Squash comes in many varieties, including summer squash (like zucchini) and winter squash (like butternut). These warm-season crops need full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8. Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
Plant squash seeds directly in the garden after the last frost when the soil has warmed up. In cooler climates, you can start seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost date.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep, planting 2-4 seeds per hill. Space hills about 3-6 feet apart, depending on the variety. Thin to the two strongest plants in each hill after germination. Squash plants need plenty of water, especially during flowering and fruit development. Use mulch to retain soil moisture and control weeds.
For more detailed information on growing squash, including specific varieties and care tips, refer to our comprehensive squash grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Common pests include squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and vine borers. Diseases like powdery mildew and bacterial wilt can also affect squash. Use appropriate organic or chemical treatments for pests and practice good garden hygiene to prevent diseases.
Harvest summer squash when they are small and tender, and winter squash when the rind is hard. Cut the fruit from the vine with a sharp knife, leaving a few inches of stem attached.
Storage and Preservation
Store summer squash in the refrigerator for up to a week. Winter squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months. Squash can also be preserved by freezing, canning, or drying.