Summer Squash Time

Zucchini squash ready to harvest

Zucchini squash ready to harvest

Yellow squash is harvested before the yellow color deepens

Yellow squash is harvested before the yellow color deepens.

Pattypan squash is the least know of the summer squash

Pattypan squash is the least known of the summer squash.

Powdery Miledw on summer squash leaves

Powdery mildew on summer squash leaves

Most folks who planted squash in April are enjoying the fruits of summer squash now. Well, maybe I should qualify that. If the bees are active they are enjoying summer squash. All of the popular summer squash types such as zucchini, yellow, and pattypan are easy to grow. Many of us do a second planting in late June or early July to ensure that we have them plentiful until fall. Remember to plant the seeds in hills. I like to put three to four seeds around the top of the hill. If kept moist, you should see young plants in about a week.
If you are harvesting squash now, remember the best way to pick them is to twist the fruits off the plant, and that does not injure the plants. These are common problems I have with my plants. Powdery mildew is very common now as the high humidity encourages growth on leaves. I do not like to treat this with a fungicide, so I typically just remove the infected leaves. Squash vine borers are common in the main stems of the plants and cause the plants to decline. If you think you have borers, take a razor blade and make a slit in the main stem, and if there is a borer, I dig it out and destroy it. If done carefully, the plant will not die. Occasionally I have squash bugs, and I try to find the eggs under the leaves and destroy them and hand kill the bugs if not many. Neem oil is a recommended control, but I have never used it. And even if you have fine fruits, you might see tiny holes in them, and that is the results of pickleworm.  I simply watch the fruits and try to harvest before the fruits are ruined. Remember, several plants will produce a lot of squash if the bees are actively pollinating the flowers.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *