Squash Poppin’

My carefully thought out fall planting plan had beans, squash, and cucumber seeds going in the ground the first of September. Imagine my surprise reading in the paper that the UF Ag Extension service in Volusia County said those seeds should be in the ground the first of August. Eight hours after reading that, the seeds were in the ground. To me this is too early but then I always have to worry about frost around harvest time. My concern with this early planting is that it’s too hot and buggy. So I’ll go ahead and hold back some seeds and garden space for the original plan.

That same Extension Service is holding a seminar the 15th on fall vegetable gardening in Volusia County. It costs $5 to attend but I’ve decided to anyway. The thing I’m hoping to learn is which varieties are best for our area and who knows, I may even learn something else. I’ll be in Daytona that morning dropping Nancy off at the airport so it’s really not much out of my way and the timing works. She’s trying again for Salt Lake. Her last attempt flamed out when the plane was delayed with mechanical problems – enough to miss the connection out of Atlanta.

Squash season. never really had decent success with squash here but this past season was decent – the best so far since I started gardening here. I’m giving the quality of the soil credit, recognizing it could have been exceptional weather and/or a lack of bugs. So this fall I’m going into full squash mode with several different varieties of zucchini like summer squash, crook neck, two varieties of butternut, and an acorn. I’ll take out all the stops and plant in well selected spots (I’m not a big squash eater so I usually plant them in less locations) and with my special fertilizer blend. I’ll dig the same large hole and fill it with new compost before planting the seeds instead of just mixing up the top soil a few inches down. In other words, I’ll give squash the full tomato/pepper treatment. As a follow up – I planted the summer squash seeds on Sunday and they had started germinating on Wednesday. It never ceases to amaze me how fast things happen. No signs of the winter squash yet (as expected). They should start popping this coming Sunday.

Worked on an interesting project yesterday. George had a septic tank-drain field event last week. Both were the original 1984 installations so they were overdue for some attention. The plan was to have a conventional septic tank pumping using a commercial company and to rebuild the entire drain field from scratch with a few friends – one of whom had a back hoe. I was one of those friends. George had helped do a drain field at his bike club and was aware of a “new” technique that used plastic half circle tunnels, 5’ long, connected end to end in a trench about 3’ deep. The trench was 75’ long. Without the Kuboto back hoe the job would have been impossible since the trench had to be located in a previously wooded area loaded with large, thick roots. It took about 4 hours to clear the trench and maybe 30 minutes to lay down the tunnel. The tunnel was then covered with nursery cloth and the soil pushed back in (with the Kuboto). It was hot and humid but I really wouldn’t call it hard work. I found it surprising that our percolation is so good here that there was virtually no sign of the old drain field.

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