In July I wrote about How NOT to Grow Squash but now I think it’s time to write about what works instead. One of my squash plants got a little sick but it seems to have recovered and is producing fine fruits again. Squash plants are very productive and the two plants I have are just about enough for three persons. Next year I think I’ll grow three plants. This year I’ve grown a variant called Black Beauty.
Squash plants like full sun and protection from the wind. A well drained soil with pH 6 to 7 is best. I have used a raised bed with good results, but then again pretty much everything I put in a deep dug raised bed is exploding into big vegetables.
Sow the seeds 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost when the soil temperature passes 16 deg C (60 deg F). I sow them in rows in the raised bed with each seed 3 cm (1 inch) below the surface. Plant 4 seeds together in the same spot and cover lightly with soil and water.
Thin the groups when the plants are 5 cm (2 inch) tall so that only one plant remains in the group. Water on dry days but stay off the leaves. That made one of my plants sick due to mildew. A trick is to grow radish between the squash plants to keep pests away. I’ll try that next year. Just let the radishes grow tall.
Summer squash will mature after 40-50 days, and after that look out for ready fruits every day because they grow really fast. Put some straw below on the ground to spare the fruits, which have soft skin.
Don’t let the fruits grow too big. 5 cm (2 inch) in diameter and 20 cm (8 inch) long will be fine. They will be ready to pick within 4 to 8 days after flowering.
(If you have more tips and advice on growing squash please leave a comment.)