Growing spaghetti squash
Hi! I REALLY appreciate that this service is available to us! Thanks so much! For 4 summers (2016-2019) I've been growing spaghetti squash in my garden. It's not a large area, so I really am not able to rotate crops. I understand that probably wasn't the wisest choice and I admit that I'm pretty sure I've depleted the soil of some valuable nutrients by planting the same crop for 4 years. Can you possibly give me some advice as to what I can add to my soil to "fix" the situation? My 2016 crop was awesome, but each subsequent crop has produced considerably less. I continued planting spaghetti squash because my kids love them, they live out of state and I always mail the squash to them! (LOL, I know, but It's true!). Thanks again, in advance, for all your help and advice!!
Macomb County Michigan
Hello. Thank you for your email—I did get a laugh about the spaghetti squash going through the mail! The very best thing to do for your soil is to add organic matter yearly. If you have leaves in your area rake a bunch together and run the lawn mower over them several times and spread the pieces on your garden. Never till! It is harmful to the soil. Compost is another helpful ingredient for the soil. High quality compost or composted manure can be purchased by the bag. Some local nurseries have bulk mushroom compost that can be purchased by the yard or bucketful. Good luck!
NEVER TILL???!!! OMG! I thought I was doing the RIGHT thing! Should I just use a hoe or shovel or something in the spring to break up the soil?? It's usually extremely hard. That's why I was tilling. Seriously, I'm stunned about the tilling!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help. I can buy the compost or manure at Home Depot. Then just spread it around and use the hoe? If I follow the suggestions, is it OK to keep planting the spaghetti squash? I know this sounds silly, but the kids really like it and it's a taste of home! Thanks so much for saying you got a kick out of the squash going thru the mail. It happens every year!! LOL!! Thanks again for all your help! I love this MSU service!!
Thanks so much,
A few things. Yes, stop tilling. Research shows it is detrimental to the health of the soil. Many farmers are going to ‘no till’ methods of maintaining their fields. If you are diligent about the use of organic matter/compost your soil will lose the ‘hard’ aspect. After spreading your organic matter use a potato fork (not a pitchfork) and stick it in the soil and rock it back and forth. This helps bring the organic matter into the soil. Worms and microorganisms will begin their work. Repairing your soil is not a one year fix so be diligent and patient. Healthy soil means a better harvest!