have fallen prey to squash borers, nipping our pumpkin fun in the bud, usually before the summer ever really gets started!

This year, I want it to be different.

This year, squash borer warfare is on!!!!!!!

I found a great post over at Little House In The Suburbs recently, about the squash borers war going on over there:

It's a funny, inspiring read!  Go get fired up, like I did!

Anyway, one of the responders in the comments had a tactical plan all worked out, using companion-planting and bug-repulsion-planting techniques!  I'm game, so I have adopted it as my plan for raising pumpkins among the squash borers.

Here's how it works:

Here are the players of the Cavemomma pumpkin game.  I chose white Casper pumpkins this year, because I can get them in the ground earlier, and perhaps have bigger, stronger plants around the time the bugs come out.

These are companion-planted with icicle radish, to make the pumpkins as strong and healthy as possible.

Then, a defense zone of nasturtiums (well-known for repelling bugs, including borers) is planted around each pumpkin hill, and around the pumpkin patch perimeter.

There is one more ally not picture above: tobacco ash, planted in the hole with the pumpkin seeds.  Tobacco repels bugs of all sorts, and the idea is that the nicotine is taken up by the pumpkin plant as it grows, keeping the borers from wanting to lay eggs, and the larva from wanting to bore into the stem.   

I went online, and checked with my local Friendly ACE Hardware expert,  and both sources don't recall organic (or not!) tobacco ash, produced for the garden.  So I went to my neighbor for help, and she saved a few days'-worth of used smokes to lend to my cause.  She brought over a beautiful (if you can call it that!) clean pile of tobacco ash for me.  Thanks so much, B!  (-:

Here's a little schematic of how I planted the pumpkin seeds, and their friends:

Here is the planting plan:

I made 4 2-ft long, 1-ft high soil hills, and planted 4 pumpkin seeds each hill.  I put in about 1 tsp tobacco ash in with each pumpkin seed.

Next, icicle radish seeds were planted within 2 inches of the pumpkin seed.  (these radishes are left in the ground, allowed to go to seed after growth)

Finally, nasturtium seeds were planted around each hill of seeds, and around the perimeter of the pumpkin patch.   Nasturtiums have edible flowers and leaves, which have a watercress taste.  I am looking forward to putting some blooms in our salads this summer!

Can you imagine a radishy, flowery pumpkin patch?  I sure can!  I hope it works out!

Here's a picture, from day 1: pumpkin patchcam:

Pumpkin Hills Forever!!!!

Stay tuned!  If you try this plan yourself, please let me know how you are getting on!

No comments:

Post a Comment