Spacing - Do I have to pull out the extras?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAJune 17, 2014

I haven't been growing squashes or watermelon in awhile.
Like these 4 watermelon seedlings. I never feel right, to plant one seed, but then I put extra and they all germinate, then I hate to pull out a perfectly good seedling. [g]
I know I can't grow four watermelon plants here. [Sugar Baby] What do you do? Would you pull out two and leave two seedlings that are the furthest away from each other? Or leave the best one and pull the rest? Or move two somewhere else? Won't it be too late for it to grow if I move it, here in zone 6?

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Same question with these squashes --->

edit: That's a nasturtium in the lower left.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 16:49

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 4:48PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

You probably can leave 2 squash. One watermelon is best.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:10PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Okay, thanks Wayne!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:22PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I'd pull the middle squash plant and leave the two melons that are far apart. I always hate to leave just one. If something happens to one you end up with zilch.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:47PM
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I would leave all the sugar baby plants...I have grown several of these up a fence and as long as they have their own direction to sprawl out, they are fine. What kind of squash? could only get away with 1 of those plants.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:57PM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Those don't look like watermelons to me. The first true leaves look like some type of squash. Watermelon leaves look kind of like white oak leaves. Not that this is why you posted the pictures and were asking for advice. :)

As for the zucchini, you can probably leave the two outside plants if you can "train" them to grow in opposite directions.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:09PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The squash are 'Costata Romanesca' which is supposed to be an open pollinated zucchini. Definitely 'Sugar Baby' watermelon. I've probably only grown it once years ago, so I don't know what the leaves are supposed to look like, but I distinctly remember where I planted them and that's the only thing in the bed it could be.

That makes sense Dave, to keep two, just in case. Leave all the 'Sugar Baby' plants, Melissa? Well, I didn't think anyone was going to tell me that. :-) They are growing in a raised bed with the squashes, which I'm sure you didn't realize, so I don't think I'll have room for five, as exciting as that sounds. :-) I think two is not going to make much difference, though.

edit: Anne, wait, I will have to go check tomorrow and make sure I got a photo of the watermelon and not the butternut squash at the other end of the bed. lol Come to think of it, I didn't think the watermelon seedlings had any true leaves yet, because they just came up.

Anne, what do you mean by training the zucchini? Pruning the inside edge of the plants that are next to each other?

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 18:45

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:26PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

You described me to a tee. Same thing. Plant too many, they all germinate, don't have the heart to thin.

I don't grow watermelon, but if they are vining plants and you can let them trail off in different directions, I'm the type who would leave them all. On the squash, I'd pull the middle one and leave the other two.

But....with me, you've got to consider the source, LOL

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:30PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It just seems like such a waste, Loribee! ;-)

This is a 4ft x 12ft vegetable bed with butternut squash on one end, the zucchini in the middle and the watermelon down the other end. I suppose I could let some of them trail into the pathways and there is an area that is mulched right next to the bed. But even with that, maybe 3 plants?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:44PM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Re: training the zucchini...I just meant that, as they are growing, gently guide the stems so that the go off in opposite directions. It may or may not work but it's worth a try. I'm growing costata romanesco this year and they are HUGE.

- Anne

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:01PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Anne, if you have a photo at some point I'd love to see what I'm in for. Which is huge, the plant itself or the fruit? Okay, I'll try to train them.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:11PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

I grew Costa Romanesco a couple years in a row. I found they were more productive than the standard zucchini I normally grow. Here's a photo of the plant that was taken in July a couple years back. That would make it only about at the 1/2 way mark in growing. I'm afraid I don't have any photos of later in the season, but the plants overgrew the bed and started trailing along the rock.

Here's some of the zucchini you get from them (the ones on top). I found them very similar in flavor of my regular zucchini:

What I DIDN'T like about it is that the leaves and stems are very spiny and they scratch the crap out of your arms when you're bending in to cut off the squash. It's the reason I don't keep growing it.

Edited: Actually, I did find a photo from about 4 weeks later than the other photo was taken.

This post was edited by loribee2 on Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 2:17

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:08AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Loribee, yes that is a large plant and large fruit! My family usually likes the dark green skinned zucchini and not the yellow. With those striped fruits, do they taste like the green or the yellow zucchini? And in the last photo, is that one plant? What size bed is that growing in?

And that was going to be my next question, why you weren't growing it now. :-) Thanks for the warning, I'll have to keep the gloves and the long sleeves on to harvest. So what are you growing instead? I am hoping to find an open pollinated zucchini. And keeping it small will probably be something I will be looking for, which I suppose goes together with âÂÂhybridâ instead. We are not big zucchini lovers, so I plant them more because it is often a plant that will produce in abundance and some people in the family will use it.

BTW, such a healthy and productive garden that you keep so neat! What is that growing so tall and bushy behind the squash in that last photo? You must get a ton of vegetables from your garden every year!

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 3:07

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:34AM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

The first picture shows one costata romanesca plant in the foreground and several butterbush (compact butternut squash) plants in the background. You can see the size difference. The second picture shows some small bamboo stakes I used to try to hold the vines in place. With such huge leaves, and with the weird storms and wind lately, I was trying to prevent them from blowing all over the place. It might work as a way to guide the plants away from each other.

