Saturday, May 2, 2009
Dying squash and cucumber
Well, it's happening again: I'm losing my zucchinis and cucumbers to some unknown ailment.
Last week, I looked down at the base of my zucchini plant, and I saw the signs of a wilting that occurred last year:
The plant grows vigorously for a few weeks, and then begins to shrivel up where the stem comes out from the ground. This shriveling then follows the plant up and out, killing the vines and leaves. The plant grows vigorously, flowering big, beautiful flowers, but before it can become a fruit, the shriveling catches up with it and it dies.
In my garden, no other plant last year was affected by this mystery disease. And this year, it looks like it's just the zucchini so far (though the cucumbers have shown some yellowing). Now, it has occurred after a hot snap we had (96 degrees for a couple of days), and I've read that bacterial and verticillium wilts may occur after the temeratures rise, but again, no other plants have shown this damage.
I'm suspecting a squash borer, but by the pictures I took this morning, I don't see any signs, and I'm loathe to pull such a beautiful plant. What I am going to do, instead, is cut it above the withering, and put it in some water. If/when it roots, I'll plant it in fresh soil and see if that solves the problem.
If you have any suggestions or, better yet, THE answer to my problem, please let me know.