Square Foot Gardening – What I Haven’t Shown You Edition

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 21, 2010

Yes, the garden is thriving overall…I’m picking lots of tomatoes and green beans…have herbs coming out of my ears…and the green peppers and jalapeno peppers are coming at a steady rate. And finally, my red pepper turned red. :)

And we have no shortage of little ‘maters!

But the bad news…

The Banana Pepper Plants. Two were attacked by a squirrel. Caught the little booger in the act. And I thought I scared the bejeepers out of him when I ran at him screaming like a banchee. But apparently it wasn’t enough…because he was back again the next day. (Not once last year did a squirrel get into the garden. I have been chasing them out at least once a day this past week. Ugh.) But thankfully one of the banana pepper plants was spared the wrath of the neighborhood squirrels.

And the other bad news….absolutely NOTHING from my zucchini and squash plants. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I had yellow squash coming out of my ears last year, with only 1 plant. So I over-zealously planted several varieties of squash plants. But nada. The pollinators didn’t even work. And I see bees on them all the time. But the bees don’t pollinate the flowers. :(

Baffled. Miffed. Confused.


At least my farmer’s market has some decent prices on their squash!

That’s it from me for this week…

Next week’s Grow. Eat. Save is Green Beans!

So what’s happening (or not happening) in your garden this week/month!!!

Feel free to link up your blog post below…or leave an update in the comments!!!

If you’d like to learn more about Square Foot Gardening, please check out the Square Foot Gardening books by Mel Bartholemew.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz August 21, 2010 at 6:31 am

The squash thing must be something going around. We had so few this year, but last year we had so many I could barely find homes for them all!! . . . . . .Beautiful site. Appreciate all your recipes. ~Liz


Amanda August 21, 2010 at 7:17 am

Yeps here in Northern Ohio I do not have any squash either! ; ( We only harvested one. I too have tons of bees and I failed at trying to pollinate them my self. So just as you I am resorting to my lovely ol’ farmer!!!


Alison August 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

No squash her in MD either! Boo! My acorn squash did well, but I planted 6 zucchini plants and have had ONE zucchini all season. I don’t know what’s up?


Shelly @ Coupon Teachers August 21, 2010 at 7:33 am

I had one little squash on two plants. It rotted before it got big enough to pick. My zucchini squash did really well though. I am glad to hear it wasn’t just me!


Tricia @ Hodgepodge August 21, 2010 at 7:34 am

Now that is one gorgeous red pepper!


Susie's Homemade August 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

Gardening is weird like that. I planted the same number/kind of tomatoes last year and nothing. This year…my middle name is tomato:-)


Evelyn August 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

YAY for the red pepper! I’m still anxiously waiting for my ONE to turn red…ha ha!


Paula August 21, 2010 at 9:11 am

We pollinate most of our squash and pumpkins and quite a few of our tomatoes too. There aren’t enough bees around most years and some years are just too wet for the bees to be out at the right time. If we didn’t pollinate we’d have nothing.


Birgitte August 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

That’s funny! We picked about 2 gallons of banana peppers from our four plants only last night! Our bell peppers on the other hand…still waiting on those, as well as our large tomatoes.


Teresa August 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

Oh how funny! You are where we were last year. So I over planted this year and oh boy do we have summer squash and zucchini! The hens are loving it. :) I hope next year to find the right balance.


Alea August 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

That is a beautiful red pepper!

Have all of you that are having trouble with your squash and zucchini checked for bugs? When I have an infestation of squash bugs, my flowers do not produce fruit despite bees and the fruit that have started whither on the vine. I have a picture of squash bugs here: http://www.onedeterminedgardener.com/2010/08/how-to-squash-bug-tutorial-for.html

Vine borers, cut worms, aphids, cucumber beetles, and spider mites also attack squash and zucchini plants. Organic insecticidal soaps are effective against most of these pests. Crop rotation is the best way to ensure against a repeat infestation, which is hard to do with square foot gardens.

Despite all the above information, I sincerely hope that you just have bad bees instead of harmful insects!


Stacie August 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

We have the exact opposite problem…no peppers, jalapenos…but tons of zucchinis!


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm


We should swap! ;)


Wendy (The Local Cook) August 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I’ve had trouble with squirrels and rabbits this year too. So frustrating! Next year I’m planting marigolds along the border of the garden, that’s supposed to help.


hairagent August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

For small animals try getting cut hair from your barber or hair stylist…this helped my garden and others around me…I supply hair to alot of my clients for their gardens…I’m over run with tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers and bell peppers, etc…this was my first year to plant…I learned alot in my small space (10ft by 15ft) backyard garden here in Indy..I have been watching your $5 site now for almost a year…love the recipes…


Tacy M August 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

This is the first year we’ve really had any success with squash, last year we got squat, but we planted in a different area this time, and watered more and TADA! I’ve had at least 15 zucchini from our three plants so far, and they’re still goin’! We have two pumpkin vines with a ton of blossoms and one tiny pumpkin so far! My kids are totally excited, and they LOVED the zucchini brownies I made last week!


