The summer squash season appears to never end. And with its arrival come the different varieties that can be planted for variety. You can purchase seeds at local nurseries, stores, online and even farm markets for this versatile summer fruit. In addition to varieties there are other factors to consider before planting seeds.
For planting success in the spring it is important to ensure adequate spacing between your summer squash seeds. Space them not more than one inch apart. To ensure you have strong root growth, plant seedlings about 1 inch deep. However, even if they germinate extremely shallow, summer squash seeds will usually germinate very deeply. Therefore, making healthy mounds or hills for the squash to grow on top is a popular method of growing season.
When your summer plant starts to show signs of leaves and blooms, buy seeds from a local nursery or store. To ensure your plants get off to a good start, wait until after the last frosts have disappeared. This ensures there are no cold snaps throughout the growing season. If you live in a location with frost, wait until after your last frost before planting.
Once you decide where to plant your summer squash, take special care to get it started early. Squash seeds should be sown in warm dark, moist soil. It should be started in the late morning hours, just before sun rays begin to hit the ground, about 45 days prior to expected summer squash blooms.
One of the most important things to remember when starting out to plant your summer squash is timing. The best time to plant your summer squash is from early spring through mid-summer. For early spring, this is the perfect growing season. But if the frost has already fallen then you should move your plants by the fourth week to an area that receives little or no frost.
Your summer squash needs protection so cover the entire area with a light layer of topsoil, lightly cover with mulch. It is important to leave at least three feet of space between your plants and the mulch. Your plants will need the moisture the mulch provides, but you also want to give them a chance to grow in the shade of the mulch to get used to the moisture in the soil.
When the temperature begins to rise and the night temperatures begin to drop your plants will need to be moved indoors for protection. There are two options for moving your plants during the summer heat. You can either bring your plants inside with you can use a simple plastic tunnel structure to relocate your summer squash during the day. This saves you the hassle of digging holes in the ground and putting your plants in a protective container. Both methods save you time and energy by allowing you to move your plants into place before the heat of the day begins to kill them.
Planting your summer squash in late summer or early fall will allow you to avoid some of the risks associated with their growth, one of which is damage to your plants by the heat. If you have a full sun garden you should place them just one to two inches deep in well-drained soil, approximately half to one inch wide. They will not grow in sandy soil and they will not grow successfully in clay soil.
One concern for many people with full sun gardens is that their plants may not taste as good if they have been planted too close together. The problem with this concern is that if your summer squash have been planted too closely together they can overheat and suffer from dry spots. You can overcome this issue by ensuring that the plants are planted at least one to two inches apart. This distance will ensure that they have room to cool down between each plant and will also help prevent them from suffering from heatstroke due to lack of adequate ventilation.
To maintain the fresh taste of your summer squash you should carefully remove the rind from the flesh. The easiest way to do this is to cut the rind from the middle of the fruit. You should then cut off the long fibers at the top of the flesh. Any remaining green foliage can then be removed easily by hand. The flesh of the fruit will taste better if you let it sit out in the sun for a week or so after removing the rind, but it is also important that you keep your seed in a cool and dark place until you are ready to harvest your squash.
It is very important that you water your seedlings properly during the growing season and you should check the soil for moisture daily. The best time to plant your summer squash plants is late spring through early summer and you should place the seedlings about six inches deep with a six-inch width in the soil. If you want your seedlings to develop quickly, you should dig the seedlings up and spread them out before putting them into the ground.