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How to Grow Squash

Are you planning to grow squash this year? Notorious cross breeders, there is no shortage of varieties to choose from. Select among bush or vining plants. Try a summer squash, or a winter squash. Squash is a member of the cucurbita family, which also includes pumpkins.

Squash is easy to grow. Most varieties are prolific producers. Perhaps, most well known among the squash family is Zucchini squash. Zucchini is not only good, but it may also be the most prolific, most productive plant in your vegetable garden.

Squash are generally categorized as Summer Squash, or Winter Squash. Summer squash has tender, edible skin, and does not store long. Winter squash has a tough skin, and can be stored for months.

How to Grow Squash:

Grow squash in full sun. Plants prefer rich garden soil that drains well. They are big feeders. Mix in plenty of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Plant squash seeds in rows or hills, planting seeds one inch deep. In hills, plant four to five per hill. After they have germinated, thin to two to three plants. Row spacing varies by variety.

Squash can also be started indoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost. To minimize transplant shock, we recommend using peat pellets.

Squash plants are heavy feeders. Fertilize when planting, and every 3-4 weeks until harvest.

Water regularly to keep the soil moist.

It is important to weed frequently, to keep the weeds from competing for water and nutrients.

Mulching around will help to feed the plant, minimize weeds, and to retain soil moisture.

Squash is not a hardy plant. They are susceptible to frost in the spring and fall. If frost is in the forecast, cover plants.

Harvesting Squash:

Days to Maturity:  Most summer squashes require 45 to 50 days to maturity. Winter squashes range from 70 to 110 days, or more. Larger fruited varieties, like Blue Hubbard, require the most time.

Its best to harvest summer squash while the fruit is still young and tender. The skin is edible when the fruit is young.

Winter squash is harvested at the end of the garden season, usually right before or after the first fall frost. The skin is hard and not eaten.

Insects, Pests, and Disease:


The Cucumber Beetle can be a major problem. Use insecticides at the first sign of  beetles.

Squash vine borers are a deadly problem. They will bore into the vine and eat it away, killing the plant. Read pesticide labels before purchasing, to make certain they are effective against borers.

Squash plants are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, and are variety of bacteria and fungus diseases. Problems often occur with the arrival of warm weather and high humidity. Treat with fungicide before the onset of warm weather in your area.

More Information:

Garden Recipes - Find Squash recipes and garden recipes galore!

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