Squash Growing Guide

All you need to know to grow successfully!

Plant Family:
Cucurbitaceae
Plant Type:
Annual

Square Foot Spacing:

1
Typical Season:
Warm season
Typical Zones Grown In:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Growing Difficulty:
Easy

Squash is a type of vegetable that comes in many varieties, including summer squash, winter squash, and pumpkins. They can be easily grown organically in a variety of settings, including in containers or in the ground. Squash prefers warm temperatures and well-draining soil, and should be planted in a sunny location with regular access to water. They are generally started from seed, and should be thinned to ensure adequate spacing for growth. Squash requires consistent moisture and regular fertilization to ensure healthy growth, and should be harvested frequently to prevent the development of overripe fruits, which can be tough and less flavourful. The fruits can be eaten fresh or cooked, and are typically sliced, diced, or mashed for use in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, casseroles, and baked goods.

How to Grow Squash Organically

Here are some general instructions for growing squash organically:

  1. Location: Squash plants need plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and has soil that is rich in organic matter.
  2. Soil preparation: Before planting, work in a generous amount of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil to improve its nutrient content and water-holding capacity. If your soil is heavy or poorly drained, consider planting squash in raised beds or mounds to improve drainage.
  3. Planting: Sow squash seeds directly into the garden in late spring or early summer, once the soil has warmed up to at least 60°F (15°C). Alternatively, you can start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before your last expected frost date and transplant seedlings into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Space plants about 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) apart in rows or hills.
  4. Watering: Keep squash plants well-watered throughout the growing season. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions and soil type, to ensure that the soil stays evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
  5. Fertilizing: Squash plants are heavy feeders and benefit from regular applications of compost, compost tea, or other organic fertilizers. Be sure to avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of fruit production.
  6. Pests and diseases: Squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and vine borers are common pests that can damage squash plants. Handpicking or using row covers can help prevent infestations. Powdery mildew and other fungal diseases can also be a problem in humid weather, so be sure to provide good air circulation around the plants and avoid watering in the evening.
  7. Harvesting: Summer squash is usually ready to harvest within 50-60 days of planting, while winter squash can take 80-120 days to mature. Harvest squash when the fruit is fully formed but still tender and before the skin becomes too hard. Use a sharp knife or pruners to cut the stem, leaving about an inch (2.5 cm) attached to the fruit. Store squash in a cool, dry place for up to several months, depending on the variety.

Planting Guidelines

The following are general guides to follow. However, nothing is set in stone. Feel free to experiment!

How to Start:
Direct Sow, Start Indoor
When to Direct Sow:
May, June
When to Start Indoors:
April, May
Sprouting Time:
7-14

Ideal Temperature (C):

15-40°C
Depth:
2.5 cm
Spacing (cm):
60cm (18-24″)
Row Spacing (cm):
90-120cm (36-48″)
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Maturity Time:
60-100
When To Harvest:
August, September
How to Harvest:
Pick regularly to encourage the plant to keep on fruiting. Zucchini leaves are often very prickly, so pull delicate skinned fruit out carefully. Fully mature zucchini have a hard skin: chickens like them.

Health Benefits

Growing your own food is one of the best things you can do for your health. Let’s check out some of the health benefits!

Is It Edible?
Yes
Edible Parts:
Leaves, flower, and Fruit
Potential Health Benefits:
Eye Health, Depression Fighter, Skin Health, Nutrient Dense

Tips to Growing Organically

Growing without the use of pesticides and herbicides is easier than you may think and it’s better for the environment!

Companion Plants:
Corn, Lettuce, Pea, Radish
What Plants to Avoid:
Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Turnip
Common Pests:
Common Disease:
Mildew on leaves. To combat this it's best to avoid overhead watering.
Bonus Grow Tips:
Squash likes to climb, so it's a good idea to set up a trellis or a squash arch!

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