Connecticut Garden Journal: Summer Squash | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Garden Journal: Summer Squash

May 30, 2019

This vegetable was grown by the Wampanoag Native Americans in New England, but it originated in South America 12,000 years ago. Squash is an integral part of most gardens and there are many different types to grow. I particularly like summer squash.

The main difference between summer and winter squash is when you harvest. Harvest the squash immature, it's a summer squash, or mature and it's a winter squash. Summer squash has the reputation of being a great producer. Come summer it's best to keep your car windows closed as neighbors may try to slip a few extra squash into your back seat.

I like growing unusual summer squash varieties such as the Patty Pan that looks like flying sauces, Cocozelle, a flavorful Italian zucchini, and Cousa, a light green-skinned Lebanese squash. While summer squash is easy to grow with warmth, water, and sun, it's not without problems. If the weather is cloudy during flowering, bees may not be flying, which reduces pollination. The young squash rot at the tip and drop off.

Luckily, you can pollinate the flowers in the morning by using a cotton swab and swishing it in the male flower (the one with no squash behind the flower) and then in the female flower (the one with a young squash behind the flower). That should do it!

Squash bugs can wreak havoc by feeding on the leaves and flowers.

Look for copper colored eggs on the underside of the leaves and squish them. Protect squash from vine borers with floating row covers. Remove these when flowering is happening so bees can do their work.