Fruit is ready to be harvested between 45 and 70 days after sowing. Cutting the fruit stalk is the best way to remove it from the plant. The fruit will store well in a refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days, possibly up to a week.
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Summer Squash Overview
Cucurbita pepo is a widely cultivated plant from the genus Cucurbita and the Cucurbitaceae family. Different cultivars have been developed from this species, which give rise to many commonly cultivated vegetables such as Pumpkins, Courgettes, Squashes and Marrows. Cucurbita pepo yields multiple varieties of Winter Squash and Pumpkin, the most widespread varieties belong to Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo, called Summer Squash. Summer Squash are squashes that are harvested when immature, while the rind is still tender and edible. Most Summer Squashes are varieties of Cucurbita pepo, though not all Cucurbita pepo plants are considered Summer Squashes. Nearly all summer squash have a bushy growth habit, unlike the rambling vines of many Winter Squashes. The name "Summer Squash" refers to the short storage life of these squashes, unlike that of Winter Squashes. Some Summer Squashes include: Cousa squash, pale-colored zucchini varieties purportedly of Middle Eastern or West Asian descent. Not to be confused with Cushaw, a type of Winter Squash. Pattypan Squash (scallop squash). Tromboncino or Zucchetta, unusual among summer squash as being a vining plant and a Cucurbita moschata variety. Crookneck squash. Straightneck squash. Zucchini (courgette). Immature ridge gourd luffa is used as a summer squash in India, where it is known as turai or dodka. Aehobak (Korean zucchini) belongs to the species Cucurbita moschata.
Common problems with Summer Squash
Susceptible to Pumpkin Fruit Fly, Cucumber Beetles, Squash Vine Borers and Powdery Mildew. Provide good airflow through the plants leaves and pick off the beetles when seen. Annual crop rotation and removal of dead plant debris at the end of the growing season can help to minimize insect and disease problems.
Summer Squash Companion Plants
Some vegetables inter-planted with your Summer Squash can repel these pests. Radishes repel squash vine borers and cucumber beetles, while Garlic repels Aphids. Planting your Squash at the base of maize plants can "disorients" the squash vine borer. Radishes attract flea beetles to their foliage and away from your summer squash. Summer Squash benefit from being planted with any type of bean or pea, as these fix nitrogen into the soil, which is taken up by the squash roots. Squash is often planted with beans and maize as part of a traditional "three sisters" garden. Maize provides support for Climbing Beans, Squash, with its prickly leaves, keeps mammal predators away from developing maize, and beans provide nitrogen to both plants. Maize also has the benefit of producing a lot of pollen, which attracts more bees to pollinate your squash blossoms. Borage, an annual herb, attracts bees for pollination, and its leaves can be mulched around the Squash plant to help put calcium back into the soil to prevent the calcium deficiency that causes blossom-end rot. Sink a pot of mint near your squash plants to draw away aphids. Seed orange and yellow Nasturtiums around Squash and throughout your garden as they draw away aphids, cucumber beetles and whiteflies, among many other pests. As a bonus, the blossoms are edible, with a sharp radish-like taste. Dill is also a good companion to squash as the herb is said to repel squash bugs as well as aphids and whiteflies.
How to propagate Summer Squash
Sow seeds in situ in spring after the last frost date. Plant about 2 cm deep, angle the pips to allow water to drain. It takes 7 to 10 days to germinate.
Special features of Summer Squash
Summer squash are heavy feeders, follow with legumes.
Attracts useful insects
Bees are needed to pollinate the flowers.
Other uses of Summer Squash
Culinary, vegetable, food
The fruit, flowers and seeds are edible. They can be eaten raw or used in cooking and baking.