How to Plant Zucchini & Summer Squash


Zucchini and other members of the summer squash family are prolific producers of fresh vegetables throughout summer. Varieties you might consider growing in your home garden include yellow crookneck summer squash and round eight ball squash. Summer squash are not cold tolerant, so the seeds must be started once the ground is 70 degrees F or warmer. You also can purchase seedling transplants from a nursery, but starting your summer squash from seed is likely to provide you with a bigger selection.

Step 1

Prepare a garden bed in full sun that has well-drained soil. Apply a 2-inch layer of compost over the soil and till it in to help drainage and to add nutrients into the soil.

Step 2

Sow seeds to a ½-inch depth. Sow zucchini and summer squash 2 inches apart in rows that are 3 feet apart.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist but not soggy until seedlings emerge. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely.

Step 4

Weed between the rows until the seedlings become established. Once squash plants reach full size, they shade out most weeds.

Step 5

Thin plants once seedlings have emerged. Thin summer squash so they are 8 to 12 inches apart by plucking out the seedlings in between the plants you are keeping. Not all seeds will germinate.

Step 6

Water once weekly, providing approximately 1 inch of water in a single deep watering. Water twice weekly if you have sandy soil or if the soil is drying out too much during hot, dry weather.

Step 7

Fertilize once fruit begins forming at mid-season with a nitrogen fertilizer. Apply ½ cup of 46-0-0 fertilizer per 25 foot row. Work the fertilizer into the soil between rows so it doesn't come in direct contact with the plants, which may damage them.

Step 8

Harvest summer squash as they reach the desired size and ripeness. Pick them small for tender vegetables, or allow them to become full size. Pick the squash before it develops a hard skin and large seeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plant squash only after all frost danger has passed in spring. Use a soil thermometer to ensure the soil temperature is above 70 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Hoe
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Zucchini & Summer Squash
Keywords: growing summer squash, planting zucchini, vegetable gardening

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.