Cucurbita pepoHEIRLOOM -Bush type plant produces high yields of straight green-nearly-black zucchini. A thin glossy skin gives way to creamy tasty flesh. Harvest when fruit is 6-8". By mid-summer, most gardeners are blessed with the problem of too much summer squash! These bushy plants are found in every garden, often volunteering to guard the compost pile with large spreading leaves. Summer squash are the same species as many winter squash but they are eaten at the immature stage, when the skin is still very delicate & tender. A farming trick to keep up a regular harvest and reduce disease pressure is to plant successions 3-4 weeks apart in different locations and pull out older plants mercilessly after 4-5 weeks of harvest. Otherwise they can become hosts to mildew, squash bugs, and vine borers. Nutrients: vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, folate, riboflavin and manganese ~section~
|Average Seed / oz||Seed / 100' Row||Average Yield / 100' Row||Days to Harvest|
|250||1 oz||150-200 lbs||55|
|Planting Season||Ideal Soil Temp||Sun||Frost Tolerance|
|After Last Frost||65-85°F||Full Sun||Frost Sensitive|
|Sowing Method||Seed Depth||Direct Seed Spacing||Seeds Per Packet|
|Transplant or Direct Seed||1/2"||6"||14|
|Mature Spacing||Days to Sprout||Production Cycle||Seed Viability|
Summer squash is a frost sensitive annual that prefers full sun and fertile soil that is consistently moist, but well-drained.
Direct-seed outdoors once the danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures have warmed to at least 65˚ F for 2 weeks. Plant seeds in hills (warm quickly and drain well) or rows. Space hills 3-4' apart and plant 4-5 seeds ½-1” deep. Seeds will sprout in 5-10 days. When seedlings are 3-4" tall, thin to 2-3 plants per hill. In rows, plant seeds ½" deep and 6" apart with rows 4-5' apart. Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and reduce weeds. To extend your harvest, succession plant every 4 weeks until frost. Seeds can also be started indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date and transplanted outdoors.
Summer squash should be harvested frequently to encourage plants to continue producing. For the best taste and texture, harvest squash before they are too large; 6-10" for yellow and zucchini squash; 8-18" for trombocino squash.
Squashes are an insect pollinated monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant) annual that are very high producers of nectar, making them very attractive to pollinators, especially honeybees. There are four species of squash commonly grown in North America: C. maxima, C. argyrosperma, C. Moschata, and C. pepo. Because the four species do not cross with each other, this allows you to grow four different species in the same garden. Squash must be fully mature before harvested for seed production. This means that summer squashes must be left on the vine until the outer shell hardens. Allow to cure for an additional 3-4 weeks after harvest to encourage further seed ripening. Cut open fruits and scrape out seeds and pulp into a jar or bucket, filling with an equal amount of water. Ferment seeds for 2 to 4 days, pour off the floaters and wash the rest of the seeds clean from the wet chaff. Spread on a screen or several sheets of newspaper to dry thoroughly before storage. This could take several weeks.