Friday, November 30, 2012

In the Garden Spotlight: Spaghetti Squash

You see, there is a method to my madness!  The 3 Sister's Method growing Corn, Beans and Squash.

The new variety of squash at 
Mary's Heirloom Seeds is the Spaghetti Squash and is a winter variety.  
I am really looking forward to growing these gorgeous cucurbita! 
88 days.  Introduced in 1934.  Easy to grow.
This is a very popular squash with stringy flesh that can be used like spaghetti.  Squash is ripe when they turn yellow and sound hollow when thumped.

Companion plants for squash are: Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deters beetle.  Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may repel the squash bug that will kill your squash vines.

From the Growing from Seed page:

In spring, sow seeds in prepared beds or hills after your last frost has passed, or sow them indoors under bright fluorescent lights. Set out seedlings when they are about three weeks old. In Zone 6 and warmer, you can plant more winter squash in early summer, using space vacated by fall-planted garlic or early spring lettuce. Stop planting winter squash 14 weeks before your expected first fall frost.

How to Plant Winter Squash
Winter squash grows best in warm conditions, in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Choose a sunny site and prepare 3-foot-wide planting hills within wide rows, or position them along your garden’s edge. Leave 5 to 6 feet between hills. Loosen the soil in the planting sites to at least 12 inches deep. Thoroughly mix in a 2-inch layer of mature compost and a light application of balanced, organic fertilizer. Water well. Plant six seeds per hill, poking them into the soil 1 inch deep. After seeds germinate (about 10 days after sowing), thin seedlings to three per hill. Set up protective row covers as soon as you’re done planting.

Harvesting and Storage
Fruits are ripe if you cannot easily pierce the rind with your fingernail. Never rush to harvest winter squash, though, because immature fruits won’t store well. Unless pests or freezing weather threaten them, allow fruits to ripen until the vines begin to die back. Expect to harvest three to five squash per plant. Use pruning shears to cut fruits from the vine, leaving 1 inch of stem attached. Clean away dirt with a soft, damp cloth, and allow fruits to cure for two weeks in a spot that’s 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Store cured squash in a cool, dry place, such as your basement, a cool closet or even under your bed. Check every two weeks for signs of spoilage.

Winter squash face challenges from squash bugs, squash vine borers and cucumber beetles. To defend your plants from all three insects, shield them with row covers held aloft with stakes or hoops until the plants begin to bloom. Big, healthy plants will produce well despite pest pressure. Among diseases, powdery mildew is a common problem best prevented by growing resistant varieties, which often have “PMR” (for “powdery mildew resistance”) after their variety names. In addition, a spray made of 1 part milk and 6 parts water can suppress powdery mildew if applied every two weeks during the second half of summer.

Winter Squash Growing Tips and Ideas
Grow open-pollinated varieties so you can save your own seeds for eating and replanting. Only choose hybrids if you need a space-saving bush habit or a special form of disease resistance.

Try growing winter squash in an old compost pile located along the edge of your garden. Small-fruited varieties do well if allowed to scramble up a fence.

This is a Garden Spotlight Series:

Ends December 4th at Midnight!


WhatJeanLikes said...

I love gardening. It is so nice to have your own garden to feed the family!
I found you through a blog hop, glad I did! I look forward to reading your posts and am now following you! Come on by the Aloha Friday Blog hop and link up with us too!! It's easy and you could end up being next week's featured blogger!! Come on by to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop and link up if you please!! It's a great way to get more followers and we'd love to have you! :)

Denise said...

This is a great way to use space to grow more--Thanks!

Mary Smith said...

Thanks Jean I linked up on Friday!

Denise, not only does it save space but it is great for natural pest control!

Anonymous said...

I'm visiting from Serenity You-- I've dabbled in veggie gardening and am currently taking baby steps into more serious stuff-- your blog promises to give me lots of help!

Heavenly Bodies said...

I love the idea of companion planting to avoid pests it is such a natural way to do things. This totally blows my mind how all three of these plants help each other, thanks pinning.

Unknown said...

Aren't you a speedy one, Mary! Thanks for linking up with the Super Sunday Sync!

I love the look of those tomatoes! I'm your newest GFC follower.

Mary Smith said...

Thanks Dawn! I just happened to be online at the moment.
Have a great weekend!

Heather said...

The past couple of years all of my squash and cucumbers have been decimated by squash bugs and cucumber beetles. I hope to get the floating row covers figured out for this year. Also hoping my chickens will enjoy eating them :-)

Unknown said...

Goodday this is my first time doing container gardening . I planted spag squash in a 30 gallon bag, my leaves are growing very long . My concern is that since i didn't read about the issues with the bugs how can I keep them away. I did plant marigolds in with then a month later. Is that ok an should i plant dill with my squash as well???