Growing Squash

Growing Squash ?

Our gardener grows this vegetable in the garden plot as well as the raised garden bed

He says growing squash is easy ....

     .... That is ..... easy to grow too many !

Choose the most suitable squash varieties for the garden space available.

Bush and semi bush squash varieties work best in our raised garden bed.

A vertical garden support is planned for growing a vining squash variety next season ...

... This will only be successful with a strong trellis and a small fruit bearing plant.

Summer Squash and Winter Squash

Both types have bush and vining varieties.

Summer Squash ... have soft skin when ready to pick

              ... succession planting for early to late harvest

              ... harvested when fruits are immature

              ... flowers are edible

              ... does not store well

              ... eaten raw or cooked

Winter squash ... harvested when mature .. late fall

              ... skin is well developed

              ... stores well

              ... cooked before eaten

Planting instructions for growing vegetables usually include the need for well drained fertile garden soil ...

... This goes for growing squash too.

... Plant vegetable seeds or buy transplants ?

    .. growing these vegetables from seed direct in the garden is easy ..

    .. our gardener prefers this .. he has a better selection of squash varieties ..

    .. store bought trans plants are most often root-bound so do not get the best start.

... Warm soil is best .. well after the last frost ...

... a raised bed is a bonus allowing vegetable seeds to be planted earlier ...

... squash transplants already having a head start, will thrive.

... Squash are sun worshippers .. so it goes a sunny location is best.

... we have seen our gardener plant 4 seeds in a mound of garden soil ...

... under the mound is a secret copartment of composted fish soil.

... when the seedlings have two full leaves he removes all but the healthiest two plants.

... plant removal is by cutting the stem at ground level with garden shears ...

... this process prevents root disturbance of the remaining plants.

... squash vegetable seeds started indoors should be in plantable  pots ...

... seedlings in peat or coir board pots can be put in the ground without disrupting plant roots.

Deep watering is best when growing squash ...

... water the base of the plants early in the morning .. avoid water splashing on the leaves ...

... mulching squash plants helps retain moisture and provides root protection.

Growing squash in a small space garden ...

... one or two squash plants only ...

... poor fruit production ? ...

... the bees may need help polinating these squash plants.

Squash plants have boy and girl flowers ...

              ... boy flowers have no sign of fruit forming where flower meets stem

              ... girl flowers have a bulge at the flower base

              ... to help pollination  ...
              ... use a light brush to spread pollen from boy flower to girl flower ...

              ... or remove a boy flower and gently shake over the female flowers.

              ...  a little help increasing vegetable production !

As usual our gardener is here to protect us vegetables ...

... he slides a shingle under developing squash fruits insulating them from the ground ...

... preventing rot

Mulching squash is better than cultivating for weed control ...

... avoiding root disruption.

Harvesting Squash ....

.... Summer squash varieties are harvested when immature .. delicate skin is easily marred with a fingernail.

     .. before long fruit is 2 inch diameter and 4 to 8 inches long ..

     .. disk shaped fruit 3 to 5 inches in diameter ..

     .. ongoing picking at these sizes encourages more production ..

     .. if  the growing zucchini gets too large ..   further plant production will slow

                       .. some gardeners say these fruits are only good for organic compost .

     .. the flowers of summer squash can be picked and used in soups , salads or battered and fried in olive oil.

     .. summer squash does not store well .. needs to be consumed or processed

.... Winter squash varieties are harvested late fall before the first frost ..

     .. mature fruits have skin like flint

     .. leave 2 inches of stem on the squash when picking

     .. wipe squash and store in dark cool place

     .. stores well

Squash plants in our garden have not been bothered by garden pests  ..

... some gardeners have problems with stem borers and cucumber beetles ..

    .. they cover plants until the flowers form .. picking any beetles off by hand

    .. also they protect the stems

Our gardener's favorite squash varieties ..

Summer squash favorites include Sunburst a yellow pattypan and Ambassador a bush  green zucchini.

Winter squash varieties  Spagetti squash he will try Tivoli this year a bush variety ..

     .. Butternut squash is a favoite .. he is looking for a bush variety for next season ..

     .. one of his favorites that will not be growing in the new vegetable gardens ..

     .. Pink Bannana Squash .. these guys need lots of space.

Growing Pumpkins are a squash like vegetable ..

     .. that will not be happening .. too much for a small vegetable garden.

The gardener's wife knows of some great squash recipes ... He says Yum !!

We vegetables are aware of something that is in the works for next season.

Himself is planting Borlotti drying beans  so another Italian  is needed in our garden ..

... Tromboncino .. no he is not starting a jazz band ..

... but growing squash of the summer variety ..

... These guys may be speaking Italian but the rest of us vegetable plants know ... 

...  they are headed towards the minestrone soup !

Growing squash may not be the best use of space in an urban garden but they are tasty and easy to grow ...

... maybe in a container vegetable garden or try growing squash in a vertical garden.

Our gardener likes growing squash and the cook is delighted with the effort.

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