Varieties come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Warm season annual vegetable. Plantings can be made in the spring after the soil warms up to near 70 and additional plantings can be made through the warm season up to early fall.
Prefers a fertile well drained soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5. Higher pH soils benefit from the addition of organic matter.
Direct seed squash about 1 inch deep in a group planting(often called “hills”) of 3 to 4 seeds in an 8 to 12 inch circle. Hills should be spaced about 4 feet apart.
Once pollinated, a squash will be harvest size in only 4 to 8 days. Harvest daily in the peak . Harvest relatively small – larger squash develop tough skins and seeds plus sap more of the energy from the plant.
Water regularly– weekly or even more frequently depending on the weather.
Disease and pest problems:In our humid environment, squash may need treatment for fungal issues although some hybrid varieties have better resistance.Common garden pests are cucumber beetles, squash bugs and squash vine borers. The cucumber beetle and squash bug can damage squash plants of any age but are most destructive to seedlings and very young plants. The squash vine borer grub actually eats into the hollow stem of the squash and once inside is very difficult to control.
Plant squash consecutively through the warm season. Floating row covers are a good way to keep pests off of the plants if they are not already in the soil.
Refrigerateup to a week but quality is best closer to harvest.For longer term storage, squash can be blanched and frozen.
Summer squash are not nutrient dense. They do have a modicum of vitamins, and minerals and a fair amount of potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Depending on preparation, squash can be quite filling without a lot of calories.
Brazos Valley Gardener, Orchardist, Apiarist and Instructor