How To Grow Summer Squash In Your Garden


(upbeat music) -[John White] I’m John White. Today we’re going to be talking about one of those plants
that’s almost foolproof. A lot of beginning gardeners,
this is one of the plants that we tell them to try
working with off the start, and that is summer squash
or zucchini squash. And summer squash are
a plant that, you know, really almost overproduces
in the home garden. If you grow a few plants, you’re
probably giving fruit away to everybody on the block, cause this is really a
plant that just takes off and really produces quite a bit. So, this particular plant
we’re looking at is zucchini. You can see it has a pretty
good load of fruit on it already and it’s been producing for
a month, month and a half, and we have quite a bit of produce on it. Some of it’s relatives,
the yellow crop neck, and yellow straight neck,
are also good plants to grow, but the zucchini is one that has a very large canopy of leaves on it. And what we’re looking for in here, is our bloom structure
and as with most melons, we have different kinds
of bloom on it here, between the male and the female. If I can pull some of these leaves away, we can see right here
we have a female flower. Here’s the flower part and
underneath it is the ovary, and it looks like a small fruit, and so this is the female flower. We want to see these. Now the male flower is this one here, that is on a slender stalk. So you have the flower above
it and just a slender stalk. In order to have zucchini
squash or squash, we need to have the male and the female flowers on the plant. So, it’s important to have both
these flowers on the plant. You will produce more male
flowers than you will female, so if you start to see blooms
falling off and no fruit, then that is just because you have a lot of male flowers on it. Now, as far as the fruit, that is one of the hotly contested things. What we’re looking at is a fruit, that this one is probably the ideal size, we want one somewhere–it’s
about eight inches long. You can see it still has
the blossom end on it, this will come off.
But this is has a nice, delicate skin on it. You can break it with your fingernail, but that’s a good zucchini squash, there. So, we’re not trying to grow these great, big, yard-long squash, so this is one that is a good size. So this is the ideal shape
that we’re looking for. Let me show you what happens if you wait a little bit too long. A lot of times. we’ll
get a squash like this. And this one is a very large, overgrown, the skin has gotten very tough on it, and so these you really
want to get off the plant. You don’t want to allow your
squash to get to this size. So you want to get them harvested quick. And if you can’t get to them
right away then, you know, have a neighbor come
over and harvest em, but you want to get these off. Otherwise, the plant
spends a lot of his energy trying to produce this and
it really doesn’t need it. So again, we want to get
those better size squash. Some of the other things
we’re looking at here– we have a squash back in here
that is not looking very good. It’s starting to yellow out. This one here is one that
either was not pollinated well or it’s suffering a little
bit of, what we call, blossom end rot, where
the blossom end down here begins to dry back, blacken and kind of shrunken a little bit, and that’s due to calcium deficiency, and with the high heat and a lot of water demand on this plant, it interrupts the nutrient
cycle within the plants. So a lot of times they can
become calcium deficient, just do to the high
water loss in the plant, so sometimes you will see that. Again, cut these off, don’t
leave them on the squash cause the plant’s spending
it’s time trying to take care of this and get them off. The other thing we want to look for is one of the big problems
that we see on squash, and that’s squash bug. So if you start to see these
little brown capsules here, these little eggs, these
are eggs of the squash bug. And the squash bug is probably
the number one cause of death of our summer squash, and
it can spread over on to some of the other melons. But this is a real disastrous
insect to have in your garden. So the best time to take
care of this is right now, and just snip that leaf off, or cut this section of leaf out, and get those eggs out of the garden. They’re very hard so you
can’t really squash them, so you just pull that part of the leaf off and get it out of the garden. So, as we’re looking at the plant, other problems that we
can have with these, are of course, powdery
mildew can show up on it. Luckily with our climate here, we don’t have a lot of disease problems, but powdery mildew can be a problem and that’s where you have
the very white leaves, almost like a bread mold on top of it, just a very feathery,
powdery type of material, so that can be taken care
of easily, with a fungicide. Right now, you can also plant squash, so we still have time in the
season to plant new squash, so if your plants beginning to play out, you’ve had it in for quite a while, then go ahead and replant,
and you’ll have more squash later on in the season. So, hopefully those are some tips that will give you a good productive, bountiful garden this summer.

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