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How to Grow Summer Squash

Do you want to learn how to grow summer squash? You have come to the right place? Summer squash are fairly easy to grow and produce quite a bit.

 

Summer squash include yellow squash (crook neck & straight neck), zucchini, patty pan, and other less known squashes. They all are grown about the same way.

One thing you will need before you get started with planting anything is the average last frost date for your area. The Farmer’s Almanac is a great resource for finding this date.

Why do you need to know that date? Most instructions for planting is based off that date. Summer squash is to be planted outside 2 weeks after that date.

Pollination. Summer squash need to be pollinated. Planting them outdoors is the best way for this to happen. Bees and other flying insects will pollinate these for you. If you are trying to grow these indoors, you will need to pollinate them. 

The blooms on the plant are open mainly in the morning. Because of this, the bees are all over the plants in the morning. If you are harvesting in the morning, be aware that there will be bees in there.

Companion Planting. Some plants like to grow together. Squash likes other squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Planting radishes among the squash plants helps repel insects that like to eat squash plants. 

Rotating plants. Squash plants should be planted in a new area the next year. Do not plant them where cucumbers, pumpkins, or squash was planted the year before. They will deplete the ground of the nutrients they need for growing in grown in the same place year after year.

The plants can get very large. Mine get about 6′ in diameter. The leaves and stems can be prickly. I recommend wearing pants, long sleeves, and gloves if your plant gets large and you need to dig around to find the squash.  I’ve come away with lots of scratches from the plants.

How to Grow Summer Squash

Yellow squash and zucchini at a market and a squash blossom with a bee in it.

Materials

  • Squash Seeds
  • Soil (garden or container)
  • Water

Tools

  • Gloves

Instructions

Summer squash likes to be planted in mounds in full sun.

  1. Make mounds of dirt about a foot in diameter and 6 inches tall in the center.
  2. If you are planting more than one of each kind or more than one kind. Each plant needs its own mound and each mound needs to be at least 3' to 4' apart.
  3. Plant 2-3 seeds per mound 2 weeks after your last average frost. Plant seeds 1/2" - 1" deep.
  4. I cover the mounds until the seedlings get bigger. Squirrels and mice like to snack on the seedlings. What I use is something to what I put in the recommended products below.
  5. Plants will begin to emerge after 5-10 days. Thin plants to one plant per mound once they have 3 leaves.
  6. Harvest squash at your preferred size. The larger they are the less tender they are. Harvest often for more growth.
  7. Use a knife or clippers to harvest. Clip stem off vine. Leaving the stem on will keep squash sealed and will be less likely to mold or dry out.

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