Winter and summer squash both have very similar needs, so the 5 tips on growing squash that I’ve listed below work for both varieties. I like seeing the green vines making their way across the yard, laden with giant orange or yellow flowers. I just wish squash came back on their own each year, like my perennials do.
The pH of the soil should be around 6.5. Well-draining soil is preferable and squash plants like having a lot of organic material mixed in with their soil. You can make your own compost from leaves, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, and vegetable scraps from the kitchen.
Most squash like to have a chance to dry out between watering. Using a soaker hose or drip irrigation will provide your squash plants with a good, hearty watering. These two methods also allow you to get the water to the roots of the plant and not only on the leaves.
If you want vines that produce large squash, then you’ll need to do a bit of trimming. When the fruit begins to appear on the vine, the vine can be cut back so that the remaining squash have a better chance of getting lots of nutrients. The more you allow the vine to trail around the yard and grow in length, the more common it is to have lots of little fruits.
Getting rid of insects that are eating your squash plants entails the use of some sort of pesticide. However, squash flowers require help from bees in order to be able to produce fruit later on. Many pesticides kill off these helpful bees as well. There are quite a few organic insecticides that won’t harm bees, but will ward off other troublesome bugs.
1. Don’t Harvest Your Squash Too Soon
Many squash are supposed to be a specific color or have certain firmness to their skin. Picking your squash before they are ready will only leave you with inedible squash. If the fruit is immature, then usually the seeds are as well so you won’t even be able to harvest the seeds for next year’s crop of squash.
No matter which type of squash you decide to grow, following these tips should bring you a successful harvest. Winter squash varieties tend to have a much thicker skin than summer squash, so they often make great decorations during the fall. Pumpkins aren’t the only type of winter squash that makes a great Jack-O-Lantern! Have you found squash to be easy to grow? Do you prefer winter or summer squash?
Top Photo Credit: anslatadams