To ward off vine borers, which bore into the squash vine and lay their eggs, which hatch into insidious squash-nutrient-sucking little devils and kill the plant, I use short tomato cages covered with cheesecloth. Since I have both acorn and butternut (six plants altogether as opposed to only three last year), and since the three shortened tomato cages were mysteriously misplaced, I had Jacob cut three regular cages down, and used both tops and bottoms as the frame.
Hey, while I'm typing about squash here, I learned something after the fact that will be useful to you! Acorn squash is a summer squash, and butternut squash is a winter squash--meaning, acorns will be harvested late summer, while butternuts will be harvested probably some time in October (here in Chicagoland). They should also not be planted next to each other, since the busy bees will cross-pollinate them. So I may end up with some kind of hybrid squash when it comes to eating these. I'll let you know.
Jacob cut the cages off as in the above image, so that I could use the top part as another cage. That way, we cut only three and got six cages out of it. After they were cut, we pushed them down into the soil around the squash plants, and cut and draped cheesecloth over each cage/plant.
We staked the cheesecloth with landscape pins--the same pins that are used to hold the landscape fabric down in our mulched walkways. Get 'em at any hardware store. They're awesome.
No vine borers welcome.
It is important to note that as soon as you see blossoms on your plants, to remove the cheesecloth! Otherwise, the bees won't be able to get in to pollinate the blossoms, and you will end up with no squash. The plants will be tripled/quadrupled in size, and be hardier and sturdier against pests at that time. I love giving them this good start in their growing lives.
Oh, so here are my strawberry plants! There are blossoms everywhere, and I took this picture just for fun. Because I was there. With my camera.
On to the second chore--weeding. Even though we had properly crafted mulched walkways in our garden last year, weeds can grow in the mulch--it's organic matter, after all, and it does get wet. The good thing, though, is that the weeds' roots have nowhere to go, so they're shallow and easy to pull, especially after a rain to loosen things up.
Nice and easy! Weeding all the walkways took about five minutes. Once a week or so, I have to weed a little, but it usually consists of pulling a weed or two here and there, as I'm working in the garden and spot them. It's so much easier than before!
Pile of weeds waiting for the yard waste bag.
Here's my standard After overview picture:
So, that's just two little jobs that needed doing after Planting Day. The fun has officially begun! A summer garden always has stuff happening, even from day to day!!
Back to life,
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