Saving squash from fall rodents
HELP, PLEASE! I belong to a community garden in the heart of Neenah, WI. Even though it is in the city, there is a field by the gardens. I have an abundance of acorn squash. All nice size. I am just sick because something is eating them from the bottom, then eating its way into the seeds. They look like a pumpkin after you clean out the inside and about ready to carve it. Except it is from the opposite end. The holes appear too small for rabbits. I thought is was mice. Have yet to get one in an enclosed trap. My neighbor puts water in a bucket, puts peanut butter on a soda can then tops it with seeds. Stringing this on a wire for them to crawl on then fall into the water. Nothing yet. Upon checking others, a few have fallen off. Some have a bit of orange on, yet others are totally green. A neighbor gardener told me to put them in the garage because it is dark in there. The temperature here is normally in the 60s/70s during the day. At night it gets cooler out but not that cold. Put it this way, I have all my home windows open at night and sleep w/only a sheet. How do I protect them until ready for harvest? When is an acorn squash totally ready to harvest? Yes, I read what is online. I prefer a gardener's advice. Thank you so much. Sue
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Rodents and other animal pests are a difficult problem for any gardener!
One idea is to place wire frames or cages over the individual squashes or around the whole plant. Make them out of hardware cloth, chicken wire mesh or something similar. Choose a material with a small mesh size so that mice or other small critters can't fit through. It's a lot of work, but effective. Here's one example:
Other options include mammal-repelling sprays including garlic, hot peppers, clove oil, and others. These can be bought at gardening stores or made at home.