Days to Germination: 4-10 days
Direct-sow 3 to 5 seeds per hill when soil and weather are reliably warm, after the danger of frost has passed, thinning to the strongest single seedling. To start transplants, sow singly in pots 3 to 4 weeks before setting out. Provide ventilation, strong sunlight and even moisture. Gradually accustom to the outdoors, planting out after the danger of frost has past. Enrich soil with compost, organic fertilizer and/or well-rotted manure. Cover seedlings with cloches or other protection if it gets too cold. Water regularly and feed as needed with manure tea, kelp or fish emulsion. Harvest on the small side for the best flavor. Regular picking also encourages production. Leaves contain a skin irritant, so work carefully around the plants or wear long sleeves. (Powdery mildew on the leaves is normal in late summer, as temperatures cool and humidity rises. It won’t affect the squash.)
Our Pollinators are in Peril
Sex and Squash Blossoms
Melons, Pumpkins and Squash all have yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers, though those of Melons tend to be smaller. Large ones are prized for cooking by Mexican chefs, Italian chefs--and yours truly. The first to appear are usually male blossoms, and until the females appear, you can eat all you want of them. After that, leave a few of the guys for pollination purposes. You can recognize female blossoms by the little bump at the base that will become a Squash once the flower has been pollinated. Males just have a long stem--a perfect “handle” for dipping the flower in batter before deep frying.
Deer Resistant Seed Varieties
Cooking Tip: Simple Summer Squash
Slice the Squash very finely and put it in the top half of a steamer along with finely sliced Onions. Steam briefly until just tender but not mushy. Drain, then stir in chopped Parsley or another favorite fresh herb, along with salt and butter.
Savory, Sweet and Soulful Summer Squash