Please see individual varieties for specific product information, but in general the growing information will be the same for all squash. The majority of the information on this page was provided by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Squash Home Gardening Series; download the complete pdf file with FAQ’s for more information or click here to visit the website.
Average Days To Maturity: 50-65 days
Distance Between Rows: 40 inches
Spacing Between Plants: 36 inches
When To Plant: Squash should be planted after all danger of frost has passed when the weather is warm. Squash can be grown from seed or from young transplants. The earliest Charley recommends that you plant squash is late April to early May. To have squash all summer long, you will need to make subsequent plantings every 4 weeks or so up into July for early fall harvest.
Planting Tip: Don’t handle or work in the plants when the foliage is wet to avoid spreading any disease that might be present.
Preparation and Care: Squash grow well in well drained soils. Plants have shallow roots and need adequate water all summer long. Adding compost or well-rotted manure when you prepare the soil for planting will help boost yields. Also incorporate a 10-20-10 fertilizer at .4 pounds per 10 feet of row prior to planting.
Squash benefit from mulching with black plastic in early spring or straw in the summer. If you need to utilize an insecticide to controls a pest, apply the insecticide in the late afternoon or evening to prevent killing bees.
Watering: Water your garden (cantaloupes and everything else) once a week with a 8-12 hour soaking. This will allow the soil to absorb an adequate amount of water and also limit the time you spend each week watering. If you use a sprinkler to water, do this during the day so that the plants will have some time in the evening to dry out before dark. This will limit the chances of disease. If you use a soaker hose, you can water at night. Watering with a soaker hose at night is best as it limits the amount of water lost to evaporation and keeps the plants dry which limits the chances of disease. During dry periods you may need to water more often (every 4-5 days), and watering at night is important in water conservation during droughts.
Fertilize: Side-dress with a second application of 10-20-10 fertilizer using the Charley Method of one handful of fertilizer spread along 2-3 feet of row.
Harvesting: The best quality squash are small and slender. Check squash plants daily when they begin to produce. Harvest squash when they are less than 2” in diameter and between 6-8” long. If your squash becomes over-ripe (oversized), discard to promote more production. Squash blossoms are edible and usually eaten battered and fried.
- Blossom End Rot – usually caused by irregular watering or calcium deficiency)
- Flower dropping can be caused when female flowers form before male flowers (both form on the same plant) or during periods of heavy rain
Common Disease Problems
- Watermelon, Cucumber and Squash Disease Management
- Bacterial Wilt
- Belly Rot
- Fusarium Wilt
- Fusarium Wilt (PDF file)
- Alternaria Leaf Spot
- Powdery and Downy Mildew
- Alternaria Blight
- Gummy Stem Blight (Picture)
- Mosaic Virus
- Mosaic Virus Images
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