Summer squash needs are basic. They include, but are not limited to the purchase of at least one variety of squash (which can be different varieties or even the same), the planting of which seedlings will develop into the next season's crop, proper harvesting, and making sure the vines do not become a nuisance. The harvesting, however, is often the most fun part of growing summer squash. It is also one of the most rewarding aspects of learning how to grow squash. Squash harvests can be quite bountiful, depending on how early in the season one chooses to harvest, the variety of variety, and how resourceful one is in procuring the fruits and vegetables needed for the rest of the harvest. Some people like to harvest their squash right after the plant comes out of its dormant stage, while others harvest their squash just a few days before they believe the plant has come out.
Harvesting can begin weeks before the growing season is due to end, and many gardeners like to take advantage of this time to get most of the squash out of their beds so they can begin replanting in the spring. Many people also find that they are able to harvest more squash during the winter months because the weather is cooler, and squash does better in cooler temperatures. When harvesting your summer squash seeds, you must be sure that the seeds are dry before you pluck them. You should also wash any vegetables you intend to use in sauces with bleach if you have not already done so. You should also ensure that no insects are eating your squash before you pick it.
There are several methods for saving summer squash seeds. One method of saving summer squash seeds is known as the double layer method. With this method, you plant a single layer of seeds in one hole, and then plant two single layer seeds in another hole about one to three inches apart. No matter what type of squash you are growing, if you plant the seeds in one hole, it should be about three to four inches away from the other hole.
For example, suppose you are growing summer squash seeds such as zucchini and yellow squash. Place the zucchini in a hole that is three to four inches deep. Then plant yellow squash in the same hole about four to five inches away from the zucchini. This is how the double layer method works.
To save summer squash seeds that you do not want to get wet, try not to plant them in direct sunlight. Squash cannot tolerate heavy sunlight. Also, make sure that you do not plant tomatoes, melons, or vine crops close to each other as they can also suffer from extreme heat. This also applies if you plan on planting corn or peas too. The last thing you want is for your peas to be buried under the corn or the melons to be over-watered by the tomato vines.
When the frost has occurred, you may now place the seedlings in a greenhouse to capture the harvest. If you live in a warm climate, you should try to harvest your fruits or vegetables as early as possible in the year. If you live in a cooler climate, harvest your summer squash as soon as the frost has occurred. Harvesting late in the year will prevent the squash plants from developing the valuable air pockets that help the plant store heat.
If you harvest your squash seeds before the first frost, you should soak the seedlings in water prior to planting. The soaking process helps to draw moisture out of the soil where the plant requires it. In addition, if you water early in the season, you may avoid the costly cost of adding fertilizer when the squash starts to grow. Another way to keep your squash seeds from drying out is to put them in a plastic bag and put them into a plastic freezer. Be sure to clean out the freezer each time you do freeze to make sure that there are no unneeded bugs or debris within.
For those who plan on planting heirloom varieties of squash, be sure to save some seed back to replant next year. There are many heirloom varieties that grow well and produce delicious fruit. This is especially true for varieties that have hardier seeds and grow well in different climates. For example, there are several African species that can grow well and yield a large crop even in extremely cold climates.