Hoophouse Squash Variety Trial
A month ago I wrote about our hoophouse squash variety trials for pollination issues and blossom end rot. I think our problem was mostly unpollinated squash, rather than blossom end rot. Go to last month’s post for valuable links to distinguish the two conditions.
We planted 15 Golden Glory zucchini (good at setting fruit without pollinators) along with 25 Gentry yellow squash (a favorite variety, except that we had pollination troubles with it in our hoophouse for several years). The trial is almost over, we’re about to pull those plants, and we have plenty of squash coming in from our outdoor plantings now. The first outdoor planting includes some Golden Glory too, so if I have more news I write about it when it happens.
As I said last time, I recorded the number of small rotting squash we removed. The Golden Glory produced far fewer rotten unpollinated fruit.
|Date||15 Golden Glory plants: rotted fruit||Golden Glory: rotted fruit per plant||25 Gentry plants:
rotted fruit per plant
|Average per plant||0.38||0.97|
But low numbers of rotted fruits is not the only goal! Yield is important too, and the healthiness of the plants (which relates to yield).
We noticed that the plants were starting to die, and we thought of bacterial wilt. But when I tried the test for that disease, the results were negative. The test is to cut through the plant stem, rub the cut ends together, then slowly separate them. If the plant has bacterial wilt, there will be bacterial slime in strings between the stem ends when you slowly draw them apart. We got nothing like that. More research needed!
We pulled the dying squash, put them in a black trash bag and set that in the sun to cook.
Here’s what we found:
|Date||15 Golden Glory plants: Number of healthy plants||Golden Glory: Percentage of plants healthy||25 Gentry plants:
Number of healthy plants
Percentage of plants healthy
Initially, the Gentry started to keel over, then suddenly the Golden Glorys weren’t so glorious!
As far as yield, we did not measure it much. We only have notes from one day, 6/10. We harvested 7 squash from 15 Golden Glory plants (47%) and 14 Gentry from 24 plants (60%). Different people harvested on different days, meaning sometimes they were picked bigger than on other days. My sense is that the Golden Glory were not as productive throughout their harvest period. They are beautiful, the plants are open, easier to harvest from, and we had fewer rotten squash, and initially fewer dying plants. Is this enough to recommend them for an early hoophouse crop in future years?
My inclination is to also try another variety that is rated well for setting fruit without pollinators (hence fewer tiny rotting squash) and try harder to also record yield as well as problems next year!
Our garlic is at the “Trim and Sort” stage, but depending where you garden, yours may be at a completely different stage. See my blogposts from the previous year, when I posted my Alliums for the Month Series.
- Plant Garlic November
- Free Trapped Garlic Shoots December
- Garlic Scallions Feb-April
- Garlic Scapes May
- Harvesting Garlic June
- Snip and Sort Garlic July
- Move Stored Garlic September
- And to sum it all up see My Garlic SlideShow
For people in colder climates than Virginia, you may be just starting to harvest your garlic. Learn from Margaret Roach (who grows in Massachusetts) in A Way to Garden
- Overall garlic-growing basics
- Growing and storing a year of garlic
- The Tricky Matter Of When To Harvest Garlic
- Harvest and curing details
- More on storing (and freezing) for the long haul.
- The full how-to on growing is here
- harvest and curing details here
Here are a couple of allium resources that didn’t make it into the Alliums for the Month Series
Flowers for Organic IPM
This is my post on the Mother Earth News Organic Gardening Blog
Organic Integrated Pest Management involves tackling pest problems one step at a time with ecologically-based practices, starting with reducing the chances of the pest ever getting a grip on your crops. Follow prevention with avoidance, and finish with pest-killing if needed. I recommend the ATTRA online publication Organic Integrated Pest Management. Each page is a poster, complete with good photos and concise clear info.
In May we transplant flowers in our vegetable garden to attract pollinators and pest predators. We like a combination of sunflowers, dill, borage, cosmos, calendula, tithonia (Mexican sunflowers), zinnias. See my earlier Mother Earth News post Insectaries: Grow Flowers to Attract Beneficial Insects
We sow sunflowers about every 10ft (3 m) in each of our bean beds. We are growing sesame surrounded by French marigolds in our hoophouse to deter nematodes, which we have in parts of our hoophouse soil. Sesame is apparently particularly good in deterring root knot nematodes, the type we have.