Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Growing Squash

May 5, 2015

This is Jason Lamb with your Gardening Minute.

Squash is a favorite in New Mexico gardens. It is easy to grow, nutritious, and low in calories. Squash can be eaten raw, fried, boiled, steamed, baked, and even made into pies. Squash is an old species that has been grown as early as 2,000 B.C.

Squash are usually classified as summer or winter squash. Summer squash include varieties customarily eaten at an immature stage such as zucchini, yellow crookneck or yellow straight neck squash. Winter squash are often called pumpkins and have no biological difference than Summer Squash. Winter squash can be stored for several months after the rind has hardened. 

It is important to provide squash with plenty of sunlight, space, rich soil, and moisture. Plant squash after danger of frost and never next to other verities of squash because they can cross pollinate. In general, bush types of squash can be planted in hills 24 to 45 in. apart. Plant four to five seeds per hill. After seedlings appear, thin to the best two or three plants. Vining types of squash require more room to grow. Space hills 36 to 96 in. apart. 

Squash is a monoecious plant, which means both sexes of flowers grow on the same plant. Growers should pollinate squash with an electric tooth brush when the female flower opens for increased production. 

If you would like more information on Vegetable Gardening please contact the Extension office at 461-0562. This has been your Gardening Minute with Jason Lamb your Quay County Ag. Extension Agent. Where are programs are open to everyone.

(reference NMSU Circular 457 - Home Vegetable gardening in NM.)

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