Tag Archives: organic

5 Things You NEED to Know to Grow Summer Squash!

Summer Squash:

One of my favorite things to eat but not to grow…

Some reasons why; squash bugs (stink bug), squash vine borers (moth larva), and powdery mildew (fungus)…

I have grown squash as long as I can remember and in every state I have lived in across the US. Growing squash in Georgia is hard! The pest here are so bad that it makes it a loosing battle every time! I’m lucky if I get a couple of fruit per plant. But for some reason I still plant it! I really do love squash!

 

So here are my issues and the best ways I have found to deal with them.

    • Squash bugs: Monitor plants daily and remove every stink bug you see, crushing or drowning in soapy water. Also, scout for shiny copper eggs on and under side of leaves and remove and destroy them. 
    • Squash vine borers: Repel the adult from laying eggs by putting foil around base of stem at soil line or wash same area daily with horticulture soap or oil to remove and/or kill the eggs.  If already in stem, frass (poop) will be evident at base and plant will be wilting, surgery will be only hope now.  Early in morning cut into stem with clean sharp knife going upward with stem without cutting through to the other side, look inside hollow stem for white worm like larva and kill it. Cover cut stem together with moist compost to encourage rooting, keep watered while new roots develop. Some people have success covering with floating row covers but they must be removed at flowering to allow pollinators in to do their job. Also, planting a few weeks after the peak of squash vine borers may give you a better chance. Some squash varieties are more resistant like the ‘Lemon’ squash in the picture at the top.
    • Powdery mildew: Warm and wet weather encourages this fungus so be sure to avoid watering leaves. Many people suggest different home remedies for this like, Epsom salt, baking soda and milk but I had little success with all that. Using a neem oil spray will help prevent and treat this. It must be reapplied often. Prevention is key when trying to control any fungus so make sure you keep leaves as dry as possible and allow for plenty of air circulation. Always trim off the most infected leaves and dispose of in the trash not your compost and wash hands and tools well to help prevent the spread of the spores.
    • Pollination: Squash plants have both male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flower has a long upright, thin stem and tends to be the first blooms on your plant. These early blooms are great to harvest for stuffed fried squash blossoms. Female flowers are closer to the main stem with shorter, thicker stem and often a fruit like structure. The pollen from male flower must enter the female flower in order for fruit to develop. This is typically done by bees and other pollinators. If you are lacking in pollinators in your garden you may have to hand pollinate. If you have female flowers falling off with no fruit growing its time to step in.
    • Seed Crossing/Cross Pollination: Summer squash are classified as Cucurbita pepo as well as many others including, zucchini, pumpkin, gourd and many more. So having two different species of these planted in the same garden can make saving seed difficult or at least interesting! The fruit will grow and look the same this year but the resulting seed could be cross pollinated and there is no telling what you could get! I once had ‘Lemon’ and ‘Zephyr’ summer squash cross which was a nice accident! So if you have a desire to save seeds you will need to keep them very far away from each other and hand pollinate.

 

All in all, it’s really worth it when you get to harvest yummy squash!

Do you have any advice to share about squash!?

Grilled Georgia Peaches with SPECIAL Toppings!

The BEST Thing You Will EVER Put In Your Mouth!

Grilled Georgia Peaches with SPECIAL Toppings!

 
The perfect summer Dinner! Grilled peaches with Balsamic Reduction and homemade goat cheese was the star of the show!

The Mexican street corn with homemade mayonnaise and our homemade cheese with sriracha was pretty close runner-up! Rattlesnake beans from a friends garden and a burger with our first ripe organic, heirloom, white, slicing tomato tied it all together perfectly!

 

The Peaches we bought fresh from a local Georgia farm, Gregg Farms, home of the best peach ice cream! We make it an annual tradition to go eat ice cream and buy a bushel of peaches and whatever other fresh produce they have! Fresh peaches are not refrigerated like store-bought peaches so the flavor profile is off the charts!

 

The first step to creating this masterpiece, is to cut peach in half and remove the pit from the center. If too ripe it is a little difficult, so choose ones that are still firm to make it easier. If you want to you can coat in oil or just go straight on the hot grill! Grill both sides briefly to get nice charred lines on peaches!

 

 

 

 

You can make or buy your balsamic reduction, we make it because it is so easy. Just put balsamic vinegar in a small pan and slowly simmer on low till reduced to a thick glaze but be careful not to scorch towards the end! It is better to pull it off too early and it be a little runny than to burn it! Generously drizzle over grilled peach.

 

If you are lucky enough to have dairy goats and therefore an abundant supply of milk that you turn into cheese then top it with said cheese! Or cottage cheese or goat cheese or even ice cream if you want a savory dessert!

This was so good! I ate three! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Here is a video of our awesome trip to Gregg Farms last year. Feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you are there! We do a daily video!

 

Thanks for reading and watching Wholesome Roots!

Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 4. Getting Started: Soil Building

So you read my last post about Bed Preparation and you are ready to get started! So now comes the most important part! Soil!

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Soil Building

Turning your soil into some of the best growing medium takes some effort usually. Very few areas have perfect soil for growing in. Regional differences can change your soil dramatically. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all in the first year. Improvements can be made every year, all year-long. There is no wrong time to fix your soil.

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Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 2. Getting Started: Site Selection

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Afternoon shadows will help on hot summer days!

 

So my last Blog post,  Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 1. Why start a vegetable garden?, may have led you here. Or you just got lucky and found this on your own! Either way we are glad you have joined us. So you are ready to start a vegetable garden. I am going to walk you through step by step and make it real easy! Feel free to ask any questions along the way.

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Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 1. Why start a vegetable garden?

10406359_10201967407572940_1866439833946748287_nWhy?

You may be asking yourself, “Why would I start a vegetable garden?”
With all the grocery stores available to you these days, what is the point of growing your own food? Is it worth the effort of getting dirty and sweaty? You may be asking yourself, will I even succeed at growing anything? Some of my reasons are below. Yes, it is worth it and yes you will succeed, with me helping you along the way!

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