|Item Form||(P) Pkt of 10 seeds|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Season Of Interest||Summer|
From Squash casseroles and stuffed Zucchinis to Pumpkin pies and jack-o'-lanterns, these versatile garden favorites offer something wonderful for everyone! Their history is long and rich, and their potential as a food source as well as a beautiful fall-season decoration is unsurpassed.
Choosing a Variety
Pumpkins and Squash offer a wonderful variety of colors, sizes, and shapes, providing you with many options as far as flavors and applications. You can grow Pumpkins that range from small to giant -- anywhere from about 2 pounds to 100 pounds or more! Some are better for eating while others are mainly used for decoration.
When you're deciding which Squash you want to grow, you can choose from a delicious selection of summer or winter Squash. The summer varieties (which include Zucchini) are best for fresh eating and quick harvests, while the winter ones are great for storing and baking.
When to Start
Pumpkins and Squash are best direct sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in the spring and the soil has warmed. They can be sown indoors (at a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F) 2 to 3 weeks before planting out, but direct sowing is recommended.
If you want Pumpkins for Halloween, plant from late May (in northern climates) to early July (in extremely southern locations). Keep in mind that if your Pumpkins are planted too early they may rot before Halloween.
How to Start
Pumpkins and Winter Squash:
Sow the seeds at a depth of 4 times the size of the seed, siting them in full sun in rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Fertilize before planting and then again every 3 weeks until you harvest. It's very important to keep the plants weeded and well watered. If you're growing your Pumpkins on hills, space the vines about 8 feet apart. If instead you choose to plant them in rows, space the vines 3 to 4 feet apart in rows that are about 8 to 12 feet apart. You can also grow them on a trellis, an option especially appealing if you have limited space. Expect germination in 7 to 10 days.
Summer Squash and Zucchini:
Sow the seeds at a depth of 1 to 1¼ inches, siting them in full sun in rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Fertilize before planting and then again every 3 weeks until you harvest. It's very important to keep the plants weeded and well watered. If you're growing your Squash on hills, space the plants about 4 feet apart. If instead you choose to plant them in rows, space the plants 2 to 3 feet apart in rows that are about 4 to 6 feet apart. Expect germination in 7 to 10 days and harvests in 40 to 50 days.
Summer Squash can cross with similar varieties such as Acorn Squash and jack-o'-lantern Pumpkins. The cross-pollination will not be apparent with your current crop, but it's not recommended that you use the seeds for the following season. However, summer Squash will not cross-pollinate with Melons or Cucumbers.
If your summer Squash become too large (hard and seedy) they will sap the strength away from the plant that would otherwise be used to grow more fruit. Just throw away any that become too large.
Keep in mind that although squash plants produce both male and female flowers, it's only the Female flowers that produce fruit.
Vining Pumpkins need at least 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
Superior Germination Through Superior SciencePark Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University InspectedTo make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced TechniciansPark Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold StandardAnd many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier. When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
The ancient Native American technique of growing Corn, Beans, and Squash together in an arrangement called the Three Sisters is the ultimate in companion planting and helps increase harvests, naturally!
Corn acts as a support for climbing bean vines, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil for the high feeding requirements of corn and squash, and the squash provides mulch and root protection for the corn and beans! After cooperating beautifully in the garden, corn and beans form a complete protein when eaten together! How's that for a mutually beneficial relationship?
The Three Sisters are all easy to direct sow in the garden and are a great project for children, teaching them about the beauty of natural harmony while providing a fast-growing reward for their efforts.
Make the best possible use of your garden space this season, and try growing the Three Sisters! Just follow the easy steps listed below, fertilize well, plant other companions like herbs to assist with pest control, and you'll be harvesting your best crop in no time!
In May or June when soil has warmed:
Shape a flat-topped circular mound of soil about a foot high and 2 feet across at the top, sloping outward toward the base. Plant a circle of corn seeds on top, about 5 or 6, and water them in well, tamping down your soil mound firmly so it doesn't wash away in the first rain. Space the mounds 3 or 4 feet apart in the garden.
Since all corn grows on sturdy, dependable stalks, the variety you choose depends on the flavor, disease resistance, and holding ability you want. Sugar Buns is a Sugar Enhanced (SE) yellow hybrid with absolutely scrumptious golden kernels and is positively scrumptious. For SE whites, you can't beat Silver Princess, with extra-long ears bursting with flavor. And for the sweetest ears yet, you absolutely must try Corn Mirai, available in Yellow, White, Bicolor, and even a Mini!
About two weeks later:
When your corn reaches about 5 or 6 inches high, plant Bean seeds (6 to 8 of them) around the edges of the flat top or about halfway down the sloping sides of the circular mound. Push the seeds down deep into the soil and, if you're planting on the slope, make sure the soil is nice and firm. Add a bit of Nature's Aid at planting time to help the Beans fix nitrogen.
To get your Beans to climb up the cornstalks, choose Pole rather than Bush varieties. Smeraldo is far and away the best-tasting Pole Bean, with flat pods up to 10 inches long on vigorous 4- to 6-foot vines. Park gardeners rave about Kwintus, a super-early performer with succulent pods on stringless 8- to 10-inch pods. And is the classic name in Beans, with top-quality dark green pods that are both stringless and fiberless, even if you pick them a bit late. We even have Blue Lake available in organic seed!
One week or so after that:
Plant Squash seeds around the base of the mound, on flat ground. You can make them radiate around the mound, or just go in the direction you have available space! 6 to 8 seeds in a ring around the base of the mound is usually plenty.
The traditional Squash family member for this Sister is Pumpkin, with its all-American flavor and long growing season. For a quicker harvest, grow Summer Squash varieties such as organic Early Summer Crookneck or Zucchini such as space-saving Eight Ball Hybrid.
When everything begins growing...
Thin the plantings to 2 or 3 Corn stalks, each with no more than 2 Bean plants winding around it. (You'll need to help the Beans get started growing up the stalks). The Squash is going to vine along the ground, so the number of plants you need depends on how far apart your mounds of corn and beans are, how long the vines get, and how much walking space you need in the garden.
Add a FOURTH sister: Sunflowers!
Sunflowers attract birds, thus tempting them away from your corn plants. They shade the vining bean plants while also adding support. Plus, they're beautiful! It's a win-win situation!