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Growing Squashes & Cucumbers in North Texas

Updated: Feb 15

Episode 5 of our spring vegetable gardening series


Learn the organic way to grow summer squashes, zucchinis, and cucumbers while dealing with the special challenges gardeners face in North Texas. We'll show you how to start your plants from seed and get them off to the best possible start. You'll also learn how to prevent devastating squash vine borers, squash beetles, cucumber beetles and other pests without resorting to toxic pesticides.


Watch the video:


Read the transcript:

Good morning. Welcome to Tangle Vines: Summer Squashes and Cucumbers. In this class we're going to talk about - hopefully -- how to grow squashes and cucumbers all the way from seed starting to harvest. I'm Joyce and this is Tammy. Tammy is going to be your leader today and this is episdoe 5 of our series -- spring series on vegetable gardening for North Texas.


We'll start with how to grow squashes and how to plant them from seed. And most importantly how to protect your crop from dreaded squash bugs and vine borers.


But before we begin, we want to review what we've done in our previous classes and show you the progress that we've made in our garden. So we're going to start by doing that.


So look at these potatoes. These are huge. When were you going to hill them?


I'm hilling them today.


Today, okay, so this is what, about 2 feet tall?


Yes.


These are our garlic and those are --


The yellow leaves are --


Yes, that's debris from the wind.


Our bok choi has flowered, so that's no good to eat anymore.


So we're going to take it out.


Yes, it needs to come out and the cauliflower needs to come out but we thought the flowers were pretty.


This kale is still doing fine.


That's my dinosaur.


Yes, and the cabbage is taking over. This is our Chinese cabbage. I wanted to show these. Aphids on here. We have not sprayed any of this with any kind of pesticides and if you look on the back side of this leave you will see millions of aphids.


What color onion do you want for lunch?


What color? Yesterday I had red, so I think I'll go with white today.


I'm going to pull this one just so that people can see just how big our onions are getting.


Yes. They're really starting to turn round.


Yes, they're really bulbing now.


And then if they come on down here, my radishes have gotten huge. And they're pretty close to done. With the radishes as they grow, they push themselves out of the ground.


But they grew so fast.


She was just asking how do we get the dill to be so big and bushy. And as Tammy explained, there are actually 2 plants in here that have grown together. But look how beautiful it is and it smells wonderful.


Here's our pepper. It's still pretty small. It hasn't taken off yet.


It's small and it hasn't taken off but I think that's my Bandit's doing.


Oh, speak of the Devil, he's right over there.


He dug it up the other day. It had to be put back in the ground.


Here's our purple beans.


Ooo. Look at those.


If you look really close, you can see they are fixing to start blooming. So we're going to start having purple beans here pretty soon.


If you look here on our sweet pea, you can see I harvest them almost daily and eat 5 or 6 a day. Just because they are so sweet and they taste so good. Nice and crunchy. One thing I can say is, you know, we used a very good mixture in our soil when we did our raised bed and did all of the pots. We have not had to fertilize yet. With all of this growth. So it's been a good 60 days since we started the garden, so I will be fertilizing with fish and seaweed. But even our marigolds are looking awesome.


The only thing that we have not had really good luck with so far is my carrots. They are starting to grow a little bit but let me tell you, I'm not a patient person. I want to put it in the ground and I want to see some real stuff going on.


I had one bigger looking one and I did -- I pulled it so I could see what he was doing and he wasn't doing nothing.


Now that we've taken our little tour, I guess we'll talk about squashes and cucumbers.


I had planned on already having starter plants for this week but my vendor couldn't get to me. The order was there. It was coming out of Louisiana and he had no truck driver. So I did not get the veggie order I was planning on. My other 2 vegetable vendors have not had anything ready for me the last 2 weeks. So it's kind of hard getting all of this stuff in (due to Covid), so the things that we can start by seed -- I did get a new seed shipment in. I'm going to tell you, go ahead and try to do it by seed.


You see that our radishes went over really, really well. Can't say anything about carrots, but the radishes did good. I think we can do the same thing with squash and with cucumbers.


Germination is between 8 and 10 days. So if you were to start your seeds this week, by next week you'll have your little seedlings up. It will put you probably 3 weeks behind what it would have started with a 4-inch start. But we still have enough cool weather.


