How to Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash


Name: Summer Squash (Zucchini and Yellow Squash)

**Summer squash, a category that includes Zucchini and Yellow Squash, is easy to grow unless your summers are very cold and rainy.

**They do not take up much room in a garden because they are bush type-plants and you only need a few for a rather large harvest. Two or three plants per family is a realistic-sized harvest.



**Zucchini and Yellow Squash need a sunny spot with good drainage and where other squashes have not been growing recently. Allow 9-16 square feet per plant.

**All squash like fertile soil with plenty of organic matter to retain moisture. They are heavy feeders and drinkers because they produce big stems, big leaves, and big fruits.

**Their ideal pH level is around 6.0-6.5. Simply add a shovelful of compost or peat moss and an application of liquid fish emulsion. Test your pH levels with a kit like this.



**The seeds of squash should be purchased and not saved from previous crops unless you can be certain that they have not cross-pollinated with another variety. Otherwise, you get odd-looking and inedible fruits.

**Plant summer squash seeds directly into the garden as soon as the danger of frost has passed. You may start them inside in soil blocks or peat pots if you want (then plant those pots directly into the soil to avoid transplant shock).

**Plant the seeds six to a spot and 1 inch deep, then thin to the best three seedlings, then thin to one seedling when the plants are a few inches tall.

**Plant the summer squash 3-4 feet apart. Closer plantings give lower yields.




**The first yellow flowers to appear are usually male. You can eat them. They are good in salads, sautéed, and deep-fried. There will be plenty to spare because you only need a few male ones for pollination.

**The female flowers soon follow and can be recognized by a small bump of “squash-to-be” at the base. You can eat some of the female flowers too, and the plant will just keep producing more.

**Weed the plants when they are young. Later, the big leaves will shade the ground and keep weeds down. This will also keep the soil moist, but water the plants anyway if the weather is dry and give them a top-dressing of compost from time to time to keep productivity up.

**Squash can contract a number of diseases. The best defense is to keep the plants as healthy as possible with plenty of water and fertile soil. Also, always use crop rotation as defense against disease.



**Once they are standard size, try to pick your summer squash every day. Try not to let them get more than 7 inches long (otherwise productivity slows down).

**Cut off the squash with a serrated knife. Pulling or twisting them may damage the plant.

**Harvest the blossoms in the morning when they are wide open so that they are fresher, firmer, and easier to use/eat.


Companion Planting:

**Plant borage, French or pot marigolds nearby to encourage pollinating insects.


Are YOU growing Summer Squash this year?!

**Remember, don’t plant too many plants or you will be begging family and friends to take them away!

**What is your favorite recipe with summer squash? Please let in the comments below!


For further reading:

**Try this Zucchini and Herb Frittata by Oh Lardy

**Here’s two recipes for stuffed squash: (1) Stuffed Zucchini by Our Small Hours (2) Stuffed Summer Squash by The Healthy Honeys

**Try these Apple Zucchini Muffins, recipe from Kula Mama

**Enjoy Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Chicken, recipe from Savory Lotus

**Try these Chocolate Zucchini Brownies by Thank Your Body

**Learn how to make Zucchini Noodles from Our Small Hours


How to Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash


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Comments (47)

These are my absolute favorite to grow! We had SO many last year, though, so I need to plant fewer plants this year! My big issue is those stupid squash bugs. YUCK! Do you have any natural tips for those, except just squishing them?

Good question! I have yet to deal with squash bug problems. My biggest foe in the garden has always been slugs! I should add some info on squash bugs though, so thanks for giving me a head’s up! Here are some ideas that I have found, but yet to have tried: for prevention, plant chives, mint, or radishes near by. Apparently, they hate the smell of those plants. They LOVE marigolds, though, so you could distract them with nearby-ish marigolds. Consider have a “bug motel” for beneficial insects and have it near your plants, so that the beneficial bugs will kill the squash bugs. There are plenty of Pinterest pins out there for inspiration on bug motels. You could sprinkle food grade Diatomaceous Earth around them, it will kill them, but it can kill good bugs too. Duck tape strategically placed might pick them up w/o you having to touch them. It is possible that if you have chickens or ducks and you let them in your garden with supervision, they will devour those pests and love you for it. In desperation, you can suck them up with a shop vac! Make a cleaning soap with a spray bottle, cold water, Dawn dishwashing liquid, cayenne pepper and spray on your plants every day. Look on the underside of the leaves for the eggs and get rid of those… *whew!* I hope that was enough ideas for you! Let me know if you try any and if they work!

for slugs use dry, shredded egg shells;the edges of egg shells are to sharp for them to cross, to get to the plant;it works.

