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How to Plant Spaghetti Squash

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How to Plant Spaghetti Squash

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Overview

The stringy flesh of spaghetti squash makes a unique substitution for traditional noodles, and it is a good alternative for people on a gluten-free diet. Compared to semolina or whole wheat pasta, spaghetti squash is also much higher in vitamins and has a richer flavor. Like most winter squash and pumpkins, spaghetti squash takes up a fairly large amount of room in the garden, but the plants are relatively low-maintenance and are bothered by few pests.

Step 1

Start your spaghetti squash inside in late winter or early spring, unless you live in a warm climate with a long growing season. Spaghetti squash takes about 90 days to mature, and the seeds will only germinate in warm soil.

Step 2

Fill a greenhouse tray or small containers (such as peat pots or old yogurt tubs) with moistened all-purpose potting mix. Make sure your containers have holes in the bottom for drainage.

Step 3

Plant spaghetti squash seeds about 1 inch deep, cover them with soil and lightly pat it down. Do not compress the soil. Plant two seeds per container, or in a tray plant two seeds every 4 to 6 inches.

Step 4

Place the tray or containers either in a south-facing window or under a strong light. The seeds will do best with about eight to 12 hours of direct light every day. If you are starting seeds in a cool location, such as a basement or unheated garage, you may want to place the tray or containers on a seed starting heat mat, available at many garden centers. Do not use a heating pad designed for human use.

Step 5

Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

Step 6

Once the seeds have germinated and the plants are a few inches high, thin them to one seedling per container.

Step 7

Harden off the seedlings after the danger of frost has passed and the earth is warm by placing the tray or containers outside for an increasing amount of time every day.

Step 8

Build a small mound about 18 to 24 inches in diameter and 6 to 12 inches in height. Transplant two or three spaghetti squash seedlings to every mound. Top dress the squash with compost, or incorporate compost into the soil mound. Spaghetti squash should be grown in full sun, and they will need 50 to 100 square feet to spread out.

Step 9

Pull weeds and water regularly.

Step 10

Harvest spaghetti squash when it is about 8 inches long.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cucumber beetles and squash bugs may cause damage to the leaves or fruit of spaghetti squash plants. The insects can be removed by hand or sprayed with insecticide. Always follow all packaged instructions when using insecticides.

Things You'll Need

  • Spaghetti squash seeds
  • Potting mix
  • Greenhouse tray or small containers
  • Lamp (optional)
  • Seed starting heat mat (optional)
  • Compost

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Winter Squash
  • Purdue University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture: Production, Fruit Quality, and Nutritional Value of Spaghetti Squash
Keywords: spaghetti squash, grow squash, winter squash

About this Author

Sonya Welter worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn., including "Zenith City News," for which she writes a regular outdoors column. She graduated cum laude in 2002 from Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college.

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