Squash and Gourds

Squashes and Gourds will succeed in a wide range of soils, provided there is no shortage of moisture and plenty of organic material has been dug into the bed.

Plants will shed fruit if they are allowed to dry out,then on the other hand, both fruit and plants may rot if over watered.

Water freely during hot spells and apply a deep mulch of compost, peat or lawn cuttings to preserve moisture.

Squashes can be grown vertically in a greenhouse bed and grown up and supported on a purpose built frame or grown as cordons up single canes.

Gourds require full sun, fertile, well-drained and humus rich soil that was well manured during winter.

The top of a compost heap makes an ideal location providing it gets plenty of sunshine.

Alternatively, use an open topped coldframe.

 

Growing in Coldframe

 

Growing in Greenhouse

 

Developing fruit





Cultivation

Week 16: Sow one or two seeds (on edge) into 75mm (3") pots of seed compost.

Germinate at a temperature of 10°C (50°F), this should take about a week.

Alternatively, sow seeds in-situ where the plants are to grow, and protect them with cloches.


Week 18: Prick out seedlings into 70mm (3") pots.

Harden off the young plants in a cold frame prior to planting out.


Week 22: Providing all late frosts have passed, plant out 900-1200mm (36"-48") apart.

Week 27: Pinch out the leaders (growing tips) when they are about 600-900mm (24"-36")long to encourage the production of fruiting laterals.

Week 29: Assist pollination by transferring pollen from the male flower to the female flowers.

Female flowers are distinguished by the bulbous ovary behind the petals.

Restrict growth to 2-3 fruits per plant.

Feed plants weekly with a balanced fertiliser once fruit has set.


Week 38:
onwards Harvest fruits as they mature during summer.

Larger fruited types should be left to mature on the plants until late autumn.

Store fruits in a cool, frost free shed.





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