Problems with My 2019 Squash Patch

David Trammel's picture

This is the first year I've tried squash in my small garden.

I'm growing 4 plants in one of my against the house beds. I have two yellow squash plants and a zucchini. Was going to be two and two but something, probably a rabbit got one of the zucchinis early. They are companioned with some Australian Brown onions. I seed started the onions back in March and planted them about two months before I put in the squash, to give them time to grow tall enough to not be over shadowed by the squash. As it is, I've trimmed back a few of the squash leaves (huge things lol) that get over the onions. I've got tons of flowers and some baby squash growing.

One thing has come up. I've got either a bug or a disease on a few of the leaves.

Here is a close up of the damage.

I cut off all of the leaves that had this problem. Luckily it looks to be on just one plant. I looked for any small bugs but didn't see any (like aphids).

Any ideas on what the problem is?

Blueberry's picture

I would guess too much rain, with all the water running off the roof. You are getting a lot of dirt and stuff hitting the leaves during all the heavy rain storms .

David Trammel's picture

I've got a good gutter system, and not a lot of rain comes off the edges. If anything the squash and the cherry tomatoes up against the house get less water than the onions. Sometimes after a good rain the ground will be still dry at their base.

The damage was also just on one plant, the zucchini I think, which is to the right side of that bed. That's why I thought bugs or disease.

Blueberry's picture

The problem plant is it next to the downspout?

David Trammel's picture

No its on the other side, near the center of the two beds.

ClareBroommaker's picture

David, believe it or not, those look like some fairly healthy leaves and I would probably have left them on the plant. There is no yellowing around the holes, just brown dead tissue which makes it look like the plant has walled off the damage from insect chewing. If that's the case, you are darn lucky because there are so many squash problems that are transmitting by insects. Your leaves otherwise look very clean and green. No fuzz, no yellowing halos around the holes, no darker green spotting, no lumpy leaves, no wilt. No eggs or egg cases, no insect nymphs.

The insects that bother squash are usually not hard to spot, although the silly bug that is called "squash bug" will quickly run to the opposite surface of the leaf when you try to look at it or remove it. Green spotted and striped cucumber beetles will bother summer squash, too. All three of theses are super common around here and spread diseases.

Have you lifted every single leaf to look at the undersides? Insects on squash often hang out on the underside. Fruits are often affected by the same insects (and microbial diseases) that affect leaves. The fruit you picked looks good, especially if it is a yellow crookneck, an old variety with slightly bumpy skin.

As long as you are inspecting your squash be sure to check the stems for holes and splits which could indicate the entry of squash borers. You might find frass (looks like saw dust) on the ground or stuck to the stem where a borer has gotten in. That wouldn't be what the damage is on you plant right now, but it is just good to catch borers ASAP because they can wipe out you vines pretty quick.

David Trammel's picture

I'm pushing the density of companion plants with my small beds. The squash has seriously over shadowed the Australian Brown Onions but trimming the leaves back on the squash gave me a good picture of the way squash flowers and produces fruit.

Here is a good picture of how the lower part of the plant looks when the huge covering leaves are gone. Note that the root stem produces a cluster of flowers, which when fertilized then grow squash fruit.

Here is a close up. Notice on the small squash the remains of the parent flower, which quickly wilts and drops off once pollinated.

Its a beautiful flower.