Growing Squash Vertically: A Guide To Beginners
The first thing you need to do when it comes to growing squash is to make sure your soil is not too acidic or alkaline. If it’s too acidic, then the roots will die off quickly. If it’s too alkaline, then the plants won’t grow well at all. Soil pH levels are measured with a hydrometer.
You can buy one online for $10-$15.
If you’re going to grow your own vegetables, you’ll want to use organic ingredients whenever possible. Organic produce is generally grown without pesticides and fertilizers. However, if you have access to commercial produce, then go ahead and purchase it. Organic produce usually costs more than nonorganic ones because they don’t require as much labor and processing time.
You’ll also want to choose a location where you can get full sun. Too little sunlight and the leaves will wither and eventually fall off. Too much sunlight and the plant may not survive long enough to reach maturity. Sunlight intensity is measured with a photometer like this one here .
It’s pretty cheap ($20) so it makes life easier for everyone!
When it comes to watering, just water when necessary. Don’t water too much or else the roots will suffer. If the leaves begin to wither and fall off, then you’re watering your plants too much. If the leaves begin to shrivel up and discolor, then you need to water them more.
Fertilizer is also necessary if you want a successful crop. You can either purchase commercial inorganic fertilizers, or you can use organic compost. Compost is broken down plant and animal matter that has already gone through the decomposition process. Using organic fertilizer is better for the environment since it helps to regenerate soil nutrients, but some commercial fertilizers are necessary to ensure a successful crop.
If you’d like to use inorganic fertilizers then go ahead and buy as many bags as you need. If you want to use organic compost, then you can make your own! All you need to do is gather eggshells, used coffee grounds, and some grass clippings. Compost ingredients are relatively easy to find and they’re also free of charge!
Use a pitchfork or shovel to turn the pile every few days so that it can aerate. Keep the pile moist by spraying it with a hose. Your compost should be ready in about 3 months.
To begin planting, first prepare your soil by plowing it several times. This will loosen up the soil for easy digging. If you’re growing your vegetables in a backyard, then you may already have loose soil! After preparing the soil, use a measuring tape to measure off square sections.
Each section should be 2 feet by 2 feet. Make sure that each section has access to sunlight.
Now it’s time to plant your seeds! If you’re using commercial seeds then make sure that they aren’t expired. Check the back of the package for the expiration date. Plant 4-6 seeds in each section.
Once the plants have grown big enough, it’s time to thin them out. This means that you have to remove some of the seeds so that only 2 remain in each square foot.
Once your plants are a few inches tall, it’s time to water them. Don’t over-water the plants, as this will result in the soil becoming too soggy and the roots will subsequently die. You can also plant lettuce, cabbage, and other salad greens directly into the ground. Make sure that each plant has enough space so that it can grow.
When it comes time to harvest your plants, you can either pick the ripe fruit straight from the branch or you can pick it off and hay it (letting it ripen further on the ground). You may need to use pruning shears in order to prune off dead or diseased branches.
Pruning is used to help determine which flowers will produce fruit and which ones won’t. You can either let nature decide this for you (letting the strongest seedlings survive), or you can decide this yourself and simply cut off all but two of the seedlings.
Planting, maintaining, and harvesting are what you’ll do on a daily basis as a farmer. You’ll also have to deal with insects, animals, weeds, inclement weather, etc… It’s a lot of work, but the satisfaction that you get from growing and harvesting your own food is more than worth it!
Good luck on your farming endeavors!
Fun Facts About Farming
Did you know that many of the slaves who built the United States were also farmers back in their home country?
The slaves spent their time farming in between doing tasks for their masters such as building roads, houses, and other things. Many of the people who settled the western parts of the United States were farmers. Many young children (both boys and girls) had to do farm work in order to help out their families when it came time to harvest the crops.
Invention: The Motorized Tractor
The year is 1806 and you live in Scotland. You enjoy fixing old machines and think that you’ll invent something that will make your family famous. You have always enjoyed working on things that involve engines and mechanical items, but you don’t want to invent something that has already been invented.
What invention do you choose to create?
You decide to create a new type of plow. Your neighbors laugh at you when you begin trying to create this invention. They think that you are wasting your time, but you are determined to show them that you can make a difference. You work on your plow every day for many hours. Finally, after several years, you have made a working version of the plow.
Sources & references used in this article:
Anatomical and physiological responses of squash to various levels of boron supply by TR Alexander – Botanical Gazette, 1942 – journals.uchicago.edu
A rapid squash technique for stem and root tips by LPV Johnson – Canadian Journal of Research, 1945 – NRC Research Press
Root growth inhibition in boron-deficient or aluminum-stressed squash may be a result of impaired ascorbate metabolism by A Goldman – 2004 – Artisan Books
Occurrence and distribution of pumpkin and squash viruses in Illinois by KM Lukaszewski, DG Blevins – Plant Physiology, 1996 – Am Soc Plant Biol
Enhanced haploids regeneration in anther culture of summer squash (Curcurbita pepo L.) by S Jossey, M Babadoost – Plant Disease, 2008 – Am Phytopath Society
Localization of boron in cell walls of squash and tobacco and its association with pectin (evidence for a structural role of boron in the cell wall) by MF Mohamed, EFS Refaei – REPORT-CUCURBIT GENETICS …, 2004 – researchgate.net