Summer Squash Plant Spotlight: Tips and Tricks to Grow, Cook, and Eat Garden Fresh Squash

Your garden and kitchen guide to summer squash

Introductory Facts and Trivia

Summer squash is the term used for the vegetable’s rind that is still edible and soft. Technically, we are eating the immature plants. Unlike the winter squash, summer squash is a reference to the vegetable’s short storage life. One of the most well-known summer squashes is zucchini.

Grow Your Own

The key to growing summer squash is patience. Begin to plant the seeds in May, so that the cold from winter is completely gone. Sometimes, a viable option is to start indoor before moving the seeds outdoors when the weather is better. Transplant the summer squash through July.

Remember that squash is considered a “heavy feeder” and it will require certain soil conditions. Using a little bit of compost might be necessary during the entire process. However, be careful of using too much nitrogen. As this is a basic requirement for other garden vegetables, be sure to check to soil for your summer squash to make sure it is not overly abundant.

Pollination is tricky because of the gender of the vegetables themselves. Bees can help to pollinate both, but you will need to make sure that there is a male summer squash, which produces pollen, and a female summer squash, which produces fruits.

Be careful with watering and irrigating the summer squash. While it is necessary, overly irrigated squash can end in rot and calcium deficiencies.

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Cooking Tips

Squash is common, but it is  not talked about very much. Despite this, it can completely change a dish that you serve, and all for the better. The unique, yet distinct taste will blend perfectly with the dish and add an extra flavor for people to think about. An excellent dish is the Summer Squash Risotto, which is a recipe that is given by the Kitchn. Adding the already soft squash to a creamy risotto creates a wonderful taste and will get everyone to want to experience the flavor.

Some tips on preparing and eating summer squash that can be applied to various other plates are provided by UCANR here.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

Summer squash are very nutritional, and are also very low in calories. They are completely fat, cholesterol, and sodium free, and they also provide Vitamin C, A and B6. Because of this, it can help with skin care, build strong bones, stop inflammation and eliminate ulcers.

The body’s immune system can be boosted by including squash in one’s diet. This means that the body can prevent infections more easily due to the Vitamin A that the squash provides. It can also help manage diabetes, as the B-complex vitamins and dietary fibers help to regulate sugar metabolism.

Learn more about plants and what to grow in your area with the Giving Garden app. Giving Garden helps you grow, share and eat food locally. Available on iOS, Android and the web.  Find your local farmers market, grow your own food and share food to strengthen your local food system. If you have extra produce, we encourage you to post it on our mobile apps and let your friends and neighbors know. Let’s combat food waste together! Have suggestions on features or need assistance, email support@givinggarden.io 

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This blog post was written by Sanjay Reddy, a Biological Science and Professional Writing intern at Giving Garden. Sanjay is very passionate about plant and environmental science and is experienced in scientific research and writing for various fields. Connect with him on LinkedIn to see his current projects.

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