Zucchini or Squash is a vegetable that requires loamy soil and full sun. The botanical name is Cucurbita and the hardiness zones varies.
Planting, growing and harvesting squash is relatively straightforward. They are easy to grow however transplanting is slightly tricky. The vegetable also exhibits female and male flowers on the same plant.
Summer squash are mostly of the bush variety and have a short shelf life. The fruit skin is edible and best harvested before they reach full maturity.
Autumn is the best time to harvest winter squash. They have a longer shelf life and the leaves are edible.
Growing and Harvesting Squash
The best time to grow them successfully is warm temperature of about 60F. Start seeds indoors to jumpstart the growing season a month before spring commences. Some farmers use plastic mulch to warm the soil in preparation for spring.
Transplanting requires tender handling of the sprouts or they will die. A much simpler method is to dig 2 to 3 inch depth and plant the seeds. Make sure the site has at least 7 to 8 hours full sun daily.
Excellent soil conditions are loamy, moist and well drained. Avoid waterlogged or soggy soil. Squash are heavy feeders and require good amount of soil nutrients.
The farmer should use organic matter, compost and other soil amendment techniques to get the best results. Use a frame protector in cold weather and plant the seeds 3 feet apart. The variety would determine the level of thinning and spacing.
How to Plant Squash
• Grow in warm temperature 60F
• Start seeds indoors or plant seed directly in soil
• Use plastic mulch to warm the soil in preparation for spring.
• Plant seed in dig 2 to 3 inch depth
• Site requires 7 to 8 hours full sun daily.
• Soil conditions are loamy, moist and well drained
• Avoid waterlogged or soggy soil
• Use organic matter, compost
• Use a frame protector in cold weather
• Plant the seeds 3 feet apart
• The variety determines thinning and spacing
To avoid misshaped fruits apply adequate fertilizer and water. Use organic fertilizer, compost and water deeply once a week. Water regularly, avoid soggy soil and clear surrounding area by weeding.
• Fertilizer would prevent misshaped fruits
• Use organic fertilizer, compost
• Avoid waterlogged and soggy soil
• Weed regularly
• Water deeply once a week
Pests and Diseases
The plant is susceptible to many pests and diseases. Common ones are aphids, cucumber beetle. Others include bugs, sting bug and blossom end rot.
To reduce the damage by insects use recommended insecticides. Other preventive methods are thick mulching, deep watering and weeding.
• Cucumber beetle
• Blossom end rot
Guide on Papaya cultivation
The best time to harvest them are when they are still tender and small. The market determines early harvest or at full maturity. Harvest when they reach 7 to 8 inches long.
The plant produces fruit regularly and harvesting depends on variety and period of maturity. It takes some variety 2 months to reach full maturity.
To harvest use a sharp knife to cut the fruit off the vine. Overripe fruits are promptly removed to reduce the nutrient dependency. Winter squash can last two months however summer squash even with refrigeration can survive only ten days.