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Squash abound. Photos Leslie Halleck

In The Garden: No Sick Days During Squash Season

For this week’s post, I’m sticking to my theme of edibles—there’s a lot going on in your vegetable garden this time of year. This week’s pick du jour? Squash. All sorts of squash. I have squash coming out of my ears. I made the mistake of coming down with a case of summer bronchitis and missed two days of harvesting in my veggie garden. If there is one thing you learn as a seasoned vegetable gardener it’s that there are no sick days during squash season.

Why? Because they can run faster than you and you’ll never keep up with them if you don’t harvest daily.

As an urban gardener, I’m a big fan of growing only dwarf bush type squash. I can cram nine or more plants into a 4′ x 4′ raised bed and not have to worry about them taking over my garden. Bush squash and zucchini varieties don’t require trellises or staking, so they’re perfect for small spaces. Plus, you get a ton of fruit from each plant, even though they don’t take up much space.

One 4' x 4' bed can contain many dwarf squash plants.
One 4′ x 4′ bed can hold many dwarf squash plants.

Up this year in my test garden is the Summer Scallop Hybrid Mix. This mix is easy to grow, compact and puts on a bevy of beautiful fruits quickly. ‘Moonbeam’, a beautiful white variety included in this mix, is normally best harvested as a baby vegetable; but as you can see two days of neglect in the garden result in much larger fruit. Scallop squash can be harvested when they are only 2″ in diameter and sautéed whole. You can also let plants develop larger fruit that can be sliced and cooked or roasted whole.

'Moonbeam' scallop squash.
‘Moonbeam’ scallop squash.

Did you miss your spring seeding of squash? No worries: You can seed another round of squash into the garden right now. Bush type squash can also be grown in large container.