The How to Grow It Project

How to Grow Squash

Maybe the most important thing you need to know is that the squash vine borer goes after many varieties of squash and the borer will probably kill the vine before any fruit ripens. A moth lays its eggs on the vine, a caterpillar crawls out and proceeds to eat its way through the vine. The symptoms are that the leaves wilt and there is the brown caterpillar frass on the vine.

The simplest solution is to grow butternut squash (Curcubita moschata, the kind with the long neck) since the squash vine borer will do little or no damage to this variety because the vines are solid rather than hollow. Other types of squash like turban squash and acorn squash (C. pepo) and cantaloupes (musk melons) will be ruined.

My father ran across a plan to thwart the borers: plant nasturtiums and marigolds around the squash plants and this did indeed work, we managed to get some turban squash to mature after two years of failure due to borers.

If you already have the problem one quick fix is to slit open the vine, pick out the caterpillar(s) and tie the vine together again. A second fix is to root the vine at various places beyond the squash vine borer by burying the vine and a leaf in the soil.

Other ways to deal with the borers is listed in the Gardens Alive catalog.

Here are some references to the squash vine borer:

If you have any questions or comments, write me.

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