Thursday, October 29, 2015

Growing Butternut Squash Without Watering or Weeding

Squash and other cucurbits (vining crops like pumpkins) are native to the Americas, and are one of the great gifts inherited from the native peoples here.  For those interested in growing squash but weary of frequently watering and weeding of this plant, growing squash with the Groasis Waterboxx may be just right.

A cutaway view of the Groasis Waterboxx.  It channels dew and rainwater using its tan lid, stores this water in the green reservoir, and slowly releases it through the wick to the roots of the growing plant.  With one wick the Waterboxx should never need manual refilling.
We started our butternut squash indoors, and transplanted it into our raised bed garden on May 2.  Like most Waterboxx crops in the raised bed, we will give this one four square feet in a 2' x 2' area.  Our planting is seen below.  After planting the squash and placing the white evaporation cover carefully around its stem, we placed the Waterboxx over the plant and carefully pulled the plant leaves up through the central opening.  We then filled the Waterboxx with 15 liters (about 4 gallons) of water.  This Waterboxx has two wicks (instead of the usual one) to provide water to the plant, so it may need to be periodically refilled.  We will note in this post if that happens.  Otherwise, rain and dew will refill the Waterboxx without human intervention.

A butternut squash grown indoors from seed then transplanted outside on May 2, 2015.  It was watered, had the white evaporation cover placed around its base, and then had the Waterboxx (seen in lower right) placed around it and filled with Water.  The squash will get all the water it needs from the Waterboxx.  
Cucurbits like squash frequently have severe transplant shock, as was the case with our squash. However, the Waterboxx kept the squash from being too damaged by the transplant, and had more than recovered by May 19 as seen below.

The butternut squash on May 19, 2015.  It has not had any water but that provided by the Waterboxx, which hasn't been refilled. 
The squash has fully recovered and grown significantly by May 28, as seen below.  We still haven't added any water to the Waterboxx manually (the occasional rain and daily dew has replenished water in the reservoir).

The Waterboxx Squash on May 28, 2015.  There has still been no water added to the Waterboxx.  

You will notice that in the pictures above there are some weeds growing around the Waterboxx.  This was likely due to poor composting (not allowing compost to bake through hot summer to kill weed seeds in the compost tumbler).  However, with the Waterboxx blocking these weeds from growing next to our squash (and competing for sunlight and water), we do not need to worry about the weeds stealing nutrients or sunlight.

Butternut Squash on June 18, 2015.  The Squash is getting to large for its plot and will be trained up a string trellis to the North.  We still haven't added any water to the Waterboxx or the soil around the plant.
We did add 4 small Jobe's organic fertilizer spikes to the soil around the Waterboxx sheltering the plant on July 1.

A large butternut squash, grown without watering with the Waterboxx, hanging from a string trellis.
We will continue to update this post with photo of our growing squash throughout the season.  If you are interested in growing plants with the Waterboxx yourself, you can buy the Groasis Waterboxx here.  We are growing several other plants with the Waterboxx, a complete list is available here.

If you would like to learn how to grow plants without watering with the Waterboxx, the best resource is the book The Waterboxx Gardener: How to Mimic Nature, Stop Watering, and Start Enjoying Your Garden available here on 

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