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Growing Squash and Pumpkins

Growing Squash & Pumpkins

Squash & Pumpkins

Bush Delicata Squash item #03632


Squash and pumpkins are North American native vegetables. There are a large number of different types of squash, and different varieties vary significantly in fruit shape and color, as well as plant habit. Many types are attractive enough to be used for fall decorating and displays.

  • Winter squash varieties are grown for their mature fruit, which can be stored for use during fall and winter.
  • Spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash that is used as a pasta substitute.
  • Summer squash varieties generally have a compact, bush habit and are grown for their immature fruit which is eaten raw or cooked. 
  • Pumpkins are a type of winter squash used for both fall decorating and for eating.

How To Plant

Squash seed can be sown directly in the garden 1 to 2 weeks after the last spring frost. Seed can also be started indoors 2 to 3 weeks before outdoor planting time. Plant the seed about an inch deep and germinate at 70 to 85 degrees. Expect germination in 7 to 14 days.


Vining varieties need quite a bit of space to grow. Ensuring that weed control is good early in the season helps to get plants off to a good start, and weeding can be challenging when vines are mature. Squash produces separate male and female flowers on each plant, and it is the female flowers that produce fruit after being pollinated by male flowers. You can identify the sex of an individual flower based on whether or not there is a miniature fruit at the base of the flower. Only female flowers have the fruit-shaped swelling at their base.

Squash and pumpkins are most sensitive to insect damage when they are small. Excluding insects with floating row covers protects plants from damage and also provides a warm microclimate. The covers should be removed once plants begin flowering, to allow for pollination.

Pick summer squash regularly to keep plants productive and ensure the highest quality harvest free from mature seeds.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Squash is a moderate feeder that benefits from reqular fertilization. Use full rates of ALGOplus Tomato 4-6-8 liquid fertilizer or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1.

Common Problems

Insects like cucumber beetles, squash vine borer, and squash bugs may feed on plants. Powdery mildew disease can be an occasional problem.

Alternative Products

Other vining vegetable crops are cucumbers and melons.

Product Recommendations

Use Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew to control insect pests. To treat powdery mildew, use 70% neem oil.

Squash Facts

Squash varieties have been grown for over 8,000 years and were widely grown by tribes ranging from North America to Central America and South America.


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