If you like to eat winter squash then start growing spaghetti squash at your home. By growing it at home you can eat organically grown winter squash and add more veggies to your diet. Growing spaghetti squash in your garden is simple and easy. All you need to do is follow the below written easy growing instructions.
In this post, you’ll learn how to grow your favorite spaghetti squash in garden beds.
How Spaghetti squash is different from other winter squash?
Spaghetti squash is a member of the winter squash family. Winter squash takes a long period of time to mature. Spaghetti squash is harvested in the last quarter of their growing season. But the good news is they have a long shelf life. Their freshness remains the same for months if you store them in a cool and dry place. Room temperature is the ideal temperature for them, do not store them in your fridge.
Moreover, spaghetti squash is not creamy and smooth like other winter squash. It is stringy and this makes it a unique vegetable.
What is the best time for planting seeds?
Before growing spaghetti squash, it is important to know the duration of the growing season in your area. Normally it takes 100 days for spaghetti squash to reach maturity.
Below is the seed planting time according to the climate and growing season in different areas.
- If spaghetti squash growing season in your area is short, less than 100 frost-free days. Then you have to start it indoors for about 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost. You can use LED grow lights to develop spaghetti seeds. These grow lights are cheap and highly efficient.
You can start growing spaghetti squash from fast-maturing seeds. This type gives you the mature squash in 70 days. These seeds are called hybrid squash seeds.
- If the growing season of spaghetti squash in your area is more than 100 days then you are a lucky grower. Because you don’t need to buy indoor growing lights and start it indoors. Just Plant the seeds directly into the garden.
It is easy to grow fruits and vegetables in an outdoor garden as compared to indoor growing.
Moreover, there is no need to sprout seeds indoors and then transfer seedlings to the garden. This process is necessary where the growers don’t have a long growing season. They don’t have any other options. They need to start it in pots and once the danger of frost has passed and seed develops into seedlings. It is the perfect time to transfer them from pots into the ground.
You May Also Like: Growing Brussels Sprouts fast and easy
How to plant seeds?
Like other seeds, spaghetti squash seeds are sown to the depth of 1 to 1 ½ inch. Don’t go deeper into the soil otherwise, your seeds will not sprout. You need to cover the sown seed with a light layer of potting soil. So that the sprouts can easily come out of the soil.
You can grow spaghetti in 3 ways. Choose which is suitable according to your soil quality. All these 3 methods are developed for different types of soils.
This planting technique is also called mound planting and it best for poor darning soil. In mound planting, you use soil mixed with compost to make it a little lighter. Build a mound of soil mixed with compost 5 feet wide and 12 inches high. Now plant the seeds on the mound only 1 inch deep and cover it with a light layer of soil. Also, cover the nearby area in the diameter of 6 feet with straw or grass clippings. This will help to retain the moisture and your compost mixed soil will never go out of moisture content. Once the seeds become vines, these vines will ramble down on both sides of the mound. This way vines will sit on the mulch (grass clippings).
This technique is best for those having good darning soil and lots of free space in the garden. As we all know squash varieties produce vines. Therefore, you need to apart the holes minimum of 2 feet in the ground. Now sow 2 spaghetti squash seeds in each hole and cover with the 1-inch thick layer of the soil.
The second important thing you need to do is cut off the weak seedlings once the seeds sprouts. This will encourage healthy growth. Each hole should have 1 healthy strong seedling. If you don’t remove weak seedlings the nutrients will get divided into strong and weak seedlings. Weaker plants never produce food. Therefore, removing the unhealthy seedlings from the base and giving full nutrients to healthy seedlings is best for your plants.
Again, mulch the 5 feet wide areas around the seedlings.
Growing squash in a round fence
This method of growing spaghetti squash is best for those who don’t want to give large space to the growing squash vines. All you need to do is take the chicken wire fencing. Build the 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide cylinders from it. Find a suitable place and install them in your garden. Fill the cylinders with fall leaves, leftover potting soil, unused compost, and leave till the spring. This organic material will settle on its place over the winter.
In the spring season plant the 4 seeds in each cylinder. The vines will grow out of the round cylinders and hang downwards on all sides of the squash round.
Vertical method of growing Winter squash
Each vine plant occupies a large space in your garden. Winter squash vines can grow up to 9 feet in length. This type of vines needs a large space. So, for saving the space for other vegetables and plants the best way is to grow spaghetti squash vines vertically.
To support spaghetti vines, install the trellis or use any old wooden frame. You can also use your old cucumber trellis. The idea is to give sufficient support to the vine so that vines can climb and stick to the support easily.
How and when to fertilize squash vines?
Healthy soil is the foundation of healthy plants. The same rule applies in the case of growing most of the vine type plants. Each spaghetti vines produce 5 to 7 fruits. For this type of heavy production, plants need a continuous supply of a good amount of high-quality nutrients. Before planting a seed into the soil, one should have to mix a good amount of compost in it.
Compost release nutrients at a slower rate keep the continuity of nutrients. Do not fertilize vines with a high percentage of nitrogen. Because the high amount of nitrogen will increase the length of the vines. It will not double the number of fruits.
Therefore, you need a fertilizer that encourages the plant to produce more tasty fruits. Phosphorous is the nutrient that your growing vines need more than other nutrients. Organic granular phosphorous fertilizer promotes the production of new flowers and squash per vine.
Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons around the base of seedlings when they grow 6 inches high. Sprinkle 3 tablespoon when you see spaghetti vines start producing flowers.
Your next option is Organic liquid fertilizer (a little higher in phosphorous). Mix it with water and give it to the plant roots. Read the instruction on the fertilizer bottle that you are going to use. Each liquid fertilizer is different in concentration. Fertilize spaghetti vines once a month throughout the growing season.
How to water spaghetti squash vines?
Squash vines need a good amount of moisture to grow healthy and produce tasty fruit. No doubt mulching around the base of vines helps to hold the moisture into the soil. But you have to water them when the air and soil get dry.
Water them by hand do not use the watering pipe. Because with hands you can give water straight to the root area without wetting vines. Squash vines are prone to powdery mildew and you can reduce this problem by keeping the leaves dry.
The important thing is you need to water the plants slowly so that they can absorb the given water easily. Do not dump the water at once this results in a lot of wasted runoff water.
When to harvest spaghetti squash?
For first-time growers harvesting spaghetti squash might seem tricky part. Because they need to know when the fruit is ripe without cutting it. Because no variety of winter squash will ripe once they are cut off from the vine. So, you need to give it full time to rip.
There are a few things you need to check before harvesting
Check the calendar and count the days from the day of planting seeds till today. The ripening time is 100 days for each variety of winter squash.
Try to press the rind with your fingernail. It should be tough for you.
Flip the fruits that are sitting on the ground if you see yellow spots on the bottom it’s time to harvest.
Not all squash matures at the same time. So, only harvest those that are fully ripened and leave the half to ripen on the vines to complete the maturity process.
You have to harvest all the squash before the first frost otherwise they will get damaged and this will reduce their life shelf life.
Cut the squash from the vine instead of twisting it because twisting can damage the vine. To cut it safely use sharp scissors and leave 1-inch long stem.