Sunday, September 29, 2013

Butternut Blues

This is what I'm finding on my butternuts.  About half the little squash are rotting and I suspect blossom end rot or blossom blight.  I grow in raised beds filled with a mixture of compost, peat and vermiculite (Mels mix).  I've never had this happen before, but I've never had my soil tested, either.  This just started showing up on new fruit following heavy rains over the last few weeks.  I plan to give the plants a dose of calcium (blossom end rot spray for tomatoes) and see if that helps the next round of squash.  I also just got a bag of worm castings and want to give it a try.  I put in a couple of inches of compost before planting this bed, but haven't given them any fertilizer since planting.  I need to get better with fertilizing and using preventative organic sprays.  This time of year, it isn't a case of if bugs or disease invade the garden, but when.  This keeps many Florida gardeners from planting a fall garden.  Some just feel it isn't worth the effort.  I disagree.  You just have to be diligent and organized.  I'm working on the organized part. 

The plants, in general, look great and are growing like crazy with all this rain.  I have several healthy looking squash on the vines.  Hope to keep them.  This is my first attempt at butternuts and first successful attempt at winter squash.  Last year's August planted winter squash got powdery mildew and squash borers and died before giving me any usable fruit.  

In the front is a cocozelle (zucchini) squash and the early butternuts are climbing up the trellis in the corner, behind the cocozelles.  They are planted pretty close together, so I think they will benefit from a mid season feeding.  I'm using the zucchini plant to shade some broccoli seedlings and a basil plant while I prepare their planting areas.  At the far left is a glimpse of kohlrabi.  My first time planting those. They were requested by my five year old who saw the photos on the seedling tag and thought they looked cool.  How could I say no?  After looking up the plants on my phone and reading they are a brassica from Germany, I grabbed two packs of nine-a purple and a white/green.  I've never met a brassica I didn't like and my maiden name is about as German as you can get so I'm excited about these odd looking little veggies.

Well, it's time for me to say "gute Nacht!"

Thanks for reading,

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