Summer squash is a wonderful vegetable to grow in the home vegetable garden. Summer squash can be planted in rows or in raised beds. They can even be planted in large containers. Summer squash require plenty of full sun, at least six hours per day, and fertile soil that’s amended with compost. Summer squash are prolific growers and can continue to produce until the first frost. Summer squash are typically grown by sowing seeds directly in the vegetable garden after the last frost date in spring, but you can also start seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date to get a jump on the season.
If starting summer squash seeds indoors, the seedlings will need to be transplanted into the vegetable garden after the threat of frost. Here is how I transplant summer squash seedlings in my vegetable garden.
Removing The Seedlings From The Seed Tray
As mentioned in the article about transplanting cucumbers, I use a peat based seed tray to start all my seedlings. Using this type of tray I can simply cut the seedling pots apart so I have individual peat pots. This makes removing the seedling for transplanting much easier.
Once I’ve finished cutting the seed tray into sections the summer squash seedlings are in individual peat pots and are ready for transplanting.
Preparing The Summer Squash Seedlings For Transplanting
Once the summer squash seedlings are separated from the seed tray, I place each seedling about three to four feet apart in the vegetable garden where they’ll be transplanted. I like to give summer squash plenty of room because they can become very large plants. I have had some summer squash plants get as big as five feet in diameter. For this particular row I am growing Early Prolific Yellow Squash.
I first remove the peat pot tray from around the summer squash seedling. When the peat pot is wet it is very easy to tear away from the seedling and the seed starting soil. Be very careful when tearing away the peat pot to avoid damaging the roots of the seedling.
You can leave the peat pot intact if you prefer when transplanting the summer squash. The peat pot is biodegradable and will decompose after planting. I decided to remove the peat pot from my summer squash seedlings, but it is entirely up to you if you want to remove them.
If the peat pot proves to be difficult to remove then simply plant the entire peat pot and squash seedling. I had to do this on a couple summer squash seedlings myself. Just make sure to tear off the top of the peat pot so the pot is at the same level or a little lower than the soil level of the seedling.
Transplanting The Summer Squash Seedlings
Dig small holes with a garden trowel or your hand big enough for the seedlings. Space the holes about three to four feet apart in the row or raised bed. If you are growing several rows of summer squash make the rows about three feet apart.
Place the summer squash with the removed peat pot in the planting holes. It’s a good idea at this point to stand back and take a look at your arrangement. Make sure you have adequate spacing before performing the final transplanting.
Once you have the planting arrangement how you like it, simply make sure the summer squash seedling is at the proper depth in the planting hole. You want the soil level of the summer squash seedling to be the same as the vegetable garden soil level. If the hole is too deep, fill it with more soil or compost. If the hole is too shallow, dig the hole a bit deeper.
With the summer squash seedling set at the proper depth, it is now time to fill the planting hole with soil or compost. Once the hole is filled simply use the palm of your hand to gently pat the soil down around the squash seedling. You don’t want to compact the soil, just help it to settle around the seedling.
Continue this process until you have all the summer squash seedlings transplanted. After the transplanting is complete make sure to give the summer squash seedlings a thorough drink of water or compost tea.
The same methods can be used to plant all types of summer squash, including crookneck squash and zucchini.
How do you transplant summer squash in your vegetable garden? Please sure how you grow summer squash with us!