Squash is a versatile and delicious vegetable that’s easy to grow in a garden or container. Whether you want to grow summer squash, such as zucchini, or winter squash, such as butternut, the process is similar. Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest squash.

Planting

  1. Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil. Squash prefers warm soil, so wait until after the last frost to plant.
  2. Sow squash seeds directly in the soil, planting 2-3 seeds per hill, spaced about 3-4 feet apart.
  3. Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and cover them with soil. Water the soil well.
  4. Once the seeds have sprouted and grown to about 2-3 inches in height, thin out the weakest seedlings so that only one plant per hill remains.

Growing

  1. Water the squash plants regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  2. Fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
  3. Mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and prevent weeds.
  4. Once the plants have grown a few inches, train the vines to grow in a specific direction, if desired. This will help keep the plants organized and make it easier to harvest the squash.
  5. If you’re growing winter squash, be sure to leave enough space between plants for the vines to spread out. They can grow up to 10 feet long.

Harvesting

  1. Summer squash can be harvested when the fruit is about 6-8 inches long. Cut the fruit off the vine with a sharp knife or pruning shears.
  2. Winter squash should be left on the vine until the skin is hard and cannot be punctured with your fingernail. This can take up to 100 days after planting.
  3. Cut the squash off the vine with a sharp knife, leaving a few inches of stem attached.
  4. Store winter squash in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

Growing squash is relatively easy and can yield a bountiful harvest. Remember to water regularly, fertilize, and train the vines to grow in a specific direction. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy and delicious squash in your garden.

Author

  • Courtney Simons

    Dr. Courtney Simons has served as a food science researcher and educator for over a decade. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and a Ph.D. in Cereal Science from North Dakota State University.