Growing Squash

Your Crops


History and Background of Squash

Squash is a fruiting vegetable native to the Americas. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and it stores very well. Squashes are divided into summer and winter squashes, and they obviously be rotated in fields to provide year-round food. Squashes are from the family of Cucurbitaceae, and are the cousins of zucchini and pumpkins. Summer squashes are thin skinned and are harvested and ready for eating. Winter squashes are often cured and kept using the cured skin as a method of preserving the food through the winter. By now you should have noted how important the ability to preserve food is. Each vegetable we have mentioned had to readily have a tendency to store well. Therefore, it made sense to domesticate only vegetables that lend themselves to storing well.

The squash plant is often consumed entirely. The leaves are eaten as greens and the seeds are eaten raw or pressed for oil.

Squash varieties are:

· Hubbard and Banana
· Pumpkin, Zucchini
· Butternut, and
· Cushaw

Squash Growing Needs

Summer Squash:

The best time to plant is after the last frost. Roots of the plant are shallow and soils should be drained and aerated. Ideal harvest times are midsummer and early fall. The ideal time to pick squash is when they are 2 to 8 inches in diameter. Many people pick the fruit when it is over mature and hard. This is a mistake. Most squash is ready to pick 4 to 8 days after the plant flowers. Water the plant light to moderately.

These varieties include:

· Pan Patty
· Black Beauty
· Cocozelle, and
· Aristocrat

Winter Squash Needs:

Winter squash is a vining fruit and is harvested when the fruit is mature. Winter squash matures to include a very tough outer skin and requires a longer cooking time. These are open-pollinated varieties that include:

· Pumpkin
· Swan White
· Table Ace
· Table Gold
· Sugar Loaf
· Honey Boat, and
· Sweet Honey

Squash Pests

Cucumber beetles destroy seedlings, vines, leaves and fruit. These beetles hatch in large groups and move together attacking the plant in unison until they reach maturity. Squash bugs attack vines and immature fruit. They feed on the fruit until it matures.