By: Kathee Mierzejewski
Summer squash is a versatile plant that can include so many different types of squash, from yellow squash to zucchini. They also last a while in the refrigerator after picking, so you don’t have to eat them as soon as you pick them.
In order to get the best crop of summer squash plants, wait to plant the seeds in the ground until after any danger of frost. In most states, planting summer squash should be done in early spring. Sometimes, however, it could be later, depending on climate.
When planting summer squash you want to start them in the ground by seed. Start about two to three seeds in an area that should be spaced 24 to 36 inches (61-91 cm.) apart. You can put four to five seeds in hills that are located 48 inches (1 m.) apart. Make sure to plant these seeds about an inch (2.5 cm.) deep into the soil.
Summer squash plants should be planted in well drained soil that has been raked well. When planted on hills, you will see vines and tendrils coming off the plants everywhere after a while.
You can rearrange your summer squash plant tendrils so they keep growing near or on the hill, but once the tendrils take hold, don’t pull them or you might disrupt the growth of the plant. Be careful once you see fruits starting to form because if they fall off, or if you knock the flowers off your summer squash plant, it won’t produce.
Your squash will develop rapidly after the flowering stage of the plant. When harvesting the growing summer squash, you should decide what you want to use the squash for. You can use it in recipes and many different dishes. Since summer squash comes in different varieties, there are different flavors as well. Some are milder than others.
If you are looking for summer squash to cut up and cook as a simple vegetable, you might want to pick it earlier. When the squash is smaller, it tends to be more tender.
Just remember that the larger the summer squash fruit gets, the tougher the skin and seeds are. These are better for things like zucchini bread and muffins because you can grind them after removing the seeds, or for stuffing after scooping the seeds out. They bake up nice in the oven.
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Of the summer soft-skinned varieties, the most commonly planted are: 'Early Prolific Straightneck' (yellow), 'Zucchini Elite', 'Fordhook Zucchini', 'Cocozelle Bush' (green), 'White Bush Patty Pan', and 'Scallopini Hybrid'. Fall and winter hard-skinned varieties include: 'Royal Acorn', 'Bush Buttercup', 'Bush Acorn', 'Table King', and 'Bush Gold Nugget'. 'Spaghetti' is a novelty variety that produces tasty pulp that looks like spaghetti when cooked and removed from the squash shell. When choosing a variety, consider space needed, days to maturity, yield, and disease resistance.
A number of objects can provide support to your squash plants as they grow. Push the trellis or support into the soil just after the seedlings emerge, so that you don't hurt the plant's roots. One option is to create a teepee by tying together three stakes at the top. Spread out the bottom of the stakes, then push into the soil to make a pyramid shape. A trellis is only suitable for small types of squash, such as acorn squash or Delicata. Large squashes will be too heavy for a trellis.
Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.
I like my yellow squash fried in flour with Jalapeno pieces mixed in. I THINK IT’S THE BEST .
How about growing either one or both in large containers? Last time I tried growing zucchini in a container, the only flowere that came were all male. What would cause that? Thank you in advance for your response.
Yes, you can grow them in containers. Male flowers usually arrive earlier than female ones. So the first few weeks, you’ll probably only see male ones, and then both male and female ones will pop up.
I love to pickle my zucchini and yellow squash. I add a little pickle crips to keep them crunchy. I can’t get enough.
Nothing I like better than Zucchini & Tomatoes. Simple to make and delicious with just about any entree.
Simply slice a 3 or 4 of normal sized zucchinis (no more than 1-2 inches around) into thin coins. Sauté in a heated skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil until they just begin to brown. Then add one 28 ounce can of petite diced (in summer, you can use fresh, ripe plum tomatoes like San Marzano) and crushed rosemary, to taste (about a 1/2 teaspoon or more) simmer until desired thickness is reached and then add a TBSP of butter and salt, to your desired taste. Tastes especially great with grilled meats, oven roasts or even just serve over a bowl of farfelle/bowtie pasta.