Falling for Summer Squash

The whole idea behind growing squash seeds in the Veggie U garden was to somehow include a flowering vegetable to illustrate the seed producing process to our young gardeners. Who could have imagined that over the years, the squash planting activity would become one of the most beloved elements of Veggie U!   Falling for Summer Squash

In many classrooms, because the squash plant tends to hang around longer than the rest of the garden, it almost becomes the class “pet”.

We like to grow summer squash because it has a bushy growth habit that makes it more suitable for the classroom, unlike the rambling vines of many winter squashes. Summer squash refers to the short storage life of these squashes, unlike that of winter squashes which have hard skins that keep them from rotting when stored for months through the winter. Summer squash is harvested when it’s still immature and the rind is tender and edible. In fact, the name squash is apparently derived from the Algonquin "askoot asquash", meaning "eaten green".

Nutritionally, yellow summer squash contains carotenoids which give the squash its signature yellow hue and act as antioxidants in the human body. It is important to note that the carotenoid richness is typically 2-10 times higher in the skins than the flesh, so this is one vegetable that is better (and more delicious) to eat unpeeled. In addition, this vegetable is mineral powerhouse, a valuable source of copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron.

Growing Tips:
After planting, your seeds should germinate in 6 to 12 days. You should be able to harvest your crop in about 50 days.

We ask you to add compost to your squash pot at planting because squash are heavy feeders. When the plants begin to blossom and set fruit, a regular application of a soluble fertilizer is helpful. Also make sure your squash is regularly, deeply watered.

If your plant reaches the flowering stage, you will notice that squash plants bear both male and female flowers. The female flowers are identified by a tiny squash below the blossoms while male flowers sit directly on the stem. In the classroom, for female flowers develop into squash a human will have to play the role of bees and other small insects that transfer pollen from male blossoms to the female blossom. A small paint brush or your fingers will do the job.

So, while it may be a bit of a challenge to get your Veggie U squash to set fruit, eating yellow squash is a delicious idea.