Squash varieties are either summer or winter, so it is important to distinguish what kind of squash will be cultivated in order to effectively grow it. Farmers should also keep in minds that squash is susceptible to bacterial and fungal diseases as well as pests.
Growing Squash – Things to Consider
While squash is not difficult to grow, the kind of squash variety to cultivate may depend on the size of the garden where it will be planted. Sunlight is important in growing squash, so the area for planting should be under full sun. These plants, whether summer or winter varieties, also require fertile garden soil, sufficient fertilizer and adequate moisture. Their vines should be buried about an inch deep; the summer squash placed three to four feet apart while the winter plants five to seven feet apart. If growing squash indoors, the seeds should be limited to three to four per pot and thinned to two plants as they grow.
Squash Plants – Harvesting
The seeds of squash plants should be sown when the soil has warmed from frost. They should be inspected daily because they grow quickly particularly when the weather is hot. For higher yields, squash plants should be harvested frequently and their fruits plucked while in their infancy. Summer squash should be gathered while the rinds are still soft and prior to the full ripening of seeds. On the contrary, winter squash should be left alone until it has matured. Another difference between winter and summer squash is that winter varieties can be stored in a cool, dry place for one to six months, while summer varieties can last up to two weeks in a cool but moist area.
Squash Vegetable – Various Parts
In botanical standards, squash is a fruit, but in culinary terms it is a vegetable. Its seeds can be turned into vegetable oil or fine flour, while its tendrils, shoots and leaves can be eaten as greens. The male and female blossoms of a squash vegetable can be harvested before or as they bloom and used in various native American dishes. Because almost all parts of the plant are edible, it should be kept away from pests such as squash bugs and vine borers. These insects are responsible for the death or wilting of the squash leaves. If the greens are to be served as salads, then the plants should be treated with organic fungicides in the event of a disease.