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How to Plant Squash Seeds

Nearly any squash germinates quickly and grows rapidly in the home garden. The amount of space required depends on the species. Squash is divided into two types: summer squash, such as zucchini and tender yellow squash, which is harvested and eaten when it is young; and winter squash, such as acorn, Hubbard and buttercup, which grows to maturity before harvesting. Summer squash has a short shelf life and must be eaten within a week or two, while winter squash can be stored for winter use. How you grow squash depends on the type of squash you grow.

Summer Squash

Prepare the soil by tilling to a depth of 8 inches. Remove any rocks or plant debris. Mix generous amounts of compost or well-rotted manure into the existing soil and rake smooth. If you choose to add commercial fertilizer, work it in well so that seeds are not in direct contact with the fertilizer. Follow the recommended application rate for garden vegetables.

Plant summer squash in late spring when the soil has warmed to 70 degrees and all danger of frost has passed. Squash seeds rot easily in cold, damp soil, and seedlings cannot withstand the effects of even a light frost.

Sow three to five seeds in hills spaced 3 feet part. Thin to two plants once seeds germinate and seedlings are 3 inches high.

Winter Squash

Follow the procedure outlined in Steps 1 and 2 for summer squash for soil preparation and planting time.

Plant vining winter squash in rows or hills. For row planting, plant seeds to a depth of 3/4 inch, spaced 2 1/2 to 3 feet apart. Space rows 2 feet apart. For hills, mound an area of soil that is 3 to 5 feet in diameter. Plant six or seven seeds per hill. Allow 7 to 10 feet between hills as squash vine out and cover a large area. Thin to three of the healthiest plants when seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall.

Sow three to four seeds of semi-vining or bush varieties to a depth of 3/4 to 1 inch in hills spaced 6 feet apart. Thin to three plants for semi-vining squash and to one plant for bush varieties.

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