First picture:

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:16AM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Second picture:

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That's so interesting, Anne. I am also growing Butterbush Butternut Squash in the same bed with the Costata in just about the same position too. :-) I am surprised that the Butterbush is a lot smaller than I expected, and that's several plants? Wow. I knew it was supposed to be but I didn't think that small. As a matter of fact I would have expected the sizes to be reversed. Now that I see what several plants of Butterbush look like, maybe I will leave more seedlings in my bed.

Thanks for those photos, I see how you were directing the stems with the bamboo. I would not have thought of doing that, great idea!

I think there's a chance I will have enough room in my Squash bed for these plants with some overrun of the raised bed. I think I'm going to have a problem with the Costata I put in the middle of my Pepper bed. I will definitely need to direct the growth on that one.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:36AM
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I suppose i'm more of an insurance gardener after 20yrs...
I leave all of them and after up, just like yours, i put in a few more seeds spread out...
a week or two later...
I grow a dozen varieties, trusted ones, then a few new ones to try every year...

I like to see bigger growth before culling...I'll keep the three strongest plants per hill...
Just like to see them get through the terrible teens first...
With so many critters and such, they often are culled without my hand...
Maybe just a diversion tactic...feed everyone so maybe they will leave a bit for our table...

I started a long row of mixed sunflowers outside the fenced garden, save the seeds every year, and have been adding an extra 20ft every spring...seems to keep the deer happy, and the birds, etc...i only loose about 10%...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:41PM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

I was really surprised by how small the butterbush were too. Last year I grew Seminole Pumpkin and some of the vines were almost 25 feet long. I was expecting butterbush to be maybe 1/2 the size, but they are much smaller. I'm very happy because they're not taking over my garden. And they're really, really productive so far.

Good luck with your garden!


    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:56PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Sleevendog, that's a new and different approach. It's so interesting how we all manage to do things a little different. I like that idea especially since I normally have plenty of seed if I'm only growing a couple of plants and why not have insurance. You must have a big garden, growing all that.

Thanks Anne⦠This is my first year trying both of these varieties. Someone recommended the Butterbush, so I'm looking forward to seeing how large the fruit will be.

I hope we all have a very successful gardening season this year! Thanks everyone for all the input! :-)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:18PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Thanks Prairiemoon! My husband doesn't like the yellow squash either, but he did like the Costa Romanesco. I found it to be very comparable to standard zucchini, which is why I decided all the spiny stalks weren't worth it. Though that is one of the benefits of growing your own food--> impressing folks with cool vegetables they don't see in the stores, LOL

That bed is 4' X 8' and as far as how many plants, well, that's a little complicated. Like we were saying, I plant the seeds three to a circle, and I usually only have the heart to weed out one of them when they sprout. So what you see are two plants, grown so close together (a couple inches apart), that they technically become one plant. I've heard it said that when you do that, you don't really get a plant twice as big. They adjust to their space or something.

So I guess I have 4 squash plants. Two Costa Romanesca growing in one mound, and two regular zucchini growing in a mound about 3 feet away.

The regular zucchini I grow is a variety called Plato. I get the seed from Johnny's and one packet will last me years.

The tall bushy stuff in the other beds is tomatoes (closest to the squash) and pole beans in the next bed over. Wish the rock around my beds was still that pristine. LOL

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:18PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hmmâ¦so the seedlings adjust to being that close to each other, I hadnâÂÂt heard that before. Makes sense. If that is the case, I wonder why it is so often recommended to plant 3 or 4 seeds in a hill? I would want to find out if you planted seeds about a foot or two apart instead, if you wouldnâÂÂt get larger plants from both seedlings? IâÂÂll have to experiment next year.

Wow! That is like a wall of tomatoes! LOL
So dense. I wonder if you have to worry about air circulation and any of the wilting diseases? Your plants look perfectly healthy. And the beans too. I think you have figured out some secret to growing vegetables, Loribeeâ¦. :-) Lots of great looking garden photos on the forum. Glad I can ask questions from gardeners who are having success.

Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:31PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Thanks prairiemoon! Oh, I have other pictures where I could show some pretty sad looking tomato plants. I'm not far from the coast, and sometimes the fog doesn't clear until noon. My zucchini and tomatoes are very susceptible to mold and fungus, and I spray them both with copper fungicide almost weekly. I also attempt to find resistant varieties, but some years are better than others. I've learned to call the good ones "lucky years", because that's really what it all boils down to. LOL

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:43PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Don't we all have those photos, Loribee? [g]

That's a good way of looking at it, 'lucky years'. Well, let's hope that 2014 is a lucky year for us all. :-)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 4:42PM
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I did that with some yellow squash and butternut squash this year (too many in one mound). So...I transplanted the extras to a different spot. The yellow squash took very well, the butternut I had to baby - they were a bit shocked (kept watered, shielded from the sun). Doing fine now. Hoping for a good butternut squash, love, love.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:17AM
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