How to Grow & When to Pick Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is one of the more popular winter squash varieties and many gardeners make room for this cucurbit variety in a home garden. Spaghetti squash grows energetically with vines and tendrils snaking throughout a sunny growing area. Look for blossoms in mid-summer, which will turn into delectable spaghetti squashes ready for harvest in early autumn. With ample water and fertilizer, most gardeners succeed in growing and picking an abundant spaghetti squash harvest.
Prepare a sunny growing area in the spring after the final spring frost. For optimal germination, wait until the soil is at least 60 degrees F. Cultivate the soil down to a depth of 6 inches with the garden fork and add 2 to 3 inches of compost over the top of the soil. Use the garden fork to work the compost into the soil completely, and then rake the soil surface smooth to finish the growing area preparation.
Make planting rows with the hoe, spacing the rows 8 feet apart and making the rows about 1 inch deep. Place three seeds together every 4 feet along the rows and cover the seeds with 1 inch of soil. Water the seeds lightly immediately after planting them. Keep the soil evenly moist during germination, which takes about one week.
Provide 1 inch of water for the spaghetti squash plants if less than this amount of rain falls during a one-week period. Water around the base of the plants without splashing the foliage to avoid leaf disease. After the squashes appear and grow to about half-size, decrease the watering amount by half to encourage squash maturation.
Fertilize spaghetti squash with 1/4 lb. of fertilizer for each 10-foot section of row about three weeks after the first blossoms appear. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly over the soil approximately 3 inches away from the plants and work the fertilizer into the soil with the hand rake. Water the spaghetti squash plants immediately after you fertilize them to enable the fertilizer to soak into the soil.
Remove weeds by hand as they appear. Prevent weeds with a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants, if you desire.
Harvest spaghetti squash when the squashes become gold-yellow in color. The stems usually turn gray and begin to shrivel slightly. Cut the squash from the vines with the sharp knife, leaving 2 inches of stem on each squash. Place the squash in the basket as you collect them.
Store spaghetti squash in a dry location with temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees F.
- Garden fork
- Granular fertilizer (10-10-10)
- Hand rake
- Shredded mulch (wood chips or bark)
- Sharp knife
- Large basket