Spaghetti squash is one of our favorite winter squash types, and it’s a great addition to the vegetable garden. It’s relatively simple to grow, and the fruits are packed full of nutrients. Learn how and when to plant spaghetti squash and what these plants need to grow healthy and productive throughout the growing season.
There are various winter and summer squash plants, from acorn, Delicata, and butternut squash to zucchini, Hubbard, and spaghetti squash, and they are all good choices for home growing. However, it’s vital to know when to start spaghetti squash plants to ensure they have time to produce fruits before the end of the season.
Fortunately, unlike butternut and acorn squash, spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) matures faster, and each plant yields four to five squash fruits. The key to growing these garden veggies is to start squash seeds indoors and transplant them outdoors once the danger of frost is no longer a threat. This time frame varies depending on your hardiness zone.
How to Grow Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash plants are fast-growing and are easy to grow anywhere from the north to the south as long as you give them proper spacing and full sun. However, the spaghetti squash growing season is shorter in colder regions.
When to Plant Spaghetti Squash
Learn when to plant spaghetti squash seeds according to your USDA hardiness zone and enjoy squash growing season with a big harvest at the end. They may be vegetables to plant in July in some areas and in May in others.
Discover how to start seeds indoors and move them to the outside garden and give your plants care for optimal growth. Explore common problems squash plants may encounter and a yummy spaghetti squash recipe.
Spaghetti Squash Growing Season
It’s important to know when to plant spaghetti squash seeds to give them a head start and ensure they produce fruits before the temperatures get cold. However, the spaghetti squash growing season varies depending on your region. Learn about the USDA hardiness zones and how to determine when to plant squash in your zone.
Understanding the different hardiness zones helps you determine when to plant spaghetti squash in zone 6 and up and when to plant spaghetti squash in zone 5 and lower.
The United States is broken into sections based on the coldest temperature – the USDA hardiness zones. These zones range from 3 to 10, and gardeners use them to decide when to plant certain fruits and vegetables.
Spaghetti squash takes roughly 100 days to reach maturity. If you live in a northern region between zones 3 and 7, with a short growing season, start them indoors at least one month before the last frost. Consider planting the seeds directly in the garden if you live in a southern area in zones 8 and up.
When to Plant Spaghetti Squash Seeds
It’s always a good idea to sow seeds inside before the last frost to give your plants the right conditions to germinate, mainly if you live in a northern area. Here is how and when to plant spaghetti squash seeds indoors.
For an area where you have less than 100 frost-free days, it’s ideal to start squash seeds indoors. However, it’s safe to sow seeds directly in the garden in a region with a long growing season.
Fill peat pots with potting soil, press two seeds an inch deep in the dirt, and water lightly. Set them in a warm area to germinate, do not let the soil dry out, and thin the weakest of the two seedlings after the seeds sprout.
When to Plant Spaghetti Squash Outside
Once the outside temperatures are warm enough for gardening, it’s transplanting and seeding time. Find the best time to plant spaghetti squash outside and how to transplant seedlings in the garden with proper spacing and depth.
After the last spring frost, prepare the garden for sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings by tilling the ground and creating a rich soil base with organic matter, compost, or manure.
To direct sow seeds, place them an inch to an inch and a half deep in the garden and space them three to four feet apart. To transplant seedlings after germination, harden them off a week before planting and place the peat pots directly in the soil. Dig holes slightly larger than the pot and space them up to four feet apart.
Water seeds or seedlings after planting and spread mulch over the bed to hold in moisture. To grow squash plants vertically, position a trellis near them right after planting. Spaghetti squash grows vines eight feet long or more, and a climbing structure is a great way to grow squash if you have a small garden area.
Caring for Spaghetti Squash in the Vegetable Garden
Now that you know when to plant spaghetti squash in zone 7 vs zone 3, it’s time to give your newly planted spaghetti squash the care it requires for optimal growth. Discover how much water and food these plants need to ensure they produce fruits and when they are ready for harvesting.
Squash loves being well-watered, and hand watering is the best way to ensure they get the right amount. Provide your seedlings with a gallon of water, young vines with five gallons, and mature vines with ten gallons.
Avoid dumping the water in all at once since this leads to runoff. If you have a large squash garden, consider using a soaker hose and give them an inch or two of water weekly during dry spells.
Squash plants may produce up to eight fruits per plant and need nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen to thrive. Use an organic granular fertilizer with slightly more phosphorus and less nitrogen since phosphorus promotes flowers and fruits, and nitrogen leads to longer vines with less fruiting.
When the plants reach six inches tall, spread two tablespoons of fertilizer around each plant and apply three more tablespoons after the vines begin to flower.
After the plants grow male and female flowers, bees and other pollinators are essential for pollinating them for fruit production. If your area is low on pollinators, consider hand-pollinating them yourself. Take a male anther and brush it onto the female stigma a couple of times for pollination.
Most spaghetti squash types are ready for harvesting in about 100 days. If the squash is resting on the ground, flip it over and check for a slightly yellow spot on the bottom. Press your thumbnail or fingernail into the rind to ensure it’s tough to pierce.
Harvest the fruits as they ripen by cutting them from the vine with garden shears, leaving a one or two-inch stem section on the squash. Store the spaghetti squash in a dry place in your home and use them within three months.
Common Gardening Problems When Planting Spaghetti Squash
While nature has a way of taking care of your plants with rain and sunshine, it also tends to cause havoc to your plants as they grow. Common problems in your squash garden include pests and disease.
Spaghetti squash is prone to fungal diseases like powdery mildew, and using the correct watering method is key to preventing these diseases from ruining your crops. Crop rotation and sterilizing your garden tools are additional ways to stop the spread of plant disease.
Squash vine borers, spider mites, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs are common spaghetti squash plant pests. Check your garden daily and inspect the vines, leaves, flowers, and fruit for these insects and their activity.
Remove them by hand once you spot them, discard damaged plant material, and apply a pollinator-friendly insecticidal soap if necessary.
Make a Tasty Side Dish with Fresh Spaghetti Squash
One of the most popular ways to eat spaghetti squash is to use it as a pasta substitute with marinara sauce. However, this caramelized onion spaghetti squash recipe is light and savory and tastes great by itself or alongside any meat.
Slice the spaghetti squash in two lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush one tablespoon of olive oil on each half and lay them flat side down on a baking sheet. Bake them for 45 minutes at 350°F and remove them from the oven to cool for ten minutes. Use a fork to remove the squash strands and set them aside.
Slice the onions into long strips and saute them in the butter and remaining oil for five minutes while stirring before adding the mushrooms. Cook for ten minutes to caramelize the onions, and add the kale and spaghetti squash strands. Sprinkle the top with rosemary, salt, and pepper, cook for another couple of minutes, and top the dish with Parmesan cheese.
Growing summer squash is simple and rewarding, as long as you pick the right planting time for your region and give your plants some tender loving care as they grow. There is nothing quite like picking fresh organic squash from the garden at the end of the season.
We hope that knowing when to plant spaghetti squash according to where you live helps you produce the healthiest squash crop, and we’d love it if you’d share our spaghetti squash planting tips and growing guide with your friends and family on Pinterest and Facebook.