More and more families are establishing vegetable gardens in their backyards, and some are even digging up space in the front yards where there may be more sunlight. The reasons for the implosion in the number of small gardens are numerous.
For starters, home raised vegetables are far less expensive than those bought at the store. In addition, the trend towards organic foods is on the upswing. People want to know how their produce was raised and how it was handled. When it’s your garden, you know.
But most important – to me, at least – is the taste. Freshly picked vegetables from a backyard garden are far superior to anything available at stores or even farmers’ markets.
One of my favorite backyard vegetables is the yellow squash. I like squash most any way – fried with onions, batter dipped and fried in slices, baked in casseroles and squash fritters are especially good. You can’t beat a freshly picked squash for flavor and texture.
There is another critter that likes squash – or at least the vines and roots of squash. And that’s the squash vine borer.
The first year I planted squash in my garden, I had six plants that produced enough produce to feed George Washington’s army throughout that dreary winter at Valley Forge. The next year, just after I picked my first batch, the plants mysteriously withered and died. That has happened most every year since, until two years ago when I first used Severin around the roots and got more life and production from my plants.
I read an article that explained that if you want rid of the borers, use Severin early and often. Experts say that every 4 or 5 days you must apply the insecticide. Whereas I had used powdered Severin, I have since bought spray Severin because it can be applied it easier around the roots and vines – where the borers enter. The advice is to spray the plants from the get-go, since the borers attack early in the growth period.
Another hint for growing backyard squash is to rotate the crops, which discourages the borers. Also, stay out of the squash when the leaves may be wet, as that can cause fungal or bacterial diseases.
Finally, keep the garden clean. Remove and destroy any mildewed or diseased leaves and do not place them in the compost pile.
Be on the lookout for other critters like cucumber beetles and squash bugs, but if you can keep the vine borers away, you can enjoy yellow squash throughout the summer.