Although it isn't the first vegetable people think to grow in their home gardens, squash is one of the easiest to grow from seeds. Summer and winter squash are the most popular varieties, and they grow to be large and bushy. When planting squash seeds, there are some keys to keep in mind besides the basics of proper sun exposure and watering.
Pick the Right Variety for You
Picking the type of squash seed to plant can be daunting, as there are many. First, decide if you want summer or winter squash. Summer squash matures (and spoils) much faster, has soft skin and includes varieties such as Elite, Goldfinger, Sunburst, Jaguar and Dixie. Winter squash takes longer to mature but has a thicker skin that acts as a protective shell, allowing you to store it for months without it going bad. Winter squash varieties include Table Queen, Butternut and Buttercup. When choosing what variety to plant, look at the seed package. Whether to plant a vine or bush type depends on the amount of space you have at your planting site; it must be full sun for all varieties.
Add Organic Matter
Work organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost, into your planting site to increase the nutrient level and balance the pH. Then add 1 to 2 pounds (per 100 feet) of all-purpose vegetable garden fertilizer.
Pay Attention to Soil Temperatures
When you plant your squash seeds directly into the soil, any threats of frost must be long gone. Sowing directly is preferable to starting squash indoors and transplanting; some squash plants are susceptible to shock if their roots are disturbed. You want the soil temperature to be somewhere between 70 to 90 degrees F for germination. For cooler regions, plant squash in the middle of summer; you can still have a crop by fall.