Part of the curcubit family; includes zucchini, crookneck, and pattypan squash, either in climbing or bush form.
Amend soil with compost and lava sand, and apply mulch. Till in citrus pulp to control nematodes. Also try ground up bay leaves worked into the soil at planting time to reduce squash bug attacks.
For spring, sow outside 2-4 weeks after average last frost, when soil temps are above 60°F. For fall, sow 12-14 weeks before the average first frost. In general, April 1 – May 15 and July 10 – August 15.
Depth: 1/2" - 1" Spacing: 2-3 seeds per mound, 2''-4' apart Emergence: 3-10 days at 68-85° Thinning: Thin to 1 plants per mound when seedlings have several leaves
Keep soil moist, watering at base of plant. A heavy feeder. Top dress with compost once plants are established. Fertilize at blossom time: a handful per plant or drench soil with liquid organic fertilizer. Repeat about 3 weeks later.
- General pest control: Plant earlier or later than usual to minimize pest damage. Fall planted squash can be virtually pest-free. Don’t overcrowd plants. Prtect young plants with floating row covers.
- Spray with citrus sprat to control a number of pests
- Cutworms and caterpillars can be controlled with Bt
- Catch stinkbugs early in the day when they are sluggish
- Squash bugs cause withered/shriveled leaves; hand pick early in season and remove eggs with duct tape. Oull up severely infested plants. Protect with row covers until blossoms open.
- Sudden wilting could be due to squash vine borer. Identify by sawdust like material at base of plant. Split stem, remove pest, and bury stem.
- Powdery mildew causes a white coating on leaves. This fungal disease is more likely to strike during wet conditions. To treat, spray with solution of with 1 tsp baking soda, 2tsp horticultural or vegetable oil, and 1 qt water; every 7-10 days or after a rain. Remove severely infected plant. Can also be managed with weekly Garrett Juice sprays along with garlic and potassium bicarbonate.
- Poor pollination can be remedied with hand pollination using a cotton swab to transfer pollen from male flower onto female flower. Mature fruit left on plant will reduce yield.
See Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening, p185 for more troubleshooting.
- Radishes – grow two or thee in each hill to repel pests
- Nasturtiums repel squash bugs
- Tansy repels squash bugs and cucumber beetles
- Dill attract apid predators; scatter leaves around squash plant to repel squash bug.
- Sweet alyssum makes a good underplanting that attract beneficial insects
- Also: Basil, marigold, oregano
- Squash is part of the Three Sisters grouping along with corn and beans
AVOID potatoes (inhibits growth)
Do not rotate with other cucurbits like melon and cucumbers.
Harvest at 3″ for “baby” zucchini, and at 6″- ” for all other uses. Larger than 10″-12″, use the flesh for breads and discard tough seeds. Pattypan is harvested at 4″ wide.
50 days. Compact plant with continuous production throughout summer. Harvest small, at 3″, for fresh use and optimum flavor or grow larger (6-8″) for stuffing and baking. If allowed to grow larger (10″ – 12″), flesh can be used for breads but tough seeds must be discarded.
ReferenceCarrots Love Tomatoes by
Great Garden Companions by
Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening by