1. powdery mildew that sets in in July and pretty much kills the plants, eventually.
2. squirrel(s) that attack the fruit. It/they can decimate the crop, destroying a squash-a-day when they get into it, unless the squash are hung high and inaccessible (I try to do this by trellising).
I have had some success controlling the mildew by spraying with a solution of baking soda but eventually the mildew wins out and the leaves become hard and brittle and I assume close to useless in photosynthesis. I've continued to water the plants daily, in any case, in the theory that the squashes will ripen better. I have many squash lieing on the ground, and a squirrel has attacked two of them in the last week or so. I've set out a trap (no success yet this year), plan to take the trapped critter ~6 miles into the hills (a park) and release it. Not sure it won't make its way back, I've heard stories that this is possible. For all I know, the squirrel that's eating my squash this year is the one I released in the park last year...
Well, one question I have is this: Since the plants, for the most part, seem unable or unwilling to produce new growth, at what point can I remove the kabochas from the vines? I understand that they will ripen more (I harvested the bulk of my crop on August 15 last year because a squirrel was attaching them, and although they looked great, a great many of them were not nearly mature and were a disappointment... not deep orange inside and not very sweet).
Is it being on the vine (even a seemingly almost dead vine) that matures them or is it just sitting around, perhaps being in the warm sun? When can I pick them, and if I do pick them before I'd like to (i.e. mid to late October, it does not freeze here), should I leave them outside in the sun (I have a patio table I could leave them on that a squirrel cannot access.
Thanks for any help here!
Email: dmusicant at sonic dot net