Volume 14, Issue 21 ~ May 25 - May 31, 2006

The Bay Gardener

By Dr. Frank Gouin

Grow Ooodles of Cucumbers, Squash and Melon

Holes in the bucket makes for easy irrigation

In a small garden, it is best to grow vine crops such as cucumbers, squash and melons on hills or mounds spaced approximately eight feet apart. In the area where each hill is to be planted, spade into the ground at least one-half bag of compost. In the middle of each hill, place a plastic five-gallon pail into the bottom of which you have drilled three or four one-quarter inch holes.

Fill each bucket two-thirds full with Chesapeake Blue or Chesapeake Green compost. Sow the seeds of cucumbers, squash or melons around the outside of each pail and cover lightly with sand. Sprinkle the soil lightly every day until the seeds germinate. Thin the seedlings around each pail to no more than four plants per hill. As soon as the plants start to produce vines, begin irrigating each hill weekly by filling each pail with water. The water will filter through the compost, carrying with it nutrients into the soil. As soon as the vines begin to set fruit, increase your watering to twice weekly.

If the plants begin to yellow in mid summer, there is not sufficient nitrogen in the soil. This problem can be solved by either placing two to three tablespoons of urea nitrogen into each pail or by replacing the old compost with new compost.

This is an efficient method of irrigating plants because the water seeps slowly into the ground instead of flowing away from each hill. If you need to conserve more space, you can grow cucumbers, melons and vine squash on trellises.

Proper Spacing Yields Sweet Corn

If you want the ears of your corn to be full of kernels, alternate double rows approximately 12 inches apart with double rows approximately 36 inches apart. After the seeds have germinated, thin the corn plants to 10 to 12 inches apart in each row.

Editor’s Note: More advice on sweet corn to follow when the time is right.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at [email protected]. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

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