With the price of groceries increasing every day many people are turning to growing their own fruits and vegetables. Summer squash are one of the most popular vegetables in a vegetable garden. Whether you are a beginner, or an experienced gardener, the tips below are sure to help you grow a bumper crop of summer squash. Growing summer squash can be a fun experience for both the young and old.
There are several varieties of summer squash to choose from but they are all easy to grow. You can grow one or all of the varieties below. The three most common varieties are the straight neck, crooked neck, and the Zucchini.
- Straight Neck: These are the most common yellow squash. They are mild in flavor and are cooked in many different dishes and are great pan fried. Straight neck squash are best when harvested young right after the blossom on the end dies. If harvested at full maturity the squash will be hard and crunchy.
- Crooked neck: The crooked neck and straight neck are closely related. The neck on this squash is generally crooked and the flesh is bumpy and darker yellow, although they are smooth to touch. They should be harvested the same as the straight neck, when they are young. They can be cooked exactly the same as the straight neck.
- Button Squash: This little squash comes in other varieties than yellow like green and white, but the yellow is the most common variety. They are flat and round and resemble a button. another name is pattypan. These squash can be harvested and cooked, but they are also used as decorations. A common way to cook button squash is to slice and fry or steam and add a cheese sauce.
- Zucchini Squash: These are probably the easiest squash to grow and a few will produce a bumper crop. They are green in color, and grow fast. The harvest size can be from six inches to as big as two feet. Zucchini’s can be cooked in several different ways and are ingredients in several recipes.
Growing summer from seed squash only requires a few steps.
- Ensure the soil is well tilled and free of weeds and grass.
- Mix mulch or all purpose fertilizer (10-10-10) in the soil.
- Plant seeds after the last frost and the temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Plant 3 or four seeds per hill, and thin to one plant when they sprout.
- Seeds should be planted about 1 inch deep.
- Plant seeds approximately 18 to 20 inches apart.
- Keep soil moist and wait for them to come up in about a week.
Summer squash can be transplanted in your garden if you purchase plants from a nursery. The steps are the same as planting from seed with a few exceptions.
- When transplanting live plants, ensure the containers are watered.
- After planting in garden, water again to prevent shock.
- Spacing and soil prep is the same as planting from seed.
Because squash grow so quickly, it is easier to plant from seed. The plants seem to be healthier and transplant shock is not an issue. Either method of planting will work, but I prefer the seed method.
Growing squash in the garden is an easy and economic way to put groceries on your table and in your freezer. Squash can easily be frozen and enjoyed at a later date. By using the tips above, you should have no problem growing hearty and healthy summer squash. Growing summer squash is both fun and productive.