Squash is a great plant to grow if you are looking for something that will grow without much effort. It can be hard to control the amount you harvest, as they become very prolific. There is summer squash, zucchini, and winter squash, acorn or butternut, and when you plant will depend on which variety you have selected.
With summer squash, you will want to plant as soon as the soil has reached 65 degrees or higher. They have delicate roots so transplanting them must be done after the possibility of frost. Watering can is difficult, so when you plant the squash, do so after burying on gallon nursery pots. The pots have holes on the side to allow the water to drain slowly, and the bottom will help create a well. Plant the seeds into the soil, which has been turned with compost, around the bucket for easy watering.
Plants should be placed three feet apart for the summer squash, but winter squash will need between six to eight feet of space. You also want to space out the planting so you get a greater crop that does not come in all at once. This can be done by planting the next crop six weeks after the first crop has been planted.
Squash is not a crop that will self-pollinate so you will need bees. If this is not an option for you, carefully take a paintbrush and move the pollen from the male stamen to the female pistils. This will perform the same action that bees create when they go from flower to flower. In addition, you will have to battle squash bugs. These pests are resistant to pesticides and will need to be scraped off when you see the brown eggs on the leaf. Anytime a bacterial infection has begun, you will need to remove the damaged plant. Then you will have to disinfect the pruning shears because there is no cure for bacterial wilt.
The crop will be ready to harvest about two months after you plant, but you will want to check the plants daily for new produce until the season is over. The gourds should be cut off, instead of pulled off, to keep the vines intact. Summer squash should be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days, but you can freeze it after it is cut and blanched. With winter squash, you will need to cut the squash, cook it, and then mash it before freezing it. The vines that have finished producing can be gathered up and used as compost. After the season is over, stir the soil to allow the insects to break down the dirt prior to the frost.
The squash flowers can be eaten, and removing them from the plant will help produce more crop. Make sure that some pollination has occurred before you pinch off the flowers. To prevent rot from occurring, place boards under the maturing squash plants, or spread another layer of mulch.
*Get more gardening tips from Daily Leisure here*
Follow Me on Pinterest with the other 25,000 followers