Spaghetti squash is one of the most popular squashes. It can be a great substitute for pasta if you’re trying to eat healthy. You can also use it to add more greens to your diet. If you pull it apart with a fork, the interior of a spaghetti squash appears like a noodle. This makes it pretty obvious why some people refer to it as “pasta.”
What are the Spaghetti Squash Gardening Tips? These are the Spaghetti Squash Gardening Tips, know the length of the growing season, variants of spaghetti squash, planting Spaghetti Squash seeds based on climate, grow vines vertically, Fertilizing Spaghetti Squash, caring for Spaghetti Squash, proper Watering Spaghetti Squash tips, Spaghetti Squash harvesting tips.
Its mild flavor can taste great if you have it with marinara or a garlic pesto sauce. You’d also be surprised to know that growing spaghetti squash is surprisingly easy. However, this depends on the room you have in your garden. In this article, you’re going to learn how you can start growing spaghetti squash in your gardening beds.
You’ll also get familiar with some amazing spaghetti squash gardening tips that can make the whole process a lot easier and more fun.
Let’s start with the basics.
Table of Contents
What Is Spaghetti Squash?
What Is Spaghetti Squash? Spaghetti squash, often called Cucurbita pepo by some people, is a specific type of winter squash. Every member of the winter squash group is known for its increased shelf-life and hard rinds. Some other types of winter squash can be delicata, buttercup squash, butternut, acorn and a few others.
Compared to different kinds of squashes, winter squash can take considerably longer to grow, that is why they mature later. The fruits of spaghetti squash are harvested a lot later when it’s growing season. But even if they are harvested late, they can also be stored in a cool and dry environment. This can increase their life as they can survive for much longer periods of time this way.
Compared to other members of the winter squash family, spaghetti squash does not have flesh that is creamy and smooth. As we mentioned earlier, spaghetti squash is stringy, which makes it stand out amongst different kinds of vegetables. Upon growing spaghetti squash, you realize that it turns out to have an oval shape. The texture is quite smooth, and when it reaches maturity, its color turns to a soft yellow.
When Should I Plant Spaghetti Squash?
The best spaghetti squash gardening tips always recommend knowing the length of the growing season first. This can be because variants of spaghetti squash, including the popular vegetable spaghetti, can take 100 days to reach maturity, on average.
Planting Seeds Based on Your Climate
- If you live in the northern growing zone and have a short growing season which has less than 100 days without frost, start your spaghetti squash seeds indoors. Start growing them under a grow light for about 4 weeks before your last spring frost.
Another option can be to grow a fast-growing variant like “Small Wonder.” This will give you squash that can be served to a single person in 80 days.
- If you live in a place where the growing season is longer than 100 days, then growing spaghetti squash can be a different experience for you. Your best bet would be to plant the seed directly into the garden.
Squash seedlings despise transplanting. Starting your squash seeds indoors under a grow light can be counter-productive for seeds that have growing seasons longer than 100 days. When you plant your transplants into your garden bed instead of planting a seed set, your plant’s growth can be set behind by a few weeks.
Because of this reason, you should only start squash seeds indoors if you live in the northern region and have a limited growing season. You can also plant spaghetti squash into the garden a week after the frost date has passed. Some people in Pennsylvania sow seeds of spaghetti squash paired with other warm-season vegetables. These can be vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, and beans.
How Do I Plant Spaghetti Squash?
Growing spaghetti squash can take a fair amount of work if you aren’t aware of some spaghetti squash gardening tips beforehand. To begin, you should start planting spaghetti squash seeds into a depth of 1 and a half inches.
When you’re growing spaghetti squash, there’s a variety of techniques that you can use.
- Hill Planting or Mound: This can be a good technique for gardeners who have soil that doesn’t drain well. You can start by building a mound of soil that is mixed with compost. This should be 3 to 6 feet wide and about 10 inches high. You should plant about 4 spaghetti squash on the top of the mound. Make sure that you space them several inches apart from each other. Mulch the ground and the surrounding area with untreated clippings of grass or straw. Limit the amount of weeds and try to keep the growing squash off the ground.
When you’re growing spaghetti squash this way, the vines will travel down the sides and will move over the mulch.
- Ground Planting: This can be an excellent technique for those gardeners who don’t want to give a lot of area to the squash plants they’re planting. Start by building cylinders of chicken wire fencing that are 5 feet tall and 4 feet across. When the fall comes, fill these cylinders with fall leaves, grass clippings, manure, leftover potting soil, compost, and all of the other organic material that you can find. If you want, you can also build squash rounds on your lawn, on a patio or in your garden.
When spring is coming, sow at least 4 squash seeds in the squash rounds. By the time you do this, the organic material would have also settled in. When you’re growing spaghetti squash in a squash round, the vines will grow out of the squash round and come down its sides.
