Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash. The flesh and pulp of spaghetti squash resemble spaghetti noodles and which is what spaghetti squash got its name.
It’s an essential plant as it provides a range of essential nutrients like vitamins A and C, and growing it is not hard. Immediately frost has passed away, you can properly plant your spaghetti squash plants or seeds then harvest within a short period.
Here’s how to grow spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash performs well in full sun and places with organic matter, like compost. Make sure you wait until the frost has passed.
Begin by planting the seedlings indoors then later transfer them outside. Dig a slightly larger hole compared to the plant’s root, then arrange the spaghetti squash plant properly inside the hole then fill it with soil.
Alternatively, when you decide to sow the seeds outside, ensure you plant them approximately 1 inch deep then give them 12 inches gaping between each seed. After that, water the seeds or the plants immediately after you plant them.
Immediately the spaghetti squash begins to grow, start thinning them to create an approximate distance of three to five feet between the plants. Doing this encourages them to produce more fruits. Additionally, it will help the squash grow a bit larger.
Remember to pull the weeds around the squash plants frequently as weeds can distract the spaghetti plants by robbing them of the nutrients and water that they need to thrive. Water them frequently, more so when the weather is dry and hot.
When hand watering the plants, use about one water gallon around the root zone of every seedling, five water gallons on every young vine, and 10 gallons on each mature vine. After that, allow the water to soak slowly on the ground.
Check if the red spider mites that attack the squash plants are around. You can use an insecticide to keep them away to prevent them from damaging your plants.
- Adding Fertilizer to the Spaghetti Vines
Squash plants are extremely big and require a nice nutrition level to grow perfectly. With a fertile and healthy soil as its foundation, each spaghetti plant can produce up to 8 fruits. You must amend the soil with plenty of compost.
Never apply fertilizer with too much nitrogen as it can make the vines grow long, producing little fruit. Rather, you can use granular fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus that will promote the production of fruits and flowers.
You can also use liquid organic fertilizers, but with this one, you must fertilize the pants after every four weeks.
- Harvesting Spaghetti Squash
If you are growing squash plants for the first time, it can be a bit tricky when it comes to harvesting. You’ll not know if the fruits are ripe. Therefore, you must allow them to ripen on their vines properly.
However, here are simple things you must consider:
- Look at your calendar to ensure the required number of days has elapsed after planting. Don’t forget that most varieties take only 100 days to be ready.
- When the fruits are sitting down on the ground, turn one over then check for a slightly light yellow spot on the lower side. You don’t have to harvest all fruits at once. It would be best if you harvested them as they get ripe then leave the unripe fruits to continue maturing.
- When harvesting the fruits, ensure you cut them from their vines, leaving a 2-inch part of the stem untouched.
How to Grow Spaghetti Squash on a Trellis
Start by preparing a sunny growing area soon after the spring frost. Then cultivate the soil using a garden spade to an approximate depth of 8 inches. After that, 4 inches of compost on the soil then work on the soil and compost properly as you mix them. Then rake the surface of the soil smoothly.
Place the metal or wood trellis system on the soil then pound the lower side of the trellis inside the soil using a hammer to move it approximately eight inches down on the ground.
With that done, plant your spaghetti seeds on both sides of the trellis. Make sure you position them around six inches away from the trellis. Grow two seeds on the same place approximately 1 inch deep with a 12 inches spacing apart. Then cover the squash seeds gently with soil
Water the seeds soon after planting to keep the soil moist as the seeds begin to germinate after 7-14 days.
Thin the plants immediately, they attain a height of 4 inches. Get rid of the poorly performing seedlings to give space for one plant growing every 12 inches on the trellis.
Add some fertilizer to the seedlings through sprinkling about ¼ lb. of granular fertilizer to every 10 feet of seedlings. Make sure you apply the fertilizer 21 days once first blossoms start appearing then force the fertilizer inside the soil properly using a hand rake.
Then Pull all weeds as soon as they appear, to make the soil area safe from competing plants.
After that, tie the spaghetti squash vines on the trellis using the stretchy plant ties to help you train the vines. Give support to the main vines through tying them lightly on the trellis.
Cut a cheesecloth measuring approximately 2 feet for each plant that starts to grow. Tie the end sides of the cheesecloth to the trellis. This functions as a sling for the plants.
Finally, harvest your spaghetti squash fruits before the autumn frost, once their skins turn yellow. Their skin must be firm when touched. Also, you can use a knife to disconnect the fruits from the vines, but you must leave approximately 3 inches of vine that protrude from the squashes.
That’s how to grow spaghetti squash on a trellis. The process of planting to harvesting is easy but requires patience.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.