So I've been lurking on permies for a while and finally made an account to ask this question, since i cannot find much info anywhere else, does anybody grow squash in the forest? like an actual forest where the trees are 30+ ft tall and the undergrowth barely gets any sunlight,
i started reading about landracing late 2020 after i had been hand pollinating some of my squash that summer and i kind of regretted wasting the time trying to keep certain varieties pure, most of the seeds i planted were from bakers creek, and in 2020 i had a place to plant them in full sun, but i just moved to a place that is mostly forest, this past month i started by planting the squash in small mounds with just 1-3 seeds but only some of them survived, most of them either got eaten (I would find pieces of the seed coat scattered around, i figure some kind of rodent did this, likely a rat) and some of the ones that didn't get eaten as seeds had their stems cut near the base of the plant, The survivors are trying to crawl towards the sunlight (I'll have to post some pictures sometime).
After that i soaked a bunch of seeds of both saved seeds and varieties from baker creek for a day and then would walk around in the forest moving aside some leaves, planting the seed partially in the ground, and covering it back up with leaves, it hasn't rained since i did that about a week ago so i worry that those might've all died from lack of water (I planted over 200 seeds of all sorts in random spots that i did not mark so i can't water them easily)
I'll post some pictures sometime of the squash i harvested last fall.
Squash loves growing on trees! I used to plant squash at the base of a 30 foot tall tree. The squash would grow to the top of it, happy as could be.
I typically plant squash seeds about 1.5 inches deep. And stomp them in firmly. This hides the seeds from rodents, and makes it more difficult to pull up newly emerged seedlings. Getting them deep into the soil, provides stable moisture, unlike the surface, which can dry out in an couple hours at my place.
Once you start saving your own seeds, you can have vast amounts of seed to devote to projects like this. Makes survival of the fittest selection easier if you can trail hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of seeds.
Landrace gardening is all about getting what you select for. If you plant into a forest garden, then save seeds, and replant them into a forest garden, you will get a variety of squash that thrives when planted in a forest garden.
The first year is the roughest. The second year, things start to come together. I think of the third year as the magical year, when the plants really start to thrive.
Thanks Joseph for replying, I'm going to plant more squash seeds right before the next rain (If there ever is one before its too late to grow winter squash, Guess I'll plant some tatume i saved if that's the case)
Here are some pictures of the squash plants that have survived up to this point,
Picture 1 is from a jarrahdale squash that was not hand pollinated (Hopefully it crossed with something) the plants seem to be the best of the ones i planted but they are also the earliest.
Picture 2 some of these are seedlings are from jumbo pink banana (Which i hand pollinated so probably no crossing) and the others are from baker creek red kuri.
Picture 3, Replants of some squash that got eaten by rodents, I don't remember what these are since i planted something different from what was originally there.
Picture 4 is a seminole pumpkin, The only one that has survived, I might replant more although i think its kinda late in the season for how long they take to grow, i hope this one produces since its my first time growing this pumpkin.
Picture 5 and 6 are the same squash as picture 1 but planted farther in the woods and later (1 gets slightly more sunlight)
Picture 7 is either some kind of summer squash or seeds saved from tahitian (Not sure although right now it looks more like a summer squash)
Picture 8 is spaghetti squash saved from the store, They look like healthy plants although the label on the squash said from mexico so they might not be adapted for this far north.
Picture 9 is seeds saved from tahitian squash, The only ones that survived by the looks of it.
Picture 10 is a picture from 2020 of some kind of hybrid/grex/landrace that we saved seeds from back in 2017 or 2018 and i planted in 2019 near some yellow crookneck, its probably descended from some kind of pepo pumpkin, Also there is a cayenne pepper too.
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