They don’t like water- oddly enough. Bring a hose. water the plants a little. the bugs will run up – catch them and put them in a soapy bucket of water [carry that with you to the garden] or just squish them. Check for eggs on the leaves [normally on the underside. They are reddish and in tight groupings. You can try scraping them off but I normally just tear a that part of the leaf away and trash it. Look for nymphs.. they are more spidery looking than adults and have a whitish/gray color. squish ’em. Do this daily. They can be come infested soon. I have also grown a early trap plant and put out one squash plant to attract those to it before I set out others. Easier to focus on one and get a hold at the beginning. Make sure to clean up any dead plants at the end of the season and check for squash bores too.

What I really love doing with my squash is to turn it into noodles. So easy, fresh, different, and yummy!

Yes! That is an awesome way to eat them! I hope to get a mandolin soon for that exact reason!

I have heard spraying plants with cold coffee will keep bugs away

Thanks for the advice! I will try that next time and edit this post if it works!

My squash stir fry: Even amount of zucchini, yellow squash and onion (I prefer Vidalia or any sweet onion).
Heat olive oil and butter in skillet. Add squash and onion and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Cook about 10 minutes, stirring often. You can top with any grated cheese. Serve at once. We love this quick

Yum! Thanks for the idea! So simple but it sounds great!

what do you do if you don’t get fruit. lots of bees, big healthy plant flowers everywhere, but no squash! I don’t know what I should do. These are packaged seeds not saved ones so I don’t have that problem where the farmer plants nonviable seeds.

It sounds like a pollinating problem! That’s no fun! You can hand pollinate if you so desire. Each plant has male and female flowers. The male flowers are loaded with pollen, the female ones have mini bulges aka the fruit. Hand pollinating should be done in the morning, when the flowers naturally open. Pluck off the male flower, open the petals, and rub the pollen inside the female flower. Keep the male flowers and fry them in batter for a really delicious treat after you use them in this way. No waste! Score! I hope that helps! In future seasons, consider growing some bee-favorite flowers nearby to get bees interested in your crop.

They’re getting too much nitrogen and not enough Phosphorus and Potassium. Also trace minerals help support flowering. Seaweed foliar feeding with Epsom salt mixed in may help your fruit setting problem. Using certain bug sprays may be killing your pollinator bugs. Keep bees happy and have more veggies. 😉

I planted these last year but they produced no squash. I had a million flowers but no squash ever grew. At first I thought it was when and how I was watering them ( in am from sprinkler over head). So I changed that to watering directly on soil. I saw bees everyday believing they were pollinating. Plants looked plenty healthy but I have no idea what went wrong. HELP!!

It is most likely a pollinating problem. The bees must go from the male flower to the female flower, dragging the pollen from the one to the other. Male flowers drop off, and the female flowers produce the yummy veggies. You might want to plant some bee-favorite companion flowers (like borage) by your squash to encourage as many bees as possible. You could also try hand-pollination with a q-tip. Good luck!

I have the same problem anytime I attempt to grow squash. Nice, HUGE in fact plants but no squash. I finally gave up. I am wondering if it couldn’t be too much nitrogen in the soil. The foliage gets like 6 feet tall!!

[…] How to Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash from The Homestead Garden […]

MY zucchini and yellow squash has been getting mildew and the leaves die. I bought the spray and it helped at first but didn’t do well last year. What can I do? Please advise. thanks so much for all your help.

Here’s some tips for mildew on your squashes: (1)Give them more space in the future. Moisture causes this mildew, and since you cannot control the humidity/weather, extra space will let them breath easier. (2)Plant squashes in direct sunlight. NO shade. (3)Do not water them in the evening. (4)Avoid the spread of the mildew by: cleaning tools immediately, removing mildew-leaves immediately and throw away (NOT in compost pile!) (5)Try more mildew-resistant types in the future (6)Make a DIY spray with 1 part milk mixed with 8 parts water and spray on the plants. Hope this all helps!