Our cucumbers and squashes do not start really developing until it starts getting a lot warmer -- kind of like our okra and watermelons - that kind of thing. So we still have time to start by seed and we're not going to miss anything. It's a little late to be starting tomatoes by seed, but those things you can start by seed.


When you're starting them by seed, I would say always use some kind of seed inoculant. If you don't want to soak your seed in seaweed or in a liquid bio start, you can use the Espoma Bio-tone, which is a dry seed inoculant that you can put in the soil. I kind of like letting my see float and then taking it out and planting it.


How long does it have to soak?


I do it for 24 hours.


I think you could probably do it a little bit faster if you had to but --


Overnight.


Yes, overnight. You put them in today -- put them in your solution today, take them out tomorrow and put them in the soil. You should be good. The seeds that I did the first time, I did not do them that way. I just put them straight in the ground and then I watered in with the seaweed. So I didn't soak them. I think I would have gotten a quicker germination if I would have soaked them. Soaking them like that usually cuts down on your germination by 3 or 4 days. So that's good.


Some things just germinate so easy that I don't see why you would do it. Like radishes. They germinate, like, yesterday. You plant them today, they did it yesterday.


Your beans and peas and stuff are another thing that germinate really, really quickly. Usually the softer the seed, the quicker they will germinate. The really hard seeds are really hard to get to germinate.


So this stuff -- the cucumbers and the zucchini -- we would just soak overnight and then plant them.


You want your seeds a half inch to an inch into the soil. Put your finger in there and drop the seed. If you get them in too deep and it just takes longer for it to finally make it's way up to the top. If you get it in too shallow, it doesn't get good root structure. So you do want to try to make them that half inch to an inch.


One of the biggest problems that we have here is going to be your squash vine borers. Squash vine borers attack cucumbers also.


It's a little moth. I think it's beautiful. Joyce thinks it's ugly. I think it's really, really pretty. But she will lay her eggs on the underside of the leaf and in the stems. Those eggs -- it takes about 10 to 12 days for them to hatch. Then that little guy is going to go into the stem and your stems kind of will fold in on themselves. They can't get the moisture that the need and you'll have a dead plant.


They hollow out the stem. They hollow it out and they leave behind this squishy mess.


They hollow out the stem which causes it to collapse but it makes like a mooshy mess in there.


You can go in and look and it's got all kinds of -- I looked at it online.


You can do surgery but I'm not going to hunt those little worms out and take them out. But if you go in and look, you have the litter and everything and you have no meat inside your stems any more.


If you will go out -- because your timing is about 10 days -- if once a week you go out and inspect your leaves, you can see if you've got eggs layed in there. And the moth lays a pretty little kind of yellow golden egg. And if you see that, you can either scrape it off and smoosh them between your fingers.


If you don't want to smoosh them, you can take a knife and put them in soapy water -- just soap and water. That will kill them and then you can just dump them out somewhere.


Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) will slow them down. You can spray like once every 7 to 10 days. Spray and it will slow down the development of the eggs. And the little worms it will take care of. Some people have tried taking BT and injecting it into the vine itself. You take a syringe and inject it. That's a little more work than I want to do for squash. I can usually find my farmer's market that has organic squash.


I don't have time to be out there, to start with.


But just spraying is going to slow it down. Make sure that you're watching your leaves will slow it down.


The other thing that they say works -- I don't know, but I will tell you -- is putting out yellow bowls of water. Maybe with a little bit of soap in it. But the yellow, that's what attracts the squash vine moth. So if you do the yellow bowls, they'll be attracted to that yellow bowl and the water and they drown in the water. So that's another very organic way of controlling these guys.


The other bug that you're going to have problems with is the squash beetle. Squash beetles look like stink bugs. You'll probably mistake them for stink bugs because when you squash them, they both stink.


Your squash beetle is going to be a little bit rounder, flat on the top, and then if you flip him over he'll have little orange stripes on his under side. And so you know that he's a squash beetle.


Squash beetles are very difficult to control. There's not really an organic control for them. You can take and go and pick them, put them in a glass of water with a little bit of soap and they'll drown. Also, because they like to get under flat things at night, so if you put a board across your garden at night, the next morning you can get up, take that board, flip it over and you'll have a bunch of them on the bottom. Then you just squish them all. That's going to be your best control of squash beetles.


