Guides »

How to grow squash

How to grow squash

Photo by Tania Malréchauffé on Unsplash

Squash is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked, or baked. And squash plants are simple to grow! Here's everything you need to know about growing squash in your garden.

Squash varieties

There are many varieties of squash, which can be categorized into two groups:

  • Summer Squash: These include zucchini, pattypan and yellow squash. They are harvested when they are immature and their skin is tender. Their seeds should not be hard. They grow well in hot weather and can be grown in containers with limited space.

  • Winter Squash: These include acorn squashes, butternut squashes and spaghetti squashes. They have a hard skin that needs to be peeled before being consumed as food (although some varieties may have edible skins). They require more time to mature than summer squashes do—up to 100 days!

Know your climate

Squash is a warm-season crop that requires a long growing season with plenty of sunshine. If you live in an area where the temperature stays below 50°F for most of the year, squash may not grow well for you.

Squash plants need a lot of water during their first few weeks after planting, but once they've been established and are growing vigorously (that is, when the vines are about ½" thick), then you can start spacing out your watering sessions to every 5–7 days.

Squash bugs are one pest that's likely to attack your squash plant if you're growing it outside; luckily there's an easy solution: just make sure to check each leaf for slug damage before harvest time! And if slugs aren't already present where your garden is located, consider planting marigolds nearby—they'll naturally deter slugs from ruining your crops (and they'll look good too).

Space plants properly

  • Planting distance: Plant squash seeds in hills or rows. Space seeds about 4-6 inches apart. If planting seedlings, space them at least 2 feet apart in rows 6 to 8 feet apart.

  • Planting depth: Plant squash seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep; cover with soil.

  • Planting time: Squash can be planted at almost any time of the year, but it is best to plant when daytime temperatures are below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Seedling size: When growing squash indoors or outdoors, use transplants instead of direct seeding because they will yield a higher harvest sooner than direct seeded squash plants.

  • Plant spacing: Planting spacing depends on your location and growing season length; however, most varieties grow best when planted between 2-6 ft (0.6-1.8 m) apart from each other depending on how big you want them!

Ensure correct soil drainage

Check your soil drainage. If water pools in the top of the soil, there are two things to do:

  • Improve your soil drainage. You can do this by adding a layer of gravel or crushed stone over the topsoil, which improves drainage by allowing excess water to pass through more easily.

  • Avoid waterlogging by ensuring that you don't plant too many squash plants in one area (they will compete for nutrients and struggle for space) or overwatering them.

Temperature control

Temperature control is also important. It’s important to know the temperature range for the squash you are growing, as well as what temperature range your climate has. Temperature variation can be a problem in some climates, so it’s important to know how much variation there is in your climate and how often it varies from day to day and from season to season.

Water appropriately

Water appropriate. Squash plants need lots of water, so water in the morning or evening to avoid overwatering. Avoid watering at midday and especially when it's hot, as this can lead to fungus on foliage. Don’t let your squash plants dry out completely either; they'll become stressed if they don’t get enough water every so often!


  • Fruit Rot. Fungal diseases like powdery mildew and downy mildew can cause fruit rot, which makes the squash quickly decay. You can prevent this by planting disease-resistant varieties that are recommended for your area. The best way to control these diseases is to plant your squash in a spot with good air circulation and plenty of sun, so it gets enough light on all sides of each plant to prevent over-humid conditions that promote fungal growth.

  • Insects and Pests. Squash bugs are small black bugs that live on plants and lay their eggs in crevices where they're warm and moist, causing damage as they hatch out into larvae (baby insects). The best way to keep them at bay is by spraying your plants with an insecticidal soap solution in late spring or early summer when you first see signs of infestation—just be careful not to use too much soap because it can burn leaves if used excessively!


So there you have it. Squash is a great plant to grow in your garden and can be quite rewarding. It also has a lot of benefits that make it worth growing. The most important thing when growing squash is to be aware of what kind will do well in your conditions and then prepare accordingly by planting them at the right time, choosing varieties carefully, providing adequate water and nutrients (which is easier than you might think!), as well as taking care of any pests or diseases that might crop up along the way!