Squash need a warm soil temperature for germination. The soil measured 73 degrees at a 2 inch depth. And we’re past May 23rd, our average last frost date. So with that, let the squash seeds be sown!
To do this, we ran a string line. Then we poured the dry fertilizer along the string and raked it into the soil to prepare the soil bed.
To get the in-row spacing, we used a marked measuring stick to get 18 inch between the 3 seed groupings called “hills” placed about 3 inches apart. Seeds were placed about an inch deep in the soil. Using my thumb to poke them in followed by a gentle pat to firm the soil seemed to work just fine. We dubbed this the “poke-n-pat” method. This year, we alternated the winter squash “hills” with “hills” of summer squash zucchini as shown below.
Here are the field notes from the May 26, 2012 planting:
1) Field 5, Row 6 planted with 4 ounces of Delicata and 2 ounces of Costata Romanesco Zucchini.
2) Field 5, Row 8 planted with 4 ounces of Black Forest and 2 ounces of Costata Romanesco Zucchini.
3) Field 5, Row 10 planted with specialty pumpkin seeds of “Marina Di Chioggia” , “Jarrahdale” and “Long Island Cheese“. About 4 ounces of each type.
Applied dry fertilizer directly in rows: 100# of Fertrell Super K (Rate: ~80# per 1000 feet) and 100# of Fertrell Aragonite (Rate: ~80# per 1000 feet) into rows 6, 8 and 10 (400 feet times 3 rows = 1200 feet row).
Equipment used: Wooden Stakes and Measuring Stick, Row String, Potato Hook for raking the row and Gallon-sized Plastic Watering Can for pouring the fertilizer . The “Poke-n-Pat” hand-planter. Note that these rows had already been loosened using the 1951 Ferguson TO-20 with 3-Shank Subsoiler in early May.
Here is an additional field observation: The Russian Banana potatoes are growing well ahead of Swedish Peanut and Rose Finn Apple. The different was that about two weeks before planting, the Russian Banana seed potato were exposed to some warmth (between 60 and 70 degrees) and light. This induced them to begin sprouting. So, this technique called “Greenspouting” gave them ahead start and should benefit us in getting an earlier harvest which is helpful in our short growing season. The picture below shows the Russian Banana planted on May 6th and 7th. The Swedish Peanut planted on May 12th and Rose Finn Apple planted on May 11th have not yet emerged. We’ll continue to monitor.