A 3-in-1 approach to growing squashes

I have previously planted my squashes through black weed prevention fabric and had great results – the weeds are suppressed and and the squashes don’t end up sitting on soggy soil and rotting as they grow and ripen. However, the weed control fabric had a major drawback in that the ends frayed and strands of plastic would then come loose and drift around my veg patch. Ironically, I have been weeding these plastic strands out of the plot like crazy, they are more invasive than the bindweed! Also, the weed fabric seemed to provide a good home to slugs, and other pests (mice and voles) so I wanted to replace it with something better.

So, this season I devised a new, and as Baldrick would say, cunning plan… I’ve been using the wool liners from my frozen dog food deliveries (my dog is on a raw food diet) to lay down around the squash plants. This has several benefits that I have found so far:

  1. The wool is not very popular with slugs as they don’t want to crawl over the prickly strands, so it’s doing well at protecting the plants from slug damage.
  2. The wool is doing quite well at suppressing weeds, although I wish I had done it earlier in the season before the weeds got quite so big! Some are pushing up no problem. But it’s a learning curve and I think it will be quite effective next year when I lay it down earlier in spring.
  3. When the fruits form, they will sit on the wool rather than the soil which will prevent them from rotting.
  4. It’s biodegradable. Yay!

However…the negatives are that it blows around quite easily and the birds seem to think it is there for them to use for their nests. Hmmm.