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How To Grow Summer Squash From Seeds

How To Grow Summer Squash From Seeds

There are several types of summer squash, which come in all shapes, sizes, colours and flavours. These include courgette (zucchini), cousa, patty-pan, luffa squash, yellow crookneck and straight-neck, zephyr and chayote. There are also hundreds of summer squash recipes too, including those for soups and stews. They can also be grilled, fried, sautéed, roasted, steamed and stuffed.

However, if you needed another reason to grow them, it could simply be because they are easy and a lot of fun for all the family. And, all summer squashes are grown from seed in a similar way. 

Variety Choice

Squash Patty Pan Custard Twinkle
Squash Patty Pan Custard Twinkle
£1.79

Custard Twinkle is an excellent yellow pie-shaped patty pan variety.....

Packet Contents : 10 seeds

Courgette Atena
Courgette Atena
£1.59

Courgette Atena produces high quality yellow fruits which are.....

Packet Content: 10 Seeds

Courgette Safari
Courgette Safari
£1.99

Produces high yields of striking green striped fruits.....

Packet Content: 10 Seeds

Squash Patty Pan Sunbeam
Squash Patty Pan Sunbeam
£1.49

Sunbeam is an excellent yellow pie-shaped patty pan variety.....

Packet Contents : 10 seeds

Summer Squash Zephyr
Summer Squash Zephyr
£1.79

Zephyr is a distinctive summer squash variety.....

Packet Contents : 10 seeds

Courgette Sure Thing
Courgette Sure Thing
£0.99
£1.79

Courgette Sure Thing is a prolific parthenocarpic.....

Packet Content: 10 Seeds

Seed Sowing 

For best results, sow your summer squash seeds under cover during April or May. Use 7.5cm pots or modular trays filled with quality seed compost. Place one seed per module or 2 seeds per pot, at 1.5cm deep and then remove the weaker one when they have germinated. Water the pots or trays after sowing and don’t allow them to dry out. Germination takes between 7 and 10 days. When the plants are about 15cm high or long, depending on the variety, move them to a sheltered position, away from frost, to acclimatise. 

If preferred, seeds can be sown directly into their permanent positions from late May to early June.

Soil Preparation

Summer squashes are voracious feeders and will therefore benefit from some prior soil preparation. Dig in plenty of well-rotted, organic matter during the late autumn and then firm and rake over the soil bed before planting out the young plants. Some gardeners prefer to grow one or two squash plants on top of a compost heap.

Planting Out

When all danger of frost has passed, the plants will be ready for planting out into their permanent positions. This is likely to be from the end of May and through to July. Squashes need plenty of sunlight and they also need plenty of room to grow, so best ensure they are planted in a sunny position and away from damaging winds. Space the plants at 90cm apart and 90cm between the rows if you intend to grow them on a large scale. Applying a mulch around the base of plants will help to conserve moisture. Squashes can also be grown in growing bags or large containers of rich compost.

General After Care

Squashes are made up of 95% water so it’s very important they are watered frequently and not allowed to dry out. It’s also advisable not to overfeed the plants, especially with a general fertliser, as this will only encourage further rapid growth of foliage. A high potassium-based liquid feed, such as a proprietary tomato feed, applied once every 10-14 days should suffice. Remove any dead or dying leaves and ensure there is sufficient airflow around the plants by pruning as and when necessary.   

Pests & Diseases

Protect against slugs and snails, which can be a problem for young, tender plants. Mosaic viruses are common diseases affecting squashes and other related plants. The virus is spread by aphids so to avoid problems, ensure any aphid attacks are dealt with promptly. Other common problems affecting summer squashes include powdery mildew, which can usually occur during the late summer and early autumn.

Harvesting

Plants will continue to flower and produce fruit all through the summer and up until the first frost. It’s best to harvest the fruits when they are young and tender with soft skin. Picking fruits regularly will encourage further flowering and fruit setting.

 

Have you got any growing hints and tips for Summer Squash? Let us know with a comment below....

 

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