Growing Vines Vertically
There are no two opinions about this; spaghetti vines can take up a lot of space in your garden. So if you’re trying to free up space in your garden, these spaghetti squash gardening tips will be useful for you.
One way of freeing up space in your garden is by growing these vines vertically. You can erect a sturdy fence that can support the vines as they start to grow. For example, grip panels will let the vines climb the wooden fence around your vegetable garden. Delicate tendrils of spaghetti squash won’t be able to grab the thick wood.
To counter this, you can either train them by tying the vines to the fence as they grow, or you can also staple chicken wire on your fence, so your tendrils have something to hold on to.
Fertilizing Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash plants can be big.
They’re going to require a lot of nutrition so they can be at their best. When you have healthy fertile soil as their foundation, every vine will be able to produce at least 6 to 8 fruits. Before growing spaghetti squash, treat the soil with a lot of compost.
Try not to apply fertilizer that has a high nitrogen concentration because then your vines won’t have a lot of fruit. Instead, try choosing an organic fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. The phosphorus in the fertilizer will promote the growth of flowers and fruits. Put 2 tablespoons of granular fertilizer around every plant when your plants are about 6 inches tall. When the vines are starting to flower, put 3 more tablespoons around the base of the plant.
Another option you have is organic liquid fertilizers. But you should also keep in mind that you’ll have only 3 to 4 weeks of the growing season to do this. If you’re applying liquid fertilizers, mix them in a watering can according to the instructions on the label. After you’ve done this, drench the soil around the base of the plant.
Caring for Spaghetti Squash
How to care for Spaghetti Squash? Spaghetti squash can require the same amounts of water as most vegetables require. Meaning, you should water at least three centimeters of water every week. If possible, deliver this water with a slow and steady soak. You don’t have to use any special fertilizers when you’re caring for spaghetti squash either.
If the spaghetti squash is sending vines in the paths of your garden or in places where you don’t want the vines to be, gently place the roots out of harm’s way. Make sure that you don’t bruise the vines. Bruising them will leave them more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Watering Spaghetti Squash
When you’re growing spaghetti squash, it’s essential that you keep the vines of the plant watered generously. One thing you can do to retain the moisture of the plant is that you can mulch it with a 4-inch thick layer of straw, shredded leaves or clippings of grass. These can help retain the moisture of the plant, but if a drought happens, you’ll have to water the plants.
We would recommend that you water your plants by hand because this way, you can directly target the root of the plant and keep the foliage dry. Like every other squash, spaghetti squash is susceptible to powdery mildew and different kinds of fungal diseases. If you’re trying to reduce the number of fungal pathogens, try using dry leaves.
If you’re watering by hand, apply one gallon of water to the roots of each seedling. Around each young vine, apply around 5 gallons of water, and 10 gallons of water if the plant is mature. The water will slowly soak into the ground. Don’t dump it all in one go; a lot of water will runoff, and it will be wasted. If the soil is dry (maybe because you were on vacation?), apply water for the second time. Apply water in breaks of half an hour so it can soak in easily.
Harvesting Spaghetti Squash
For people who are growing spaghetti as first-timers, harvesting can be a little tricky. How would you know if the fruits are ripe if you haven’t cut them? It’s important that you let your fruits ripe completely on the vine. Spaghetti squash and other kinds of squashes won’t ripe once you’ve cut them from the plant.
Here are some spaghetti squash growing tips that can help when you’re harvesting spaghetti squash:
- Check the calendar and make sure that the required number of days have passed since you first planted the crop. Remember, most variants of spaghetti squash can take up to 100 days.
- Press your thumbnail into the soil. It should be tough to pierce.
- If the fruits are on the ground, flip a fruit over and look for a slight yellowish spot on the bottom of the fruit.
- You don’t have to harvest all of the spaghetti squash at once. As they start to ripen, pick them up. If you feel a fruit hasn’t ripened, leave it on the ground and pick it up once it has ripened.
- Make sure you’ve picked up all of the spaghetti squash before the first frost of the fall. If you don’t, the squash can get damaged, and this can reduce shelf life.
When you’re harvesting spaghetti squash, start cutting the fruits from the vine. Leave at least 1-2 sections of the stem intact. According to Cornell University, spaghetti squash should be harvested when the color of the fruit has turned to a slight yellow, or a golden yellow. In addition, you should avoid harvesting the plant in the winters.
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Also, try to cut the plant from the vine rather than pulling it out. Spaghetti squash has an abundance of vitamin A, niacin, iron, and potassium. It can be a great source of fiber and has a lot of complex carbohydrates. You can either bake it or boil it. This makes it a great option for a side dish or even entrée for dinner. The best part about all of this is that if you’re aware of the right spaghetti squash gardening tips – you can grow it yourself! You can grow it without any help and consume food that is free of all artificial additives. Not only will this make the food healthier, but also 10 times more delicious.
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