Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rustic Woven Hoop Arbor Trellis for Butternut Squash

 
The butternut squash are already everywhere, and it's not even the end of May.
The Sweet Jack corn is as tall as I am and tasseling out ahead of schedule.  I planted very thickly indeed this year, since last year I had two stands of corn lodge over due to the prevailing winds in our backyard.  You can see my sideways trellises to help support the top-heavy stalks now.  No problems so far, and I hope that the close spacing will aid in pollination.  I hand-pollinated last year with good results, but it can be tedious.  (Believe me, I'm exclusively hand-pollinating ALL the yellow squash this year every morning...but more on that anti-squash borer solution later).
 

Squash borers aren't as fond of the winter squash like spaghetti and butternut, because those are much more closely related to gourds.  I grew two gourd plants all along the length of our backyard fence last year and they were never bothered by borers.  We had some leaf-chewing insects but nothing unmanageable.
 
I refuse to use Sevin insecticide.  Homemade garlic-oil spray has worked wonders on the aphids this spring, so that I hardly had a problem at all.  You do have to be careful not to mix it too strong though, or it will burn the leaves of your plant, especially if it is young.
 
But garlic-oil can't get to borer larvae once they're nestled all safe and sound inside your beautiful squash plant.  So butternut squash it is, and I had better start gathering my recipes.  Since the fence is obviously not big enough for these vigorous plants (we're not even into their peak growing season yet!), I spent some time trimming low-hanging branches from my black maple in the front yard, cleaning them and then weaving hoop arbors, which I fastened to the fence for a rustic and functional fence-topper to extend the growing space.
 

 
Weekend garden projects mostly got finished Saturday, so we're planning for some quality family time this Memorial Day.  And you?  Do you have projects or plans?
 
Be well,
--Kathryn