Just when I was wondering what we were going to do with all of the zucchinni we were harvesting, I walked out to the garden and saw this:
The plants are wilting because the larvae of the squash vine borer are feasting on the stems.
Believe it or not, this is my first run-in with the squash vine borer. It’s also my first real garden in this part of Texas, so maybe the regions that I gardened in before were fortunate enough to not be plagued by this particular pest, or maybe I just haven’t grown that much zucchini or squash in gardens past. In any case, the best offense is a good defense when it comes to this bug. Apparently panty hose or tin foil wrapped around the stems when the zucchini is just coming out of the ground will do the trick. I’ll re-plant and give the tin foil a shot then let you know if it worked.
If you have this problem and want to save your zucchini (or pumpkin, or squash) you can slice open the infected part of the root, remove the larvae, and cover the damaged part of root with soil. If the plant isn’t too far gone it can recover.