Summer squash such as pattypan, crookneck squash and zucchini has been bred to be harvested before the rind hardens and the fruit matures. Winter squash, on the other hand, is for longer term storage and has a thick skin when mature. Acorn Spaghetti and Hubbard squash are winter squashes.
Squash is a warm season crop, very tender to frost and light freezes. Use row covers to increase yields. Leave the covers in place until the plants bloom, when the covers should be removed at least during the day to provide pollinators access to the flowers. The covers may be put back in the evening for extra protection.
- (Very) warm season crop.
- Direct-sow seed or start plants indoors for an early crop.
- Heavy feeder.
- Plant seeds in late spring or summer when the soil temperature is at least 75 ° F. For a detailed spring planting schedule, check out this Vegetable Planting Schedule.
- Plant in small hills created by digging an 18" deep hole and filling the hole with a mixture of equal parts soil and compost.
- Seed planting depth: 1”.
- Seed spacing: 10-16”. Plant groups of 2 - 6 and thin to 1 or 2 when seedlings are 3" tall.
Planting and Tending
- Mulch between plants.
- Raise fruits off the ground to prevent rot. Use an A-frame or trellis to grow plants upright.
- Drench the soil around the plants with a fish/seaweed emulsion solution at blossom time and again 3 weeks later.
- Cut fruits from vine to harvest. Summer squash should be harvested before they become more than 8 inches long.
- Cure winter squash after picking by placing in a well-ventilated warm place for 2 weeks. We place them inside the entrance of a garage or shed where the door has been propped ajar.
- Any squash can be part of a Three Sisters planting.
- May be planted in the spaces between hills of beans and corn.
- Likes to be near:
- Do not put near:
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You may also appreciate these books on growing vegetable gardens.