Squash Growing – Do So At Your Own Risk They may over run your garden. You may have so many fruits that you can’t give them to your neighbors as fast as your vines can produce them.
Squash require a moist soil and should be fertilized about every 2 weeks during their growing season with a 1/4 cup NPK 5-10-5 or 10-15-10 fertilizer.
Growing Squash is not for the timid! Whether it be delicious green zucchini, yellow straight or goose neck squash or one of the many hard skin winter type squash, they are all vigorous vine plants. Given ample water and fertilizer they can soon cover everything in sight. One healthy vine may cover 60-75 or more square feet of your garden.
Summer squash do not keep well and should be eaten fresh from your garden. They are best harvested in early morning hours. Leave a inch of so of the stem attached to your squash. This will help keep them fresh longer if your don’t prepare them the same day you pick them.
Winter squash is hard skinned and is a good keeper for long term storage. There are dozens of varieties of winter squash available to the home gardener. I like the Butter Nut types.
They have a pleasant taste are good keepers and can be baked, broiled, boiled and used in making bread’s and soup’s. What ever variety you grow harvest them ‘Before’ night time temperatures fall below 50 degrees. Squash are warm weather loving plants. Plants and fruit are easily damaged by night time temperatures below 50 degrees.
Storing Winter Squash is simple and easy. Butternut squash stored at a temperature around 50 degrees will store well for 2 or 3 months.
Squash market. OSU website has a good information page on when and how to harvest and store your winter squash harvest.
Insect pest and fungus can be a problem. How ever both can be easily treated if caught early and treated with the proper fungicide or insecticide. Giving your plants a mild dish soap bath using a hose end sprayer is helpful in preventing both insect damage as well as any fungus infections.
The ‘Squash bug’ Is Not Your Friend! And can cause a lot of damage or even kill your squash plants if not treated and controlled. This same bug will also attack cucumbers and melon plants. Start your spraying program at the first sign of these vine killing pest.
I have had some success in controlling insects by allowing my chickens, ducks and geese limited time access to my garden plot. Grinning, of course they do from time to time take a bite or two from my plants, but, it is a trade off. I can let the bugs have the garden, spray with harsh insecticides or allow my birds the occasional bit of fresh squash.
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