08 May Growing tip from Rattle’s Garden
We had a question last week from a spring CSA customer, asking how our farmers deal with squash bugs while growing organically. Tara Stainton from Rattle’s Garden was kind enough to supply us with her answer:
“I have not found a great organic biological control for squash bugs so we rely completely on timing and understanding that I can’t grow squash through the entire summer like a conventional grower. We plant our summer crop as early as possible, giving them a good jump in our greenhouse. We plant a LOT of them to make up for what we are going to start losing already in the first few weeks.
And the key for me has been making the decision to pull all cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, etc.) from the field on July 1, at which time we are overrun by squash bugs. We go for the next 45 days without having any of these plants in any field on the farm. We replant squash and cucumbers on August 15 (seedlings). We have both again by mid-September until frost with no bugs.
The alternative that I’ve seen other growers do is plant late, after the first round of squash bugs has moved on. While this seems as effective, for us it’s more important to try and be the first ones at market with anything we are growing. Good luck growing!”