UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Edible Plants

Squash, growing

squash summer
It is very easy to grow squash, and it produces a large crop. In fact, you might find yourself wondering why you thought it would be a good idea to plant several different varieties all in the same season.

There are 2 basic types - summer squash and winter squash. Summer squash are planted for the warm season and eaten, seeds and all, when the fruit is small and tender. They have thin skins and come in a variety of colors and shapes. Winter squash are grown for late sumer harvest and the fruit has a hard, inedible shell. They also come in many shapes, colors and flavors. The flesh of winter squash is separated from the shell and seeds and then cooked and eaten. Seeds are sometimes roasted and eaten as well.

When to plant
Plant seeds or transplants in spring when the soil is warm. Squash do not tolerate frost. Squash generally grow on vines, so allow plenty of space in the garden. There are also bush varieties.

Sun, soil
Like most vegetables, squash need full sun and rich, well draining soil.

Keep the soil evenly moist. Too little water will result in deformed fruit; too much water may cause fruit to split. Avoid splashing water on the leaves, stems or flowers. Squash is susceptible to fungal diseases, so good air circulation and keeping plant surfaces dry is helpful.

Fertilize regularly with a phosphorous-rich fertilizer to encourage fruit production.

Mulching around the vines keeps the plant cleaner and the squash fruits off the soil to prevent rotting, especially for winter squash.
Read more about growing squash

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