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VEGETABLE GARDEN: SELECTED VEGETABLE CROPS [continued]

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  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 10, pp. 117 - 119

[Selected Crops: intro | asparagus | beans | broccoli | brussels sprouts | cabbage | cauliflower | sweet corn | cucumbers | eggplant | lettuce | melons | onions | peppers | potatoes | squash | tomatoes | herbs | herb use ]

Squash
SQUASH Top

ENVIRONMENTAL PREFERENCES
Light: Sunny.
Soil: Well-drained.
Fertility: Medium-rich
pH: 6.0 to 7.5
Temp: Warm (65 to 75° F).
Moisture: Average.
CULTURE Top
Planting: Seed after danger of frost is past and soil has warmed. Start seed indoors in peat pots 3 to 4 weeks prior to this date.
Spacing: 3 to 4 feet by 4 to 6 feet for hills with 2 to 3 plants per hill; 2 to 3 feet by 3 to 5 feet for single plants.
Hardiness: Very tender annual.
Fertilizer Needs: Medium-heavy feeder, high phosphorus and potassium and organic matter at planting; annual nitrogen in late winter or very early spring; may sidedress after harvest; benefits from yearly topdressing of compost.
CULTURAL PRACTICES Top

Summer squash grows on nonvining bushes. There are many varieties having different fruit shapes and colors. The three main types include the yellow straight neck or crooked neck; the white, saucer shaped, scallop or patty pan; and the oblong, green, grey or gold zucchini. Winter squash grows on vining plants often sprawling 8 to 10 feet in every direction. The three common species are c. maximna, C. pepo and c. moschata: Varieties common to each species are respectively buttercup and blue habbard; acorn and spaghetti; butternut. Soil containing plenty of well-rotted compost or manure is ideal, although good crops may be grown in average soils which have been adequately fertilized. For extra early fruit, plant seeds in peat pots in greenhouses or hotbeds and transplant about three weeks later after danger of frost. Older plants that have hardened off and stopped growth will not transplant well and should be discarded. Squashes are warm season plants and do not do well until soil and air temperatures are above 60º F.
Seed or transplants can be planted through black plastic. Cover seed with one inch of soil.
Squash plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Pollen must be transferred from the male flowers to the female by bees. Use insecticides late in the evening to prevent killing bees.
COMMON PROBLEMSTop
Diseases: Powdery and downy mildews, blossom blight, bacterial wilt, virus.
Insects: Cucumber beetles, squash vine borers, whitefly, aphids, leaf miner.
Cultural: Blossom end rot from irregular moisture or calcium deficiency; flower drop may occur normally when female flowers form before male flowers or during periods of heavy fruit set.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE Top
Days to Maturity: 50 to 65 days.
Harvest: Harvest when immature, only about 6 to 8 inches long and 1 - 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter for elongated types, 3 to 4 inches in diameter for patty-pan types, and 4 to 7 inches long for yellow crooknecks. If the rind is too hard to be marked by the thumbnail, the fruit is too old. Remove old fruit to allow new fruit to develop.
Approximate yields: 20 to 80 pounds per 10-foot row.
Amount to Raise: 10 to 25 pounds per person.
Storage: Cool (32 to 50° F), moist (90% relative humidity) conditions for 5 to 14 days.
Preservation: Cool, moist storage. May can as pickles or relishes. May freeze (quality may be poor on frozen squash).
 
 

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