These two pests can cause terrible damage to zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers and other cucurbits in August. These pests also like and seem to go for the hubard pumpkin first.
The amount of these pests on the desired species, when hubbard is used as a catch crop, was lower than that without the catch crop.
Now before you plant all hubard pumpkins around your yard, there are a few items that need to be understood before you can be successful with a trap crop.
First, you need to take care of the fall crop. If the hubbard pumpkin is not watered and cared for like your desired crop, it will not attract the pests.
Second, you can’t transplant the hubbard pumpkin around your desired crop because it can take over. Therefore, you need to locate it near the desired crop and in an area where the pests are likely to come from.
These pests overwinter in weedy areas, for example. So look for this and plant accordingly.
Finally, if all goes well, and hubard squash is doing its job, you can spray the hubard when pests are at their peak and knock down the population that can end up on your good plants.
If populations are high, you will “creep” from the bad pests to the good plants. You can’t count on the fall crop to be perfect.
You’ll still be able to eat the hubbard pumpkin, which is great if you like squash, since the bugs don’t bother the outside as much as they do on pumpkins, etc.
Catch crops are not new – many commercial vegetable growers use them as a tool in their pest control arsenal. They look at numerous ways to control pests with minimal input and minimal use of pesticides.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I have mentioned integrated pest management many times. Catch crops are one of those tools used in IPM.
Pamela Corle-Bennett is the State Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator and Horticulture Educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at email@example.com.