How to Start Summer Squash in Peat Pellets

Overview

Summer squash includes many different types including zucchini, yellow crookneck, straightneck, pattypan, butternut and acorn squash. Each is ready for harvest in 42 to 65 days. Planting summer squash seeds in peat pellets helps reduce transplant shock when the seedlings are planted out in the garden. Peat pellets are dried packages of peat moss surrounded with a net-like material. When purchased, peat pellets are the size of a thick silver dollar. Start your summer squash indoors two to three weeks before the last expected frost date.

Step 1

Soak the peat pellets in warm water for about 20 minutes to moisten. The peat pellets will expand as soon as they are exposed to water.

Step 2

Make a hole in the top of each peat pellet with the eraser end of a clean pencil. Go only halfway down into the soil of the peat pellet.

Step 3

Poke two seeds in the holes of the peat pellets and gently cover with soil. With two seeds, you will have at least one seedling appear.

Step 4

Poke drainage holes in a plastic tray with a screw driver. This prevents the peat pellets from sitting in water. It is important to have well-drained soil to promote seed germination.

Step 5

Place the planted peat pellets on your tray and put the tray over a water catcher like a cookie sheet. Put the peat pellets in a warm place and keep them moist until the seeds germinate.

Step 6

Remove extra seedlings once the summer squash seeds are 2 inches tall. Leave one seedling per peat pellet. Once the roots extend out of the net covering and the last frost has past, plant the summer squash seedlings with their peat pellets in your garden.

Tips and Warnings

  • Summer squash are vigorous producers. Two or three plants will supply the needs of a regular family. If you plant more, then be prepared to freeze or give away your excess.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat pellets
  • Water
  • Pencil
  • Summer squash seeds
  • Plastic tray
  • Screw driver
  • Cookie sheet

References

  • The Garden Primer; Barbara Damrosch; 2008
  • The Practical Gardener's Encyclopedia; Geoffrey Burnie; 2000
  • The Young Virginia Gardener: Help Sheets: Seeds
Keywords: summer squash, peat pellet, starting seedlings

About this Author

Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.