Q. When is it best to plant squash seeds?
Planting time for squash will depend on the specific squash you wish to grow, whether it's a summer or winter squash. Squash do not like the cold and require lots of sunshine and warm weather. Summer squash like zucchini typically require less growing time (as little as 40 frost-free days in some cases) and are suitable for geographic regions with short growing seasons. Winter squashes like buttercup require as much as three to five frost-free months from the time they are sowed to maturity.
The timing for planting summer and winter squash will depend on whether you plan to sow seeds directly into the ground or transplant seedlings started indoors. Transplants should be started three weeks before planting them outside. Seeds can be placed in the soil once the soil temperature reaches 70° F.
Seeds should be sown to a depth of one inch. If the soil is light or sandy, rather than heavy like clay, or the seeds are large, they should be planted a little deeper. Water the seeds well. Do not place the seeds too tightly together, to reduce competition for food, water and light once the plants begin to grow.
Amy Goldman's The Complete Squash: A Passionate Grower's Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds. (New York: Artisan, 2004), available in our library, is a great resource.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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