Since we are organic, we do not want to suggest any kind of chemical control. If you do have to use a chemical control, may we just need to not grow that crop and find another. I'm just ripping you out and you're going in the dumpster.


That's how I turned organic, is that I did not want to spray chemicals all the time. Everytime I try to spray a chemical, I have an asthma attack. So I quit doing that. Now, if I have a problem where I can't use organics, I just go out there and rip out the plants and throw them in the trash and then I don't have a problem with them any more.


Question:

When you plant your squash seeds, do you plant a single one per hole or do you do 2 or 3? I always plant 2 or 3 in one hole and then go to the next. You need to plant them about 18 inches apart. That way, with that 1 hole, if you get all 3, man you've done good. You can pull one out. But you might not get all 3. You might only get 1.


The Farmer's Almanac says that you should always put 3 seeds in a hole -- 1 for you, 1 for the birds, and 1 for God.


Question:

I lost my zucchini and my yellow squash to a white powdery fungus.


Yes, that would be powdery mildew. So number one, make sure you're not over watering. Make sure you're not watering at night or on top of the leaves. Always water the soil. Powdery mildew attacks when things are staying too wet.


They attack our crape myrtles something horrible. We put our crape myrtles in the landscape, you're watering your grass all summer to beat the heat and therefore our crape myrtles get too much water and it causes the powdery mildew on them.


It's a fungus. You can put Neem. Neem is a really good source. One thing I will say is that Neem is an oil and if the sunlight hits the oil, it can burn your plants. So either do it early in the morning to where you know the leaf is going to dry before the sun comes out or do it late in the evening after the sun's gone down.


How often do we fertilize? It depends.


If you're just in a regular pot, you like, like we're doing our pots, I would about -- and we're doing organics -- I would say every 30 to 45 days. If you're doing a raised bed, they don't lose as much as fast, so I'd say 60 days.


Question: Is trellising a good idea?


I do think trellising is a good idea. It keeps things up off the ground to where you don't have to worry as much about the soil staying too wet and rotting the plant. And vertical gardening is awesome.


Question: What's the best way to trellis a plant?


If you have a fence line, like we've got. I'm going to trellis the squash and the cucumbers against my fence back here. I'm just going to let it grow up and I'll use the plastic tape to make sure that they stay on the fence. I'm going to do that with our cantaloupe and watermelons also because cantaloupe and watermelon get really, really big for a little bit of fruit. It would take over your entire garden with one plant. You want to have more than one plant.


You could use fence, you could use regular trellis, you could use lattice work. You can do the teepee, like we did with our beans. Those would be fine with the cucumbers and the squash. Maybe not cantaloupe or watermelon because they'll get so heavy. For those, you'll want something stronger. You could even take 2 pieces of lattice and lean them against each other in an A-frame or teepee shape. And you could get them to grow up on that. Just cover the row with it and they'll go up and you'll be able to harvest from that.


You do have to plan on a large area when you're growing these guys. Some of our gardens are just way too small to grow cantaloupe or watermelons. But we're going to try this year. I will take over this whole fence line.


I have my Sweet 100s in that corner and I'm kind of worrying about it because now that the trees have started leafing out I'm not getting a lot of sun right now. And that's where I wanted to grow it was in the corner so I could get it to go up. So I might have to move it back this way. I'll have to watch the sun for a while. But I'm going to do it because the Sweet 100s get really huge. It's an indeterminate. They just keeps growing and growing and growing. So I wanted to do it there so that it would have lots of room to spread out and hang up there. But we'll see how it works out.


Snails and slugs and pill bugs do a lot of damage at the soil level. So use Sluggo Plus. Sluggo Plus kills pill bugs in addition to both slugs and and snails. Shake it out in your garden to keep these guys from taking over. And then reapply it about every 30 days.


Question: Do you need to "socially distance" your squashes and cucumbers away from your tomatoes?


No.


Question: I had a tomato plant that grew really big but never produced any fruit.


What were you fertilizing with?


Miracle Gro.


OMG! So this year I want you to get either the Espoma Tomato-tone or Garden-tone. Either one. The stuff that you were fertilizing with has way too much nitrogen. It will cause lots of green growth but it's going to do nothing for buds or blooms and that kind of thing.


