PLANT SPACING: Space plants 18-24″ apart in rows 6′ apart. Wider spacing may allow for easier harvesting. DISEASES AND PESTS: Common cucurbit diseases include powdery mildew, downy mildew, bacterial wilt, and phytophthora.
You can plant different varieties together, but you won’t want to save seeds from the crops produce since they can cross-pollinate and affect later crops. We love growing both yellow summer squash and zucchini together. As your plants grow, make sure the soil is moist but not continually saturated.
The acorn squash plant has a high yield, with some varieties, such as “Honey Bear,” producing up to five fruits per plant. By comparison, butternut squash yields an average of three to four fruits per plant, while most pumpkin varieties yield only one to two fruits per plant.
Summer squash and zucchini can stunt each others’ growth if they are planted too closely together. Even varieties with a compact and bushy shape need plenty of space to sprawl. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recommends planting squash 18 to 48 inches apart. Each row of squash should be 3 to 8 feet apart.
When growing squash, prepare the soil to a depth of 18-20” (46-51cm), or single-dig, and mound soil up into hills to create a deep root zone. Lay down a 2” (5 cm) layer of good garden compost or composted manure when you prepare the lower soil layer.
Set two or three summer squash plants 4 to 6 inches apart in the mound. Water gently with a watering can or gentle spray of a hose immediately after planting. Space mounds about 3 to 4 feet apart. Winter squash, which produce longer vines, need at least 4 feet between mounds, but 6 feet is better.
All types of squash love sun and heat. So for best results (and bigger harvests), grow squash in full sun once temperatures consistently stay above 70˚.
1. Plant Squash Plants or Seeds. Squash is a warm-season annual, so wait until the air temperature reaches 70 degrees F before planting young plants or direct-sowing seeds in the spring. Starting with strong young squash plants like those from Bonnie Plants® will speed you on your way to harvest time.
Removing squash flowers helps you control the productivity of a plant. Squash plants tend to produce more male flowers than female, but you can remove the excess male blooms so the plants can focus on fruit development. The blossoms are also edible.
Staking. Although your yellow crookneck squash does not require a trellis, like vining squashes, it does benefit from some support. The large leaves become heavy and can tip the entire plant, especially under high winds. A plant stake or wire cage around the plant stabilizes it and protects it from the weather.
Cucumbers’ and Tomatoes’ Shared Diseases
Phytophthora blight and root rot are more serious issues as these disease pathogens can ravage both cucumbers and tomatoes. Plants can be treated with commercial fungicides as a preventive measure, but it’s better to just use good cultivation practices.
Plants that should not share space with tomatoes include the Brassicas, such as broccoli and cabbage. Corn is another no-no, and tends to attract tomato fruit worm and/or corn ear worm. Kohlrabi thwarts the growth of tomatoes and planting tomatoes and potatoes increases the chance of potato blight disease.
The toxicity associated with consumption of foods high in cucurbitacins is sometimes referred to as “toxic squash syndrome”. In France in 2018, two women who ate soup made from bitter pumpkins became sick, involving nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and had hair loss weeks later.
If these vegetables remain in the garden long enough, they can easily sprout new plants when spring arrives. Common plants that can do this include pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima), squash (Cucurbita moschata), melons (Cucumis melo), cucumbers (Cucumis natives), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and peppers (Capsicum).
Watering early in the day ensures foliage dries quickly. Also, avoid over-watering. Squash roots also need both oxygen. Waterlogged soil means the roots can’t get any oxygen, causing the squash to drown and develop root rot.
Both winter and summer squash should be transplanted after the last frost in spring into a site with full sun and very fertile, fast-draining soil. Till the growing site and work in a 3-inch layer of compost to enrich the soil and improve its texture. Water the seedlings before planting.
ANSWER: Summer squash are prone to fruit rot in rainy weather. Rain splashes fungal disease organisms in the soil onto the fruit, causing rot. Apply 2 to 4 inches of pine straw under the plants so the fruit does not rest on the ground.
Cucumbers and squash both require a great deal of space, so plan for this when you plant them together. Both plants require good air circulation to prevent disease. If you want to plant them both in the garden, but have limited space, use a trellis that allows plants to climb or plant bush varieties of each plant.
For tomatoes, pepper companion plants can work well due to the very similar growth conditions for both, but it is often recommended to keep them separate, at least by a foot or two, with a different plant in between.
Zucchini and yellow squash cross-pollination is often very desirable as it can produce interesting variations. Zucchini will not usually cross-pollinate with winter squash. The exception to this is acorn squash, which can cross-pollinate with summer squash.
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