Mary at Deep South Dish August 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I didn’t get nearly as much as usual out my garden this year, but since I live in South Mississippi, our primary problem was heat and high humidity. If I had gotten tomatoes out of all of the blooms I had, I would be overloaded with tomatoes this year! But 90% of the blossoms dropped off of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, due to extreme temps and high humidity. What the heat didn’t get, the overabundance of rain from tropical depressions killed off by drowning the plants – lost almost all of my herbs due to that. I don’t know what to do to correct things either for next year – I mean it’s Mother Nature!! Frustrating.

And I too fight off the squirrels every year. I am constantly chasing them off because they are constantly digging in the garden. I even took down my bird feeders to deter them. It helped, but I miss my birds!! :(

Guess there is always next year to look forward to trying again.


Beth August 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

I had horrible luck with my summer squash and zucchini, 1 piece off of each. I had great luck with my butternut squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, onions, chives and stevia. My cilantro did just okay. No kiwis this year. Cucumbers were just so-so. High heat and humidity here in NC too. Luckily I have a 55 gallon rain barrel with hoses attached in my garden area to help on the dry days. I was about 2 inches of running out of rain water when we finally started getting some rain. Better luck next year.


Crystal August 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

My squash plants were doing pretty well…until we went out of town and the squash bugs got all 3 of them. My zucchini was slower for some reason, but I was just about to start getting some off of it…and then I went out of town. The same bugs got it, too. I’m so sad because we do love our zucchini.


Karla August 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Did you plant the squash in the same spot as last year? From what I understand if you plant them in the same spot in consecutive years they will not do well. I live in South Central Kansas and know of several people here who have had bad luck with their zucchini. We had a bountiful harvest of ours until the squash bugs did them in a couple of weeks ago.

Your posts last year on square foot gardening inspired me to do container gardening this year and I finally have had gardening success this year!! Thanks for all your great posts!


Lori August 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm

My squash didn’t do anything this year either. We got 2 little yellow squash-that was it. Our Okra didn’t do well this year either, only one plant made it from the seeds I started, which was vastly opposite from last year. We had tons last year. Now nothing. :( Thankfully my cousins have a flower/veggie farm and they do have tons of okra this year, so I’ll be buying some from them this year.


IreneD August 22, 2010 at 6:18 am

My garden is now starting to produce. We had a stretch in July of 100 degree plus temps. The plants just shut down. I live in NJ and I’m hoping that things stay mild long enough for us to have a good harvest. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Been a fan of $5 dinners for about a year now. Love your photography.


Andrea August 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm

We are in Oregon and have had LOTS of zucchini, but very few tomatoes. There are finally tomatoes on the vines, but who knows when they will ripen! I am most excited about 7 sugar pie pumpkins that are starting to turn orange. I thought we only had 3 or 4 until the other day when we discovered more that had been hidden.


Karla August 23, 2010 at 8:04 am

I am in South Central Kansas and my family had lots of zucchini until the heat and squash bugs did them in a couple of weeks ago. Although many people in this area had bad luck with them.

Did you plant them in the same place as last year? From what I understand they will not survive if planted in the same spot consecutive years.


Lois Lord August 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

I love your square foot gardens I have saved them all. Hopefully next year I will have a place to put a garden in. I planted 4 seeds of pumpkins all 4 came up and they all were doing good when over night 2 of the whole plants were gone. The other 2 are doing very well. I just wondered how do you pollinate plants? Keep up the good work.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm


No I didn’t Karla…new spots for everything!


Wendy in WY August 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

For Lois Lord, I use a Qtip and go from flower to flower, just in case the bees didn’t get them all. There are a ton of books at your local library that tell you more scientific ways, naming all the plant parts, etc. but I have found my way has increased my garden production 10 fold. Good luck.


Wendy in WY August 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

For those in areas with high heat this year, (everyone but me I think) I use garden shade cloth picked up at my local Lowes or Walmart. It can lower the temp in the garden by as much as 20 degrees. I make hoops out of 1/2″ PVC pipe and tuck them into my raisebed corners. I criss-cross two 10′-12′ pieces (depending on the height of your garden) and use cable ties to tie the middle together. Then I put the shade cloth over the top. This allows more airflow than just laying it on the plants. I also use the hoops in the spring and early summer with light frost blankets to protect from hail storms. This has made my gardens flourish compared to years that I didn’t do it. It’s a twist on some ideas I found in “The All New Squarefoot Garden” but man does it work. I can even grow most lettuce all summer without it bolting.


David September 20, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Great peppers!

As for zucchini and squash… You might want to check http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs398 (it’s generic even though it’s from University of Florida’s Extension Office.) I stumbled upon the UFL article today as we plan our garden (planting season is just starting here for most veg).

From the article:
Gardeners frequently note that their squash blooms profusely, yet fruit does not develop as they expect. The plants may produce only male flowers or only female flowers. Flower sex is influenced by temperature, seasonal day length, plant maturity and hormones. For more information, refer to Wyman’s Gardening Encyclopedia by Donald Wyman.

The article does a great job of showing photos to help identify male and female flowers. It won’t “cure” or prevent a bad yield, but will give you an idea at flowering time of your maximum yield.


Lily October 2, 2011 at 12:15 am

Your first picture of that seemingly red, juicy pepper already got me! I wish I had a garden of my own and a green thumb. Fresh produce is just lovely.

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