The second thing. Make sure you're not running your bees and pollinators off. Because you have to have those.


Third, don't water from the top. If you water from the top, any cross pollination you've got can wash off and then you won't get as much fruit.


Just make sure it's all organic and that it's not an organic fertilizer that's for green growth. You want your nitrogen, potassium and phosphate to be roughly even, like 6-2-4.


If you do those things, you'll have better luck this year.


Question: For the last 2 years, er squash has lots of yellow flowers but no fruits.


It's probably a pollination problem. Introduce something that's going to bring in the pollinators. African Blue basil or other ornamental basils, marigolds, borage. Just bring in things that bees are really going to want to come and eat.


Joyce was talking earlier about how we're letting the aphids just sit there and we're letting them sit there because it's bringing in lady bugs. And so you can get your own little eco system going and they'll take care of everything in your garden.


Question: How to get rid of fire ants in raised beds.


You can drench it with diatomaceous earth and water. You can also use the Fire Ant Mound Drench. It's got pyrethrin. Not pemrethrin -- pyrethrin -- in it. Once you get them out of your bed, use a little bit of dried molasses. Sprinkle it across the top. Fire ants are a putried ant, they're not a sweet ant, so it will keep the fire ants from making a new home in your bed.


Is it a good idea to have it in your garden beforehand?


You can. It's not going to hurt anything. We use dried molasses all the time on our landscapes because it actually feeds all of your beneficial microorganisms in the soil.


We have something called Stimulate, which is humate and dried molasses mixed together. That you can put on your lawn and in your beds.


In our next episode, we'll talk more about vines because we'll be discussing cantaloupes and watermelons. We hope you'll join us.



Learn More

Read our post, "How to Beat Squash Bugs" to learn more about how to prevent and treat for squash vine borers and squash beetles:


Watch this short video to learn how to set up your vine borer trap.

Good morning. Welcome to Tangle Vines: Summer Squashes and Cucumbers. In this class we're going to talk about - hopefully -- how to grow squashes and cucumbers all the way from seed starting to harvest. I'm Joyce and this is Tammy. Tammy is going to be your leader today and this is episdoe 5 of our series -- spring series on vegetable gardening for North Texas.


We'll start with how to grow squashes and how to plant them from seed. And most importantly how to protect your crop from dreaded squash bugs and vine borers.


But before we begin, we want to review what we've done in our previous classes and show you the progress that we've made in our garden. So we're going to start by doing that.


So look at these potatoes. These are huge. When were you going to hill them?


I'm hilling them today.


Today, okays, so this is what, about 2 feet tall?


Yeah.


These are our garlic and those are --


The yellow leaves are --


Yeah, that's debris from the wind.


Our bok choi has flowered, so that's no good to eat anymore.


So we're going to take it out.


Yeah, it needs to come out and the cauliflower needs to come out but we thought the flowers were pretty.


This kale is still doing fine.


That's my dinasaur.


Yeah, and the cabbage is taking over. This is our Chinese cabbage. I wanted to show these. Aphids on here. We have not sprayed any of this with any kind of pesticides and if you look on the back side of this leave you will see millions of aphids.


What color onion do you want for lunch?


What color? Yesterday I had red, so I think I'll go with white today.


I'm going to pull this one just so that people can see just how big our onions are getting.


Yeah. They're really starting to turn round.


Yeah, they're really bulbing now.


And then if they come on down here, my radishes have gotten huge. And they're pretty close to done. With the radishes as they grow, they push themselves out of the ground.


But they grew so fast.


She was just asking how do we get the dill to be so big and bushy. And as Tammy explained, there are actually 2 plants in here that have grown together. But look how beautiful it is and it smells wonderful.


Here's our pepper. It's still pretty small. It hasn't taken off yet.


It's small and it hasn't taken off but I think that's my Bandit's doing.


Oh, speak of the Devil, he's right over there.


He dug it up the other day. It had to be put back in the ground.


Here's our purple beans.


Ooo. Look at those.


If you look really close, you can see they are fixing to start blooming. So we're going to start having purple beans here pretty soon.


