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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Planting Squash and Cucumbers

It's been raining for 4 or 5 days here with more to come. Perhaps this much rain is great for the garden in the long run but it creates a wet soggy garden for planting squash and cucumbers. Squash and cucumbers love warm weather and now is the time to get a jump on planting them. Planting squash and cucumber seeds in wet cool soil 50 to 60 degrees often leads to rotting.

You can start the seeds outdoors in styro-foam cups. I don't recommend using the small seed trays because they give the roots little growing room and the plants suffer pretty severe transplant shock. The little cells are just to small. Use 20 oz. styro-foam cups.

Poke holes in the bottom of the cup. You don't want these seeds sitting in soggy water. Fill the cup to the top with garden soil and plant 2 seeds per cup. The cups are easily labeled. When the plants are 2 inches high, pinch the weakest off. The cup will allow a strong root system to grow and you can plant the plants directly into the garden without really disturbing the roots. If you want to grow 2 plants in one spot then keep the other plant. DON'T try and divide the two plants from one cup by breaking up the roots. It will shock the plants. It is not worth it. It will slow their growth as they recover.

If the nights get under 50 degrees, you can bring the cups into the house. Starting squashes and cucumbers outdoors using this method will give you a headstart.

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