The Q&A Archives: winter squash

Question: Hello,
This is my first time with winter squash. It is growing longer than I ever imagined it would. I was wondering if I should use the red plastic under the vines or do the vines need to attach to the ground? This red plastic is sold in garden centers to increase the number of tomatoes.

I have squash forming now. Is it OK to leave them on bare ground or should I put something else under each squash?

I'm also having the same problem with mellons.

In the future how much space should I allow for the winter squash and mellons to grow?

Thank you for your time.


Answer: How much space depends on the specific variety but yes they do often get huge in time. If you have limited space you can try to direct them around the garden perimeter or on a trellis or opt for bush type varieties. You can prune the vines a bit once a few fruits have set, but the foliage does provide energy to the overall plant. Sometimes squash vines can be encouraged to root along the stem here and there, this can be an insurance policy in case there is a problem with stem borers later. The vines can be grown over plastic mulch however it is not necessary to do so, it is a matter of preference. Mulch of any kind helps keep down weeds, and organic mulches help feed the soil when they rot down. Many gardeners will put an old shingle or board under each individual melon or squash to keep it up off the ground, or you can put a thick layer of clean straw beneath it. This helps keep soil-based pests out of the bottom of it. You may also want to cage your melons with wire mesh to protect them from hungry critters. Enjoy your garden!

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