Learn how to grow zucchini and yellow squash. Both of these vegetables are in the summer squash family. They can be a bit tricky to grow, but with these gardening tips, you can go from frustrated with poor growth to overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash.
How to Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Summer squash, a category that includes Zucchini and Yellow Squash, can be very 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.
How to Grow Summer Squashes: Position:
**Zucchini and Yellow Squash need a sunny spot with good drainage and need to be planted where other squashes have not been growing recently. Allow 9-16 square feet per plant. Check out my Crop Rotation Guide for ideas on where to plant summer squashes in your garden.
**Both zucchini and yellow squash prefer 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.
How to Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Propagation:
**The seeds of summer 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. Read about high-quality seed companies in this post.
**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, and then thin to the best three seedlings, and then thin to one seedling when the plants are a few inches tall.
**Plant the summer squashes 3-4 feet apart. Closer plantings give lower yields.
How to Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Maintenance:
**The first yellow flowers on summer squashes 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.
**Zucchini and yellow squash can have difficulties with squash vine borers. The best way to beat squash vine borers is by checking your plants daily. Lift the large leaves up and check the undersides of all of the leaves. If you see eggs or pests, immediately get rid of them. I put on gardening gloves and squish them manually.
**If you keep struggling with squash vine borers, try using row covers to keep the insects out. The downside to this is that you will need to hand-pollinate your summer squashes because the row covers will keep out the good insects, too.
**You can also keep vine borer issues lowered by mulching the stems of the plants. I have also heard of people using aluminum foil or even duct tape on the stems to keep the vine borers from being able to get to your plants. Try experimenting with all three of these ideas to see which one is more successful for you.
**Another option for serious vine borer issues is to take a year off from growing summer squashes. The vine borers for that off-year will have nothing to eat, which will either drive them away from your garden or make them starve to death. After a year off, you can try again, preferably with different resistant varieties.
Harvesting Zucchini and Yellow Squash:
**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 for Summer Squashes:
**Plant borage, French or pot marigolds nearby to encourage pollinating insects.
**Click here to learn more about the best companion plants for attracting beneficial insects to your garden.
Are YOU growing Zucchini and Yellow Squash this year?
**Remember, don’t plant too many zucchini and yellow squash 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:
**Enjoy this Oven-Fried Zucchini with Garlic Aioli recipe!
**Try this Zucchini and Herb Frittata by Oh Lardy
**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