Squash plants are native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. They come in a variety of species about five which includes the squash itself and pumpkin. There’s a lot of botany surrounding the squash plant and its history. But for simplicity, they are mostly famous for two varieties; the summer squash and the winter squash. The summer variety is usually large and less bushy. They come in diverse shapes and colors. Some of them include; the straight-neck, scallop, zucchini and the crooked-neck. The other variant is the winter squash which are majorly vine plants and can disperse all around the garden. They also come in their varieties (shapes and colors). Some of them include; Acorn, spaghetti, and Hubbard.
But our major concern here is how far apart to plant these squash plants so they don’t cross-breed. They are notorious for engaging in such practices and if you plant them too close to each other, their seeds will cross-pollinate to give you something different and almost alien. In order to prevent this from happening? Well, you have to continue reading to find out.
How Far Apart to Plant Squash
Let’s start with the planting process first and then narrow down to the question. When planting squash – any variety you choose, you do that with the seeds. These seeds can be sown directly into the soil of your garden or you can choose to grow them indoors. The summer and winter variants of squash are usually planted in hills. They are planted in shallow depths of about 1inch. Most summer squashes require about 50 frost-free days to mature, so you have to plant in the last week of spring. For winter squash, you know how winter can be extreme with everything, so you will need at least 60 frost-free days of maturity. Ideally, it is best advised to start summer and winter squash planting 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost. The bushy variety can begrown indoors in containers but the rest is best grown outdoors in the hills.
Now for the distance apart to avoid them copulating, rows and hills of summer squash should be planted at least 3 to 4 feet apart while winter squash should be set at least 4 to 5 feet apart and with 5 to 7 feet between rows, for hills about 3 feet apart would suffice.
Planting 2 seeds per hill are best even though you can actually start with 4 to 5 seeds per hill.
Things to Note when Planting Indoors
Most times, the squash planting can begin indoors pending when the last frost will leave and when the soil will become warm. This should be done within 3 to 4 weeks before the planting date.
You can start the seeds in a peat pot, however, you should be careful when transplanting so you don’t jeopardize the root system of the plant. On the number of seeds per pot, the outdoor amount is still valid here – 3 to 4 seeds per pot and you can limit them to just 2 later on.
Another important factor you should consider here is the hardening of the plant in its indoor environment prior to transplanting. This is to ensure they are strong for transplanting if they aren’t, then they might not recover from the shock of transplanting in time to adapt to a new environment. This could delay their growth and some might not even survive the transition.
If you are going to be saving the seeds of the same species, then you need to plant them 50 to 100 feet apart. Most gardeners usually think this is the only time when they need to plant them apart, which is why they end up with strange fruits and poor tastes. You need to plant squash seeds and separate them whether you are saving the seeds or not. They cross-pollinate at will and when its time for harvest, you are the one who’s going to be disappointed at what you’ve got for harvest.
Other Cultures to Imbibe when Growing the Squash Plant
Squash needs adequate moisture to thrive just like other plants, but this doesn’t mean you should saturate it with too much water. That could pose a threat to its livelihood.
A well-drained soil that is rich in humus is ideal for a squash plant. The bushy variants can, however, be grown indoors in containers. You need to prepare organic compost in pre-planting season or you can disperse the compost across the bed in the planting season.
This is a thumb rule. The seeds should be planted in a site where there are no shades to limit the amount of sunlight hitting the soil. The squash plant requires plenty of sunlight to grow. It also needs warm weather and pure air circulation to grow into maturity. If you find yourself in a growing season that is too short, you can make do with the bushy variants and start them indoors.
Squash are permitted to grow alongside celeriac, celery, melons, onions, peas, and a few others. They don’t cross-pollinate with these ones. You should avoid growing squash with potatoes.
Squash can beattacked by pests and insects. You should be wary of the following pest; beetles, squash bugs and squash vine borers. To avoid them, use rows to shield the infant plants from the attack of beetles and squash borers, you can remove the shields when the plants are mature enough to fight for themselves.
The squash plant is infamous for cross-pollination. This gives birth to unwanted fruits, most of which are not tasty. At the end of the day, it’s a bad harvest for you. This is why the topic is essential. Separate the same variety of squash from each other at least 4 feet apart to discouraged copulation. If you are saving the seeds, then this demands to space them even more. There are some methods you can use to save the seeds but that isn’t our focus here, separating the seeds during planting is and if you can follow what is detailed here, there will be no problems.
What happens if you plant squash too close together?
If you plant squash too close together, the vines will not have enough room for them to spread out. This will lead to a decreased yield of squash and plants that are stunted. This problem is exacerbated when the terrain is not level or there are obstacles.
How much spacing does a squash plant need?
Squash plants need about 2-inches of space between them. This is an average spacing, and the distance varies depending on the type of squash plant. For example, you can grow summer squash in 4-inch distances, and zucchini plants need 6-inch distances.
Can you plant squash in a row?
If you want to plant your squash in a row, you need to first put down a bedding of organic compost and then place your seedling inside it so they can soak up nutrients from the mix. Once they are planted into your desired pattern, cover them with soil and water them well.
What can you not plant near squash?
What can you not plant near squash? Squash is a vine plant and needs at least six feet of space from other plants.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are toxic to the vine.
- Beans: Beans are toxic to the vine because they release an enzyme called anthracene, which is toxic to the plant.
- Potatoes: Potatoes will stunt growth of squash due to their high water content.
- Carrots: Carrots are not compatible because they need a lot of space for themselves, and squash grows quickly and takes up a lot of space.
Can you grow cucumbers and squash together?
No, squash vines will spread and smother the cucumbers.
The best way to grow cucumbers and squash together is to plant them in two separate rows.
What plants keep bugs away from squash?
The use of plants to repel pests is not a new concept. Plants have been used for hundreds of years to combat insects. What makes this practice so popular is that it doesn't cost anything or require any chemicals. All one needs is the right plant and the will to take care of it!
There are many plants that can keep squash bugs away. One of the most common is garlic. It has natural pesticides in it that will deter bugs from eating your crops. Other plants with natural pesticides are Marigolds, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Mint.
Garlic is a plant that offers protection for gardeners against squash bugs when planted around the perimeter of the garden or in the center under the squash plant itself. The chemical makeup of garlic is what makes it so effective at keeping squash bugs away from your crops, they don’t like the smell of it.
Should I remove squash blossoms?
Squash blossoms are a delicate edible flower that can be eaten raw or cooked. They are also used in some recipes as an ornamental garnish.
However, there is a debate on whether or not squash blossoms should be removed from the squash plant before it is picked because some people believe they can spread diseases to other crops.
Squash plants which have already flowered are usually more susceptible to disease, so removing the blossoms before picking might reduce this risk.
On the other hand, if you do decide to let them grow, there are always options of squashing the flowers off by hand before cutting them out of your squash with a sharp knife.
Tony Manhart is a passionate gardener who has been tending to gardens for over 20 years. He takes pride in creating beautiful outdoor spaces with plants, trees, and shrubs that can thrive in any environment. He loves to share his knowledge with others and has taught classes on gardening basics and advanced techniques. He is committed to sustainability, using natural and organic methods to create and maintain gardens. He also works with local organizations to create green spaces for communities. When he’s not gardening, Tony enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his family.