Spaghetti Squash No-grow Last Summer
I live in NW Texas. In previous years, I grew spaghetti squash and had an abundance of big beautiful squash, but last summer, my plants reached all of three inches and simply stopped growing. In mid-July, I tried again with a new packet of seeds, with the same result. Every year, I rotate my garden, mulch, and amend with Miracle Grow. The only differences last year were the location of the squash (a slightly more shaded and damp area), the type of mulch (cotton burr), and the type of landscape cloth (tight black mesh).
I am getting ready to plant this year's garden, and am hoping for advice so that I don't have a repeat of last year. Oh, by the way, for the first time, my onion sets did not grow either. Don't know if that was coincidence or not, but it was awfully strange. Thanks!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Have you had problems with crops in that particular area before?
It is possible you have a soil-borne fungus or bacterium, such as bacterial wilt (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/squash/signs-and-treatments-of-squash-wilt.htm) or Verticillium wilt (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/disease/verticillium-wilt-treatment.htm) which can stop seedlings in their tracks.
I also think the dampness of the soil was a factor and that perhaps the seedlings rotted. I don't see how the landscape cloth was a factor because the seedlings pushed through it.
I could find no real drawbacks to using cotton burr outside of gardeners' concern over the presence of herbicides and chemicals (sometimes herbicidal defoliates are used to kill the cotton plant and remove the plant leaves).
Thank you, Shelley. By the time I got to work today, I realized that the problem was probably the excess moisture, causing the seedlings to rot. I have planted several seasons in this garden plot with no problems at all, and in fact, I always have an overabundance of spaghetti squash. The cotton burr I use is certified herbicide and pesticide free, for what it's worth. It does a fine job of breaking up my clay soil.This year, I will move the squash to a less damp area of the garden. This will be our last garden in Texas and I am hoping it will be beautiful. The next garden will be on the Oregon Coast (post-retirement), with an entirely different climate and a host of new challenges.