Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nourishing your Squash

For the last few years, I have had problems with my yellow squash:  it developed blossom end rot.  The plant looked green and healthy and the blossoms looked like I was going to get a good crop of squash; however, the ends of each blossom (fruit) started to rot and there was no way I could save the vegetable.  I cut it off and threw it out but more developed with the same result.

Blossom End Rot
Checking out the Gardening Know How on line about blossom end rot, I found out that my squash suffered from a calcium deficiency.  One of the suggestions to combat this deficiency is to use lime and if you choose to do so, follow the direction on the package.

Gardening Know How had an interesting suggestion of making your own calcium concoction:  Boil twenty (20) eggs, peel, and soak the peels in one (1) gallon of water for about two (2) weeks, and then water around the affected plants.

I went to see the good people at Standard Feed and asked them if they had anything to enrich the soil with calcium.  They said that Bone Meal would do the same thing; however, I did find the Hi-Yield Calcium Nitrate.

From the package of the Calcium Nitrate, I found that blossom end rot is a common problem and it is a"physiological disorder (not a disease)."  This happens "when fruits are enlarging rapidly and sufficient amounts of calcium fail to reach the end of the fruit resulting in a deficiency of calcium in the developing fruit."

To prevent blossom end rot, I plan to treat each squash plant with one level teaspoon of Calcium Nitrate applied to the root growing area and thus avoiding direct contact with the plant itself.  For best results, this procedure should be repeated in two weeks.  It is also recommended that these procedures take place as soon as there is a healthy seedling.

Note:  The Calcium Nitrate is recommended for tomatoes and peppers in prevention of Blossom End Rot.

Sources:  Gardening Know How, (by permission) and Hi-Yield Calcium Nitrate.

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