We planted 9 white squash (some people call this patty pan squash), 9 zucchini and 9 luffa. These are plants that I had started with my homemade seed starting pots. They were all getting their first set of real leaves and were looking good. I had started some yellow squash seeds directly in the garden about 3 weeks ago and they are looking good.
|We planted a milk jug with about 100 small holes in it and planted the squash around it. We'll fill the jug with water and hopefully that will keep the water off the leaves. We also mulched with leaves.|
|This is our first harvest last year.|
Here's what I've learned about summer squash over the years:
- Squash do just fine direct seeding in the garden.
- Plant in hills (this helps you know where your seeds are!)
- Plant 3 seeds per hill and then thin if needed. (If you make your hills large enough you might not have to thin)
- Keep well watered, plants will live for a long time with not much water, but either they won't produce any fruit or the fruit will be hard.
- Harvest when the fruit is small - no longer than 6-8 inches, this will keep the plants producing but once you let a fruit mature the production will slow way down.
- If you plant transplants, plant a few seeds too. That way you'll have older and younger plants.
- Do not water the leaves, just the soil
- Vine borer - if all of the sudden your beautiful plant dies, you probably have a vine borer. Look at the base of the plant and see if some little bugs have bored (drilled) their way into the stem. I have heard that you can scrap them out and if you catch them early enough the plant will survive. I have not had much luck doing that. This is part of the reason for planting seeds with transplants. If we have vine borers, we pull the plant and burn it. And we still have our young plants growing.
- Squash bugs and cucumber bugs - you will find these in the flowers. Squish them.
- Squash bugs lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves (they are orangish colored). again - squish them or if you just can't do it, pull off that leaf and burn it.
- Powdery mildew - is a white mildew that will attack the leaves of squash, melons and cucumbers. It is caused by too much moisture on the leaves and is spread by bugs. We try to cut off infected leaves and burn them. Last year we had a hard time with this and are changing the way we water to hopefully avoid it this year.
Summer squash is best eaten fresh, in fact we eat it almost every day during the summer. If you want to store some for later you might try freezing it after blanching it. I've never done this because we do not like mushy squash. We have frozen grated zucchini without blanching it to use in zucchini brownies. Last year we dehydrated some to use in soups during the winter. They were not very pretty, but they tasted great.
My favorite book on bugs is Howard Garrett's Texas Bug Book an amazing book with tons of pictures and remedies.
You can find information about these fruits and veggies and more by clicking on the In the Garden tab up top.