Saturday, June 6, 2009


For years I have planted patty pan squash as an alternative to the zucchini. I prefer it, not for any difference in flavor but, for its shape. It is great to stuff. Of course it isn't easy to keep the plant growing all summer because of the visit from the squash vine borer, Mellitia cucurbitae. Every year they seem to get the better of me. In the past I could be seen every day on my hands and knees removing those eggs from the plant but even so they always got the better of me. Will it be any different this year. Only time will tell.

This year the bed is protected by one of the wonderful cages D made for me. They can easily be moved from bed to bed. However, I am fully aware that the moth may have been over wintering in the soil ready to fool me again. Lets hope I did a good job of removing all those pupae. When the borer hits I like to get the plant out before the larva has the chance to pupate. Another idea is to grow a trap crop. Have I seen the adult this year? No, but I guarantee there are some flying around desperate to get through the mesh. Incidentally, bees have mastered getting in and out, which is a great help. 


  1. What would be the trap crop? Some squash someplace else that you don't care about?

    I'm growing several kinds of summer squash and watching closely for the vine borers. They are in a different bed than last year, so I am hopeful.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. I'm curious about the trap crop, too. Those patty pans are definitely prettier than zucchini and crooknecks. Your husband certainly does build nice veggie cages of all types!

  3. Trap crops are popular.
    For squash I believe that either zucchini or yellow squash are typically used.
    Very cool idea on the caging, and it worked out really good that the bees could get in and pollinate!

  4. Can't wait to hear the results. Borers got all of mine this year, but I just piled dirt further down the vine and it seems to be surviving and is still producing.

  5. The cage looks nice and is a great idea. I need to keep track of such ideas for when I start my veggie garden next year. Right now I'm sticking with herbs, a few peppers, and one tomatillo plant.

  6. The cage is a clever idea. We don't seem to be bothered by squash vine borer, at least not yet, but I'll keep your cage in mind in case they come. Patty pan squash have always been my favorite--for the flavor. My husband can't tell the difference in one squash or another, but I sure can!

  7. The netting looks neat. The light Remay cloth also works. And I have successfully slit open the stem and removed the borer, then built up a little dirt hill over the wound.

    But the easiest solution for us is to grow squash in the fall. I have one zucchini and a couple of spaghetti squash which the borers haven't yet found.

  8. Those cages are nice - it's especially handy that you can move them!

    As for growing squash, I've given up here in coastal SC. We get blights, borers - you name it. I love fresh squash - crookneck squash, patty pans - but no luck. I hope this year that you have good luck!

    I'm curious about that 'trap' crop too. That makes me think...maybe next year I should try again? :)

  9. I love growing the patty pan from Renee's too. I lost my entire crop of squash to those buggers this year, including my patty pan. I tried digging them out and burying the vine, but nothing survived. Well except my trumpet squash, thankfully. I just ate the first one and it was delicious. I just planted some new starters because I was told they only have one life cycle per season in New England but don't you know I just spotted a moth out in the garden. Love your covers. Hope they worked. Happy gardening.