Growing winter squashes and melons has always been an iffy proposition for me. I try to keep my vegetable garden intensively planted and neat, so the question is where to direct these plants’ long, wandering vines.
Deb suggested planting melons and squashes right into the compost bins. Perfect! Just like a mini-garden with the roots of each squash or melon plant in moist, very rich soil — compost, actually. Elevated above the ground, the young vines would be safe from rabbits and, over time, could ramble to their hearts’ content over the tops of the bins, even down to the ground and beyond.
With inevitable invasions of yellow-striped cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt, cucumbers will soon peter out. They do so every year, so I always start some new plants in early July. This week I had second-crop cucumber transplants as more compost garden candidates, and I’m wondering if the new piles are still too hot for planting. I’ll find out soon enough because I did transplant a few of the seedlings into two of the piles. The plants’ roots will perhaps find temperatures to their liking in the surface layers of the pile, dipping lower as temperatures cool over the next few weeks. Or the plants might just get cooked.