harvest season

How to Easily Grow Zucchini and Yellow Squash from Seed

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Introduction

Growing zucchini and yellow squash is one of the easiest things you can do in your garden. The plants are hearty, resistant to pests, and produce fruit quickly. And they’re delicious! In this article we’ll cover what you need to know about growing these vegetables successfully, including information on spacing, planting depth and weather conditions.

zucchini and yellow squash

 If you’re not a gardener, growing zucchini and yellow squash can seem like a daunting prospect. But with the right information, it’s easy to get started in your backyard. Here’s how to grow both zucchini and yellow squash—the right way!

For more resources on gardening check out our page Gardening and Permaculture for Sustainable Living

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Me and My Giant Squash Plants

Choose the right squash seeds.

When you decide to plant your own squash plants, there are a few important things to consider. First, you need to make sure that the seeds you buy are from a reputable seed company. It may be tempting to save money by going with the cheapest option, but this can lead to problems down the line when your plants don’t sprout or die shortly after germinating. You’ll also want to look for seeds that have a high germination rate—if too many of them don’t sprout or produce weak plants, it’s time for a different brand!

Finally, keep in mind that you’ll want to consider not just the price per packet but also how disease resistant the variety is.  This doesn’t mean giving up on growing zucchini and yellow squash altogether; instead it means choosing varieties that are more resistant against these ailments so that those hardy veggies can thrive in your garden!

Here are my top picks for buying seeds online: (I am not an affiliate)

  • Botanical Interests – Non-GMO Project Verified Seeds. 600 varieties specially selected for home gardeners, including heirlooms, organics, and open pollinated flowers, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds -Their mission is to provide the seeds of a sustainable food supply for everyone and keep heirloom varieties alive for future generations. 
  • Seed Savers Exchange – Choose from hundreds of rare, heirloom and open-pollinated vegetableherb and flower seeds.
  • Fedco Seeds – Specializing in cold-hardy selections especially adapted to our demanding Northeast climate and offer a large selection of certified-organic cultivars and regional heirloom varieties. 

How Many Should I Plant?

Summer squash is a great vegetable to grow in the summer, especially if you have a lot of mouths to feed. A single plant typically provides enough squash for two people to eat all summer. Summer squash can be prepared in a variety of ways ranging from savory to sweet, and it might even help you make friends with some neighbors by sharing the bounty!

Lookup your first and last freeze/frost dates by zip code

Want to know when to expect your last frost of the spring, or the first frost of the fall? With this handy calculator, all you need to do is enter your zip code and it’ll tell you when to plant based on the first and last frost date in your area.

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The Summer Garden

Plant at the right time.

When to sow outside: Recommended 2 to 4 weeks after your average last frost date. 

Planting in the spring or early summer is the best time to grow zucchini and yellow squash because they are warm season plants. They will thrive in soil temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees F, so if it’s cooler than that where you live, wait until a warmer period of the year before planting them.

In order to successfully grow zucchini and yellow squash, you’ll need to consider where you live. These plants require full sun and a long growing season. They also need fertile soil, lots of water (1 inch per week), and lots of space. They will grow well in a warm climate with an average rainfall throughout the year.

Plant them correctly.

To grow zucchini and yellow squash successfully, you need to plant them correctly. The most important things are to plant at the right depth and in a location that will suit them. Zucchini can survive on a range of soil types, but you should make sure the spot gets at least six hours of sun each day. 

You’ll also want to be sure that they’re planted far enough apart from each other so they can grow without crowding each other out.

Here’s how to do it:

Zucchini and yellow squash plants should be grown in mounds 3 to 4 feet apart. Raised mounds warm the soil more quickly in spring, and drain well. To plant zucchini and squash in hills, make mounds of soil about 3 inches high and 18 inches wide with a flat top. Plant four to six seeds ½ inch deep and 2 to 3 inches from the edge of each mound.

Vining summer squash can also be grown on a trellis, which saves space and increases airflow, helping prevent fungal disease. If you choose to grow on a trellis, plants may be spaced more closely (half-spacing).

Once your seeds are planted you’ll want to water them in well with a gentle spray and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Once your zucchini plants start growing, you’ll want to add mulch around them so they don’t dry out too quickly during hot summer days.

zucchini and yellow squash
Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Water correctly.

Squash leaves typically wilt in the heat of the day and perk up again at night, which is their way to conserve water. If you want to know if your plant needs watering, push a finger into the soil to a depth of two inches. If you feel moist soil, then you can wait another day before watering; but if it feels dry at two inches, water immediately. To ensure that your plant doesn’t get mildew, water only at ground level and avoid splashing water on its leaves. Most vegetable plants need about one inch per week—you can use a rain gauge for this purpose!

Identify and treat problems.

To keep your zucchini and yellow squash plants healthy, it’s important to identify any problems early on. You might see an infestation of pests or notice the leaves on your plants wilting and falling off. In some cases, there will be no visible signs of illness. Instead, you’ll have to look for less obvious symptoms like discoloration in the stems or general plant decline before you can diagnose what’s wrong with your garden.

When it comes to treating problems in the garden—whether they arise from pests or diseases—the best approach is always going to be natural methods. Soil amendments like compost tea and seaweed extract are great for strengthening plants so they are more able to keep pests at bay.   

Drenching with compost tea is a great way to quickly deliver organic fertilizer and beneficial organisms from compost to a plant’s root zone and seaweed extract helps plants grow bigger, develop stronger root systems, and be healthier overall. Both contribute to a plant’s ability to fight off disease, pests and rebound from stress. These natural methods are loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals and micronutrients and often contain magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and nitrogen – to name just a few.

It is always best and possible to treat your garden plants naturally without resorting to harmful chemicals that can harm surrounding crops as well as the environment. 

Conclusion

With the right seeds and care, you can grow zucchini and yellow squash in your garden. These squashes are easy to grow, but they do require some attention. If you follow these tips and take care of your plants, you’ll be rewarded with tasty fruits that are perfect for summer salads or cooking. Here are a few of my favorite ways to cook up these yummy summer vegetables:

Thinking about growing cold weather crops?  Grab your free cheat sheets below. 

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