If you look here on our sweet pea, you can see I harvest them almost daily and eat 5 or 6 a day. Just because they are so sweet and they taste soo good. Nice and crunchy. One thing I can say is, you know, we used a very good mixture in our soil when we did our raised bed and did all of the pots. We have not had to fertilize yet. With all of this growth. So it's been a good 60 days since we started the garden, so I will be fertilizing with fish and seaweed. But even our marigolds are looking awesome.


The only thing that we have not had really good luck with so far is my carrots. They are starting to grow a little bit but let me tell you, I'm not a patient person. I want to put it in the ground and I want to see some real stuff going on.


I had one bigger looking one and I did -- I pulled it so I could see what he was doing and he wasn't doing nothing.


Now that we've taken our little tour, I guess we'll talk about squashes and cucumbers.


I had planned on already having starter plants for this week but my vendor couldn't get to me. The order was there. It was coming out of Louisiana and he had no truck driver. So I did not get the veggie order I was planning on. My other 2 vegetable vendors have not had anything ready for me the last 2 weeks. So it's kind of hard getting all of this stuff in (due to Covid), so the things that we can start by seed -- I did get a new seed shipment in. I'm going to tell you, go ahead and try to do it by seed.


You see that our radishes went over really, really well. Can't say anything about carrots, but the radishes did good. I think we can do the same thing with squash and with cucumbers.


Germination is between 8 and 10 days. So if you were to start your seeds this week, by next week you'll have your little seedlings up. It will put you probably 3 weekds behind what it would have started with a 4-inch start. But we still have enough cool weather.


Our cucumbers and squash do not start really developing until it starts getting a lot warmer -- kind of like our okra and watermelons - that kind of thing. So we still have time to start by seed and we're not going to miss anything. It's a little late to be starting tomatoes by seed, but those things you can start by seed.


When you're starting them by seed, I would say always use some kind of seed inoculant. If you don't want to soak your seed in seaweed or in a liquid bio start, you can use the Espoma Bio-tone, which is a dry seed inoculant that you can put in the soil. I kind of like letting my see float and then taking it out and planting it.


How long does it have to soak?


I do it for 24 hours.


I think you could probably do it a little bit faster if you had to but --


Overnight.


Yes, overnight. You put them in today -- put them in your solution today, take them out tomorrow and put them in the soil. You should be good. The seeds that I did the first time, I did not do them that way. I just put them straight in the ground and then I watered in with the seaweed. So I didn't soak the. I think I would have gotten a quicker germination if I would have soaked them. Soaking them like that usually cuts down on your germination by 3 or 4 days. So that's good.


Some things just germinate so easy that I don't see why you would do it. Like radishes. They germinate, like, yesterday. You plant them today, they did it yesterday.


Your beans and peas and stuff are another thing that germinate readlly, really quickly. Usually the softer the seed, the quicker they will germinate. The really hard seeds are really hard to get to germinate.


So this stuff -- the cucumbers and the zuchinni -- we would just soak overnight and then plant them.


You want your seeds a half inch to an inch into the soil. Put your finger in there and drop the seed. If you get them in too deep and it just takes longer for it to finally make it's way up to the top. If you get it in too shallow, it doesn't get good root structure. So you do want to try to make them that half inch to an inch.


One of the biggest problems that we have here is going to be your squash vine borers. Squash vine borers attack cucumbers also.


It's a little moth. I think it's beautiful. Joyce thinks it's ugly. I think it's really, really pretty. But she will lay her eggs on the underside of the leaf and in the stems. Those eggs -- it takes about 10 to 12 days for them to hatch. Then that little guy is going to go into the stem and your stems kind of will fold in on themselves. They can't get the moisture that the need and you'll have a dead plant.


They hollow out the stem. They hollow it out and they leave behind this squishy mess.


They hollow out the stem which causes it to collapse but it makes like a mooshy mess in there.


You can go in and look and it's got all kinds of -- I looked at it online.


You can do surgery but I'm not going to hunt those little worms out and take them out. But if you go in and look, you have the litter and everything and you have no meat inside your stems any more.


If you will go out -- because your timing is about 10 days -- if once a week you go out and inspect your leaves, you can see if you've got eggs layed in there. And the moth lays a pretty little kind of yellow golden egg. And if you see that, you can either scrape it off and smoosh them between your fingers.


