Torment of Tantalus

This is incredibly frustrating..
I see a ton of info re: squash vine borers, wilt, etc. but have so far missed anything like a comprehensive solution to the bug problem..
My situation: I started 2 each spaghetti, butternut squash, melons of various kinds including watermelon, etc. Pumpkins.
All are being decimated by some form of wilt or borer. Vines that died and have been removed show no obvious sign of borer.. no holes near the base, one vine I ripped open showed no worm inside. Plants are fine one day, dead the next. Regular watering.
I have a lot of cucumber beetles in the garden and what I think are harlequin bugs (flat, diamond shaped). Also a new bug that might be a squash bug (shaped like the small bug spacecraft from Red Dwarf).
Even my butternut succumbed. I have some nerf-football sized melons, but I doubt they will mature.
Details: Plants were started inside, hardened off properly, planted into a raised bed under black plastic and PAMPERED!!! Plants are 2-3 feet apart, and the vines are sprawled all over one end of the garden. You can't walk among the vines, so hand-crushing eggs/patrolling is problematic. Should the vines be pruned to say 2 vines per plant?
I plan to build some cold-frame sized screen enclosures for vines next year in the hope this might help me get a crop to maturity. I had one good year at this location, the last 3 have been bugs-bugs-bugs. Debris is pulled and burned, so shouldn't be overwintering the pests. I'm even starting more in the hope the pests will be done by the time the 2nd generation matures (if it can before frost).
I am trying floating row covers, but we get serious winds in my region and all new frc are now tattered (tying over #9 wire). Thanks for reading this far! Open to suggestions!!
Frustrated in Zone 4..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
if the butternut has gone as well, it probably is that virus propagated by the beetles. the wilt and the borers show different symptoms. The wilt, as the name implies, starts with the leaves noticeably wilting. The borers will show an extended rotting of the vine, with frass on the ground nearby.The fact that you had only a first good year means that the first year they were unable to find your squash, or were able to find it late. Relocation to hundreds of feet away from current location will give you one good year. frc is indeed your best bet, but make the support stronger (may I suggest the clamps from Territorial Seeds, on PVC tubing). You could also consider some insecticide, though someone else will have to specify which.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You can't really keep them covered unless you're willing to hand pollinate. I've read that planting radishes among the squashes repels the squash borers. Just plant them and let them go to seed. (Pull before they drop the seeds--you can eat the seed pods).

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
gonzo wrote:

sounds like my garden every year, i think i live in the worlds WORST place to grow cucurbit's. i decided after the fifth straight failure (this year) that until i find a way to get something out of it, my garden soil is better spent on something that will feed me and not every silly bug.
I have tried BT (many variations), different planting locations, companion planting....the only thing i didn't try was a hot pepper/garlic spray, maybe give that a try....who knows, you may get lucky.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.