Monday, April 6, 2009

Squash Hills - Are These Correct?

For those who followed last year, you may remember that I had some issues with squash hills. I followed the directions for doing such, but every time I watered it seemed a bit more dirt came down. Eventually, roots were getting exposed and I simply couldn't keep those thirsty plants watered enough.

Well, I've looked for pictures, gone back through my books and tried again. Did I do it right?

Each hill is about 18 inches in diameter and a little more than 3 feet apart peak to peak. There are 6 hills and they each have 4 seeds planted around the perimeter of the top. The patch is a rough triangle about 10 feet to a side.

If you see how nice and loamy my soil is, I'm wondering if that very loamy-ness is what is letting the dirt fall down when I water.

So, if this is right, how do I water without undercutting the structure of the hill? Also, how much should I thin. Just to two per hill?

Should I surround the plants with straw and cover the hill with it once they sprout, or maybe right now, and simply water the straw? I didn't do that last year because I read it promotes powdery mildew by keeping things too damp.

I would so much appreciate any good wisdom out there! I need as much squash and zucchini as I can get for drying over the winter.


Milah said...

I don't know if I will be of much help. I don't raise squash, but I do raise pumpkins and zucchini. If the water is washing the soil away then I would poke small holes in the hill and pour water into those holes very slowly. You may have to continue to hill it up until the soil settles. As far as how much you should thin out, I would thin it out to two plants per hill.
Good luck!

fullfreezer said...

I have never bothered to actually 'hill' my hills of squash or cucumbers. Oh, maybe an inch or two, but really, I just cluster the seeds around a central point about 8-10 inches in diameter so the vines can spread outward from there.
Sorry, That probably wasn't much help.

Ruralrose said...

What kind of squash? You would be surprised at how big one plant can get. I would say you only have room for 3 plants total in that triangle. Craming plants doesn't give more food, it makes smaller food. The reason they ask you to plant so many seeds is (so you will buy more seed) and to cover your duff if they don't germinate. The mound is because they consume a lot of fertilized soil and they like their roots warm. Mulching the whole bed with straw would be great to keep your soil in place. Try to water the moat between the mounds. I do my squash in tires because I hate fussing over them. Come visit I will post a picture. Peace


My dad...the guy with the bright green thumb....pats them flat on top. and then plants the seeds in them. but i tell you this much. you arean't giving yourself enough room. each mound should be at least 1-2 feet apart from the next one. Zuc's are huge plants. all squash are pretty big.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I was going to suggest mulch too. One thing I'm trying this year is to use milk jugs to water. Basically, you poke holes in bottom 2 or 3 inches, bury them near the plant. When you need to water, fill the milk jug up and the water will slowly leak out. I don't know how well it'll do, but with raised beds and our wind, plants here need a lot of water.

ATW said...

Hmm that looks like a challenge. I see what you are saying about loosing the integrity of the soil when you water them because it seems like unless the roots have a place to take root they wont be able to get a foot hold.

From everything that I read about the hills, I like them. I will try maybe next year.

What I will do is build another box around the mound of dirt, and lasagna layer it with compost and other material, chop the ground up underneath and form my hills in the raised bed or box.

I think that way the plants will be able to dig deep into the ground and hold and I might solve the watering problem. I look forward to seeing how everything turns out for you. Good post.