Monday, June 18, 2012

To row or not to row (cover)

This is a read and discuss post.
Please read, then discuss below!

We have read about the vile and despicable vine borer.
We bought 250 feet of floating row cover.
Our seeds went in two weeks ago and now have a few adolescent leaves.
But now I'm wondering if the tender new plants can handle the (current) heat and dry ground under a tent. Will we cook the squash before it's even fruited?

Your thoughts?

Can this tender young thing handle the heat under a tent of floating row cover?


  1. Tough question, Josh! I would say it probably can. We had bad results putting row cover on our brassicas this year because of the heat, but that mostly affects germination and not growth. Squash can handle the heat pretty well. The only issue I could think of is that depending on how long they've been in the ground, the vine borers might have found them already...

  2. I agree with Matt. I would be worried about dryness before heat. If the plants are well hydrated, they will handle the heat ok. Expect the leaves to wilt with direct sun light. The should perk up once the sun is off of them.

    Perhaps I've been lucky but I have never had vine borers attack adolesent plants. Usually they like a stem that is 1/2" or larger.


  3. Cover first 12 inches of vine with aluminum foil to "foil" the egg laying of squash borers.


    1. Thanks Marlene. Our plants are so very small and young, maybe the borers have no where to go in our stems yet!

  4. Josh do you know Sarah Nordberg at church? Loves using row cover on her garden. Ask her. Marsha Hall

  5. If any of you know Phil Pelitteri, the UW entymologist who's on TV and the radio all the time, he lives one block from me and we gab about garden bugs from time to time.I asked him about vine borers because they have ruined my squash almost every year. He recommended AGAINST row covers because 1) heat 2) inhibit growth/stem strength (if plant is straining under them like mine were, and 3) inhibit pollinators (more important once female flowers develop but this year everything's early).
    He suggested an organic product put out by Bonide called "Captain Jack's Deadbug". Active ingredient is spinosid and it kills eggs and worms. I got some at Jung's and have been spraying my squash plants 6" from base every 4 days. Will continue through June as I think borer wasps will be gone after that.

  6. I would advise against using chemicals...

  7. We've discussed our options and decided to install the row covers. There is another bug (not the vine borer) eating the tender young leaves. We'll get it off well before pollination becomes an issue (our seeds got in late, they're still very young. Thanks all for your comments! Josh