Spring Garden Tips

Summer Squash

SummerSquash410px.jpg

Botanical Name

Cucurbita pepo

Hardiness

Tender Annual

Height

1 to 3 feet

Width

2 to 4 feet

Flowers

Mid summer to late fall: yellow, females produce fruit, edible

Fruit

Zucchini, scallop, and constricted neck (straight or crookneck) types

Light

Full sun

Soil

Well-drained, organic

Planting and Care

Squash germinate best in warm soil temperatures of 70 F to 105 F.

Begin sowing when the soil has warmed to at least 70 F and all danger of frost has passed. Plant 4 to 5 seeds per hill at a depth of 1 inch. Space hills 3 to 4 feet apart. Thin to 2 or 3 plants per hill.

When sowing in rows, plant seeds 1 inch deep, 4 inches apart in rows set 4 to 5 feet apart. Thin plants to 1 plant per every 1 to 2 feet.

Squash can be started indoors for an earlier harvest. Sow 3 to 4 seeds per pot and thin to 1 or 2 plants per container. Harden off before transplanting. Set plants out in the garden when the soil has adequately warmed and all danger of frost has passed. Space 1 to 2 feet apart.

Mulch the soil to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture.

Mounding some soil around the base of the plants will help discourage squash borers from laying eggs.

Problems

Squash bug, squash vine borer, striped cucumber beetle, bacterial wilt, mildews

Varieties to Consider

Embassy - heavy fruiting zucchini type

Sundance - smooth, bright yellow, crookneck type

Goldbar - golden yellow straightneck type

Peter Pan - light green scallop type

Harvesting

For best flavor and quality of fruit, harvest squash while fruits are small and still have a glossy, full colored exterior.

Pick elongated varieties when they are 7-8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.

Harvest scalloped varieties when they are 3-4 inches in diameter.

Did You Know

Unlike winter squash, most summer squash grow on compact, bushy type plants.

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