If you don't want to smoosh them, you can take a knife and put them in soapy water -- just soap and water. That will kill them and then you can just dump them out somewhere.


Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) will slow them down. You can spray like once every 7 to 10 days. Spray and it will slow down the development of the eggs.

And the little worms it will take care of. Some people have tried taking BT and injecting it into the vine itself. You take a syringe and inject it. That's a little more work than I want to do for squash. I can usually find my farmer's market that has organic squash.


I don't have time to be out there, to start with.


But just spraying is going to slow it down. Make sure that you're watching your leaves will slow it down.


The other thing that they say works -- I don't know, but I will tell you -- is putting out yellow bowls of water. Maybe with a little bit of soap in it. But the yellow, that's what attracts the squash vine moth. So if you do the yellow bowls, they'll be attracted to that yellow bowl and the water and they drown in the water. So that's another very organic way of controlling these guys.


The other bug that you're going to have problems with is the squash beetle. Squash beetles look like stink bugs. You'll probably mistake them for stink bugs because when you squash them, they both stink.


Your squash beetle is going to be a little bit rounder, flat on the top, and then if you flip him over he'll have little orange stripes on his under side. And so you know that he's a squash beetle.


Squash beetles are very difficult to control. There's not really an organic control for them. You can take and go and pick them, put them in a glass of water with a little bit of soap and they'll drown. Also, because they like to get under flat things at night, so if you put a board across your garden at night, the next morning you can get up, take that board, flip it over and you'll have a bunch of them on the bottom. Then you just squish them all. That's going to be your best control of squash beetles.


Since we are organic, we do not want to suggest any kind of chemical control. If you do have to use a chemical control, may we just need to not grow that crop and find another. I'm just ripping you out and you're going in the dumpster.


That's how I turned organic, is that I did not want to spray chemicals all the time. Everytime I try to spray a chemical, I have an asthma attack. So I quit doing that. Now, if I have a problem where I can't use organics, I just go out there and rip out the plants and throw them in the trash and then I don't have a problem with them any more.


Question:

When you plant your squash seeds, do you plant a single one per hole or do you do 2 or 3? I always plant 2 or 3 in one hole and then go to the next. You need to plant them about 18 inches apart. That way, with that 1 hole, if you get all 3, man you've done good. You can pull one out. But you might not get all 3. You might only get 1.


The Farmer's Almanac says that you should always put 3 seeds in a hole -- 1 for you, 1 for the birds, and 1 for God.


Question:

I lost my zucchini and my yellow squash to a white powdery fungus.


Yes, that would be powdery mildew. So number 1, make sure you're not over watering. Make sure you're not watering at night or on top of the leaves. Always water the soil. Powdery mildew attacks when things are staying too wet.


They attack our crape myrtles something horrible. We put our crape myrtles in the landscape, you're watering your grass all summer to beat the heat and therefore our crape myrtles get too much water and it causes the powdery mildew on them.


It's a fungus. You can put Neem. Neem is a really good source. One thing I will say is that Neem is an oil and if the sunlight hits the oil, it can burn your plants. So either do it early in the morning to where you know the leaf is going to dry before the sun comes out or do it late in the evening after the sun's gone down.


How often do we fertilize? It depends.


If you're just in a regular pot, you like, like we're doing our pots, I would about -- and we're doing organics -- I would say every 30 to 45 days. If you're doing a raised bed, they don't lose as much as fast, so I'd say 60 days.


Is trellising a good idea?


I do think trellising is a good idea. It keeps things up off the ground to where you don't have to worry as much about the soil staying too wet and rotting the plant. And vertical gardening is awesome.


What's the best way to trellis a plant?

If you have a fence line, like we've got. I'm going to trellis the squash and the cucumbers against my fence back here. I'm just going to let it grow up and I'll use the plastic tape to make sure that they stay on the fence. I'm going to do that with our cantaloupe and watermelons also because cantaloupe and watermelon get really, really big for a little bit of fruit. It would take over your entire garden with one plant. You want to have more than one plant.


You could use fence, you could use regular trellis, you could use lattice work. You can do the teepee, like we did with our beans. Those would be fine with the cucumbers and the squash. Maybe not cantaloupe or watermelon because they'll get so heavy. For those, you'll want something stronger. You could even take 2 pieces of lattice and lean them against each other in an A-frame or teepee shape. And you could get them to grow up on that. Just cover the row with it and they'll go up and you'll be able to harvest from that.


