Growing summer squash is easy, even for newbie gardeners.
Summer Squash Canopy
Few vegetables yield so much for so little effort. That’s the problem.
All summer long, 2 or 3 healthy zucchini, patty pan, or crookneck vines will produce more summer squash than a family of 5 can eat, even if they “get creative” in the kitchen.
Beginning gardeners make two big mistakes growing zucchini and other summer squash:
When growing zucchini and other summer squash, you must RESIST the Gardener’s Hoarding Instinct that says bigger is always better.
Patty Pan © Steve Masley
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Sometimes, the garden hoarder is your friend. Bigger usually is better for winter squash. But for summer squash, bigger is mealier (mushier), starchier (less sweet), coarser (more fibrous), stringier, and seedier.
With summer squash, bigger is worse, not better. Pick summer squash small!
Saute them lightly in a little olive oil or butter until crisp-tender—it won’t take long!—and toss coarsely-chopped basil or summer savory, or other fresh herbs on for the last minute of cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Delicious!
Whether you’re growing summer squash or winter squash, the plants are close cousins and share the same soil, fertilizer, and water needs, the same pests and diseases. See How to Grow Squash for more information.
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