How to Grow Summer Squash
Fun Fact!Before we get into the "How-To" of growing Summer Squash let's define it a little bit and clear some confusion concerning this popular crop.
Vegetable or Fruit?According to Wikipedia All Summer Squashes are from the "fruits" of the species Cucurbita. However, in terms of their culinary use, they are considered to be vegetables.
So there you have it.
When to Plant Summer SquashThe best part about growing squash (and the reason it is such a popular vegetable harvest) is because the entire process is quite simple. Squash pretty much grow themselves with the tiniest bit of help from the gardener.
- It is called Summer Squash for a reason. Squash thrives in the summer and dies in the winter. The best times to plant are mid spring and late summer. Experienced planters will raise squash during those 2 times every year, each time with different crops.
- Since you will be growing the squash during the summer months, make sure they are getting plenty of water. We recommend you use Orbit Water Sprinklers for all your watering needs.
- If you are inexperienced, growing Squash all on its own is a great way to start. Most people will grow it with other plants because it requires little work so they can focus on the other crops and not worry about the squash too much.
- You will have the most success if you plant Squash in loose soil with heavy drainage. This means that you must prepare your soil by loosening the ground and implementing compo-stable fertilizer.
Summer Squash Maintenance
- Thinning; while it is probably the only hands on labor squash requires, it is very tedious and should be done properly and carefully. Generally, thinning is the process of decreasing the amount of crops you have so that you end up with bigger, healthier crops.
- Below is a snippet from a Mississippi Gardening Site that gives fantastic thinning instruction.
- So you see why it is so important. Don't think about it too hard, just go through and make room for the stronger squash to grow nice and big.
When sowing small seed, cut or tear off a corner of the packet and scatter seed in furrow while tapping gently with index finger.
Seeds that are large enough to handle easily can be planted in groups (hills) or spaced evenly (drilled) in the row. When planting in hills, place several seeds in small areas at the desired final plant spacing.
Sweet corn, squash, pumpkins, melons, and okra are often planted in this way. Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings are established, remove the excess seedlings. Sweet corn, okra, and summer squash are thinned to one plant per hill, pumpkins and melons to two plants per hill.
After germination and seedling establishment, remove extra seedlings. The choice of planting method, drill or hill, for many vegetables is up to the gardener.Removing the extra seedlings (thinning) seems wasteful to many gardeners, especially new gardeners. However, when the majority of seeds germinate and the seedlings survive, the plants become crowded. Leaving the plants spaced too closely together reduces yields, makes the plants more susceptible to disease, and generally starves the plants for water and nutrients.
You want your squash "Immature"The thing about squash is that they mature super fast. The difference between a mature squash and an immature squash can literally be a matter of days.
The best, most tastiest squash is harvested just before it matures. Watch your crops carefully; squash is usually ready once they are 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long.
Beware of Cucumber BeetlesCucumber Beetles can be a nightmare to any squash grower. There are a number of ways to combat them but one very popular method is simply to plant radish seeds right in the hills with the cucumber(squash) plants.
You can also pick up some Eco-Friendly pesticides to prevent Cucumber Beetles from being a problem.