Cucurbitaceae Vegetables
Summer Squash
Summer Squash

Summer squash is planted for warm-weather harvest and eaten when immature; this group includes scalloped white squash (pattypan squash), yellow crookneck and straightneck varieties, and cylindrical, green or gray zucchini or Italian squash.

Blossoms and tiny, developing fruit at the base of female flowers can be eaten as delicacies.

Summer squash yields prodigious crops from just a few plants within 50 to 65 days after sowing, and it continues to bear for weeks. Vines are large (2 1/2–4 ft. across at maturity) and need plenty of room; if space is limited, look for bush varieties. There are many vine and bush varieties to choose from.

Bush varieties of summer squash can be planted 2–4 ft. apart in rows. If planted in circles (“hills”), they need more room; allow a 4-ft. diameter for each. Vining summer squash needs 5-ft. spacing in rows, 8-ft.-diameter hills.

Give all kinds of squash rich soil and periodic fertilizer. Roots need regular moisture, but leaves and stems should be kept as dry as possible to prevent leaf and fruit diseases. Pick fruit when it is small and tender.

Squash bugs cause leaves to wilt and may damage fruit. To control, destroy yellowish to brown egg clusters on undersides of leaves; trap adults with boards or burlap set in the garden at night, then collect and destroy your catch each morning. Various insecticides are also labeled for control of squash bugs.