As far as gardening chores go direct sowing squash and zucchini seeds is a very easy task for any home gardener to accomplish. In fact it’s a great one to do with young children who you want to encourage to get outdoors and in the garden. Squash and zucchini seeds are large seeds that are easy for kids to handle.
For this post I’m using yellow summer squash and zucchini as an example but the same techniques can be used for winter squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, watermelons, and other similar garden vines. Read on to learn more about how to direct sow squash and zucchini in the home garden!
When to Plant Squash and Zucchini
When timing the planting of your squash and zucchini there are two concepts to consider. The first concept is the frost date. You do not want to plant your seeds then see them germinate only to get singed or destroyed by a frost. So plan about a week after the last frost date to direct sow in the garden. If you are pre-starting squash seeds indoors you can do that up to 2 weeks before your frost date.
The second concept that I find is EXTREMELY important is planting squash seeds in succession. That means every 2 weeks new seeds should be started. These seeds serve as backup plants and help stagger the harvest for longer and better harvests. Squash has a number of pests like the squash vine borer and squash bugs that can really hurt your plants. If they damage your first plants you will have the second set ready to grow. Then do a third crop after that for as long as you want to have squash in your garden (and your kitchen, and your neighbors kitchen, and everyone else’s kitchen…)
How to Direct Sow Squash and Zucchini
(I did a video on sowing squash seeds which you can watch below this section)
The first step is to plan your location. A raised bed, in ground beds, and pots are all good places to plant squash. If you are planting in pots drainage is extremely important. I’ve tried self watering pots before and they keep the pots too wet when you have a rainy season. My preference would be raised beds but there are many ways to be successful in gardening so pick what is best for you.
When I plant in my raised beds I create small mounds about 4 to 6 inches above the surrounding grade of the soil. That creates a drainage slope which helps keep the roots from getting too wet.
Then using my fingers I put 3-4 holes around the top of the mound. These holes should be about twice the width of the seed in depth.
Cover and Water
Cover the holes and water. Then mulch the surrounding garden bed to maintain moisture and keep down weeds.
Keep up a daily watering schedule (unless it rains, Mother Nature did that for you) until the seedlings germinate then pair that back to watering only when needed. If the ground is dry inch under the soil the beds need watered (use your built in moisture sensor to figure that out – aka your finger)
How long will it take for Squash Seeds Germinate?
In a week the seeds should send up their cotyledons (first set of leaves) and begin the process of growing. It won’t take long before you will have squash and zucchini coming out of your ears! Figuratively of course.
Here’s a Video on How to Direct Sow Squash and Zucchini Seeds
Transplant and Thin the Extra Seedlings
If the squash seedlings look healthy and you have more than 2 successful plants per mound you will want to thin them. Gently pry them out of the soil and transplant them to another spot in your garden! Now you have even more squash to give away!
Issues with Squash and Zucchini
Squash and zucchini do have a couple issues that I’ve written about before so go back to these posts and learn.
- Blossom End Rot
- Squash vine borer
- Lots of Blooms but Squash Isn’t Forming (Also has a video explanation)
For more Squash Growing Tips the 5 Tips to Grow Great Squash post would be good for you to read.
A Few Companion Plants for Squash
Corn, Radishes, Peas, Beans