You do have to plan on a large area when you're growing these guys. Some of our gardens are just way too small to grow canteloupe or watermelons. But we're going to try this year. I will take over this whole fence line.


I have my Sweet 100s in that corner and I'm kind of worrying about it because now that the trees have started leafing out I'm not getting a lot of sun right now. And that's where I wanted to grow it was in the corner so I could get it to go up. So I might have to move it back this way. I'll have to watch the sun for a while. But I'm going to do it because the Sweet 100s get really huge. It's an indeterminant. They just keeps growing and growing and growing. So I wanted to do it there so that it would have lots of room to spread out and hang up there. But we'll see how it works out.


Snails and slugs and pill bugs do a lot of damage at the soil level. So use Sluggo Plus. Sluggo Plus kills pill bugs in addition to both slugs and and snails. Shake it out in your garden to keep these guys from taking over. And then reapply it about every 30 days.


Do you need to "socially distance" your squashes and cucumbers away from your tomatoes?


No.


I had a tomato plant that grew really big but never produced any fruit.


What were you fertilizing with?


Miracle Gro.


OMG!So this year I want you to get either the Espoma Tomato-tone or Garden-tone. Either one. The stuff that you were fertilizing with has way too much nitrogen. It will cause lots of green growth but it's going to do nothing for buds or blooms and that kind of thing.


The second thing. Make sure you're not running your bees and pollinators off. Because you have to have those.


Third, don't water from the top. If you water from the top, any cross pollination you've got can wash off and then you won't get as much fruit.


Just make sure it's all organic and that it's not an organic fertilizer that's for green growth. You want your nitrogen, potassium and phosphate to be roughly even, like 6-2-4.


If you do those things, you'll have better luck this year.


Question:

For the last 2 years, er squash has lots of yellow flowers but no fruits.


It's probably a pollination problem. Introduce something that's going to bring in the pollinators. African

Blue basil or other ornamental basils, marigolds, borage. Just bring in things that bees are really going to want to come and eat.


Joyce was talking earlier about how we're letting the aphids just sit there and we're letting them sit there because it's bringing in lady bugs. And so you can get your own little eco system going and they'll take care of everything in your garden.


How to get rid of fire ants in raised beds. You can drench it with diatomaceous earth and water. You can also use the Fire Ant Mound Drench. It's got pyrethrin. Not pemrethrin -- pyrethrin -- in it. Once you get them out of your bed, use a little bit of dried molasses. Sprinkle it across the top. Fire ants are a putried ant, they're not a sweet ant, so it will keep the fire ants from making a new home in your bed.


Is it a good idea to have it in your garden beforehand?


You can. It's not going to hurt anything. We use dried molasses all the time on our landscapes because it actually feeds all of your beneficial microorganisms in the soil.


We have something called Stimulate, which is humate and dried molasses mixed together. That you can put on your lawn and in your beds.


In our next episode, we'll talk more about vines because we'll be discussing cantaloupes and watermelons. We hope you'll join us.






Watch other episodes of our spring vegetable gardening series:

Spring in North Texas is actually several gardening seasons in one. Follow along with us through the changing weather as we grow our own organic demonstration garden. Each episode focuses on a different phase of the spring season as we show you what you can plant and when to plant it, how to grow it and how to care for it using our time-tested organic methods.


Episode 1: Cool Greens & Rockin' Roots introduces you to growing lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, and other green leafy vegetables, along with root veggies, such as radishes, carrots, and beets.


In Buried Treasures, we show you how to plant onions, potatoes and garlic. Plus we update you on the progress of our early plantings.


Tomatoes and peppers are by far the most popular edibles to grow, so how could we not devote a class on how to grow these must-have veggies?


As our weather warms up, the bugs come out and nothing's worse than being harassed by mosquitoes, fire ants and other pests while you're working in your garden. Along with our weekly update on our demonstration garden, Episode 4 of Spring Veggie Gardening in North Texas talks about the latest and greatest all natural, organic controls to protect yourself and your family from dangerous and otherwise pesty pests.

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