Valley Permaculture Alliance

My watermelon and squash are flowering and I see tons of lovely bees rolling around in them but so far, no fruit. The vines look great, nice and green. We have started to see a lot of stink bugs and we are going to spray them tonight with some castille soap solution. Do you think the stinkbugs are causing the plant not to set fruit or could it be something else?

 

Tina

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Hi Cristina,  Depending on when you planted your melons and squash they may just be in the beginning stages of the reproduction cycle.  All my cucurbits flower for a while before any fruit sets.  I believe it's because the first several flowers are male and plants in the melon family need male and female plants to set fruit.  I have a lot of stink bugs too (oh they chap my hide) but if your plants look healthy then they may be okay for a while yet.  I know when  a plant has succumbed to the buggers when It just looks sickly and croaks. I'll bet you'll be seeing some fruit before long.

Hi Christina,

 

I agree with Nicole.  If you have bees, your plants may just be getting enough female to male flower ratio to begin setting fruit, as long as the plants look healthy.  Watch for the gray (live bearing) aphids right now too - those really will desimate your plants quickly if you let them get out of hand.

 I agree wth Niclole,  a little more time and they should set fruit. As for the insects this might help.

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/technique-organic-sq...

Thanks for your help! :)

ditto ...

we have such a 'wise + experienced' community out there, it is exciting for me to see the 'body of knowledge' that is out there ... keep up the good work!

Bryan

The squash bugs (what you are calling stink bugs) are BAD this year. Im about the throw in the towel on all my melons and squash for the year because of it. They are slowly killing everything and no treatment organic or otherwise has done much to bring down thier numbers. I think im pulling the whole bed and burning them this weekend.

Hi Eric,

 

If your melons are set and the vines are producing but the bugs are eating at the bottom or sides, try one more thing - put a plain white (uncoated) paper plate under each melon after dusting off the dirt.  It is an old trick I read years ago and works for any fruit which sits on the ground while ripening.  At the end of the season you can toss the paper plate into the compost heap.

Wish I 'd seen this idea sooner. This is my first year gardening out here. I planted pumpkins too early, and have had 3 nice orange pumpkins for the past month or more. I decided to harvest them yesterday, and found that two out of three were invaded from below and rotted. :(  I'm wondering if these sickly vines will revive and set more fruit when the intense heat breaks, or are they done for the year?
On whether the vines will produce more for you Jeanne, you may just have to wait and see.  The gray (live bearing) aphids are starting to show up now and could be an additional problem if they are not already.  Hard hosing helps along with the safe soap sprays.

I bought insecticidal soap spray yesterday. The whiteflies have arrived.

My guess is the plant is done for the year.

Many winter squash need to "cure" for a few weeks indoors once picked in a cool dark place. Larger squash like pumpkins will take a bit longer to cure. This only matters if you want to eat them of course.

The book "Resilient Gardener" has some great info on squash growing, curing, and seed saving.

The plants will not produce viable fruit if the bugs are at infestation stage. But, if you do have fruit on the vine, are they ripe and ready to eat?  Many times bugs move in when a plant's life is almost done, to clean up so to say. Sometimes I find that if you wait too long to harvest, mother nature will do it for you in many ways...bugs and birds mainly!

We have had some of our winter squash over the years get attacked by the squash bug early on in May/June, hang on, and around monsoon time (August/Sept.) produce squash. This has only been the case with winter squash though. Summer squash gets easily wiped out by the squash bug.

This heat wave is no help right now either!

Catherine's idea for paper plates works very well for the underground bugs that eat the undersides. We also use cereal boxes in place of paper plates. Same idea, only reusing what you have before it hits the landfill or recycle bin...or compost heap in our case :)

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