From Garden to Table, Easy-to-Grow Squash

Author: Meera, May 2, 2015


Newly formed Peter Pan squash and the male and female yellow blooms, which are also edible

The blooms of Peter Pan squash (pictured here) are also edible



I love summer squash, tossed into rosemary potatoes and served up with eggs and sausage on a Sunday morning; or,  grilled with fish, or added to a freshly-made pasta sauce. Best of all, you can have it fresh, from your kitchen garden to your table, as squash is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Squash is a super food, high in antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin A.



Squash is one of the Three Sisters (corn and climbing beans being the other two), grown together as companion plants in the tradition of certain groups of Native Americans who planted these vegetables. A fourth sister might be the Cleome serrulata, the Rocky Mountain bee plant to attract pollinators for the beans and squash.



There is a scientific basis for growing these three together. The squash grows fairly large and spreads out, blocking weeds. The beans provide nitrogen to the soil. The corn shoots up a stalk that provides the support the beans need to climb. The three plants benefit each other.



Each year, I plant both summer squash and winter varieties such as butternut and pumpkin that have hard shells and store longer. All types of squash are easy to grow. They just need sun, water, and room. They aren’t fussy about soil.



Summer squash includes zucchini, yellow squash, and scalloped (or round) squash. Autumn/winter varieties require a longer growing period (up to 120 days) and include butternut, acorn, hubbard, and pumpkin.



Growing Tips:

Choose a well-drained, sunny spot in the garden for your squash.

Plant three seeds to a hill (roughly six inches apart).

When the squash are about a foot tall, thin to the healthiest seedling.

Water two to three times each week.

Harvest summer squash when still young; if left on the vine, the squash becomes tough.



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