I love all the varieties in all the normal ways….fried, baked in bread, stir fry, etc…but in our home our fav is a marmalade from the big ones that everyone wants to stay away from 🙂
I take 6 cups of peeled and grated zucchini add to a dutch oven with 6 cups of sugar. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil (this mixture will quickly come to a liquid) then boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 can crushed pineapple, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 lg or 2 small boxes of whatever flavor jello you like. Process in half pints or pints depending on the size of your family for 5-10 minutes in a water bath canner. I started this recipe with apricot and this is awesome on biscuits and also used as a glaze on ham or pork chops. But our favorite is strawberry and you wouldn’t believe how much it taste like strawberry ice cream topping.

Wow, what a clever idea! I am totally keeping this in mind when I have too much zucchini this year. 🙂 Thanks a bunch!

Great information here. I had 4 plants last year and only 2 fruits. I was so disappointed. I will try some bee-friendly plants nearby this year. Thank you for the tips.

Thanks for visiting and commenting! I hope you have a great produce year this time! is a good place for ideas on Squash Bug control. I love my yellow squash and, although I live alone, I have three plants of it. I freeze excess by slicing and freezing on cookie sheets then removing to plastic bags. Zucchini bread uses most of that. Yum!

Thanks for commenting and for the tips!

I just bought climbing zucchini any good ideas for planting

A trellis should work great!

My favorite way to cook tzucchini and summer squash is to slice it lengthwise into 1/4 inch planks, then marinate it in Italian dressing for at least an hour. Then I heat my gas grill to a medium low heat and grill the planks turning once until they are nicely char marked and tender. Healthy, and well presented for a summer meal.

It’s my first year planting zucchini and they started off great guns. I got 5 huge ones and then the next ones all had some kind of gross stuff on the ends of them. I have 3 plantings all from the same hill and my garden is pretty small, so am wondering if I need to get rid of one. Down by the stems it looks like there is white growing on a lot of them. Any suggestions? Thanks

It might be a good idea to thin them out! If you are running out of space, it’s good to give them some air for health reasons. Good luck!

Great Zucchini growing tips! Zucchini flowers also make great harvesting and if you collect enough of the blossoms you can cook them.

How to cook zucchini flowers

Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂 I’m hoping to cook some blossoms this year, so thanks for the link!

[…] planted 8 zucchini and yellow squash plants (even though in my how to grow zucchini post, I say to grow 3!), and somehow all 8 of them had only male flowers….aka no squash for […]

[…] Homestead! I love her website and her farm and…her food. This tasty recipe can use up both zucchini and garlic from your garden, as well as any herbs you have available. You can find more of […]

[…] soil around 4.5-5.0. On the other hand, most vegetables prefer only a slightly acidic soil. Zucchini, for example, prefers a soil pH around 6.0-6.5. It is very important to make sure your […]

First time planting a garden. My squash blooms just fall off bot plants. What have I done wrong. Please Help

It’s common for the first flowers on zucchini and squash to fall off. However, if it keeps happening, you might need to hand pollinate. Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

I have a terrible time with squash borers, any suggestions?

I personally use food-grade diatomaceous earth for most pest problems. Or ducks/chickens might help!

This video may help organic gardeners with their squash bug problem!!

My favorite recipe for squash and zucchini is this amazing casserole!! Yummy!!

Thanks for sharing!

How do you know if the seeds can be saved for the next year? Would you be able to tell what a cross-pollenated seed (?) Looks like? Thanks

Eep. You are getting into heavy seed saving theory here, something that I’ve been too afraid to delve into. I DO know that with zucchini and other squash plants, you can’t have more than one variety in a mile radius if you want non-cross pollenated seeds. Or something like that. Cross pollenated seeds will look like normal seeds, however, when you plant them, you could end up growing an inedible mixed breed. Or, a tasty mixed breed. It’s hard to know what would happen.

I had the same problem two years in a row with zucchini plants: they start out beautiful, full, tall, plenty of blossoms, then all at once, like overnight, the whole plant collapses. I’ve never seen anything like it! A few years ago I caught a ground hog munching on leaves right beside my fenced garden. Never been sure if he got into the garden, or whether he was helping me by eating weeds. Could this be from an animal? Thanks for any advice!

That might be squash bugs if your plant is collapsing. Something might be eating it from the inside out.

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