Spaghetti squash, whose flesh and pulp look like cooked pasta, is a popular winter squash native to Central America and Mexico.
Packed with plenty of nutrients and because of its slightly sweet flavor, many home gardeners enjoy growing spaghetti squash.
When to plant spaghetti squash? Generally, you must plant spaghetti squash in the spring, about two weeks after the last spring frost. While easy to grow, spaghetti squash seeds won’t sprout if the air or soil is too cold.
Spaghetti Squash Planting Techniques
Everyone knows you should grow spaghetti squash plants in well-draining soil with more than enough growing space and full sun.
On top of these, you should also consider the planting technique you’ll follow.
To give you an idea, here’s what you can expect from each growing technique:
1. Ground Planting
Ground planting is the technique to use when your plot has a lot of growing space and has good drainage.
Since spaghetti squash grows vines that can extend up to eight feet, the first thing to remember is that you should space the seed holes about three feet apart.
Sow two seeds for every hole and wait for their sprouts to emerge.
Once the spaghetti squash seeds sprout, thin down the plants by cutting the weakest seedling off, leaving only the strongest seedlings.
Use raw grass clippings or straw to mulch the soil around the holes to insulate the soil.
2. Hill or Mound Planting
Mound planting is perfect if your soil has poor drainage.
To start, create a mound using soil and compost. The mound should be at least three feet wide and eight inches high.
On the top portion of the mound, sow three spaghetti squash seeds. Plant them in a way that they are spaced a few inches apart.
Use raw grass clippings or straw to mulch the area around the mound and the mound itself.
This trick limits weed growth helps retain moisture and ensures your squash plants are off the ground while developing.
When growing spaghetti squash this way, expect the vines to fall over the mulch and on the sides of the hill.
3. Planting in Squash Rounds
This technique is great if you do not want to dedicate a big portion of your garden to squash.
Firstly, you’ll need to use chicken wire fencing to build cylinders. These should stand up to five feet and have a diameter of at least four feet.
These wire squash rounds can be built in your garden, your lawn, or your patio.
During fall, gather all kinds of organic materials, including fall leaves, grass clippings, potting soil, manure, and compost.
Use these materials to create layers that will fill your cylinders.
As spring arrives, the organic materials you gathered in fall should have settled.
Start sowing four spaghetti squash seeds in each of the wire squash rounds. The squash vines will crawl up the top part of the cylinder and fall down the sides.
How To Plant Spaghetti Squash Seeds
Have you decided on the planting technique that suits you best? If so, you’re one step closer to growing your own batch of spaghetti squash plants.
To start, you will need to figure out if starting the seeds indoors or directly planting outdoors is the better choice for you.
Here’s what to expect from both:
Sowing Spaghetti Squash Indoors
If you want to start your squash seeds indoors and transplant them later on, here’s what you should do:
Step 1: Know the date of the last frost.
Start spaghetti squash seeds indoors one month before the last frost date.
Within a month, the seedlings should be large enough for transplanting outdoors.
If unsure about the last frost date in your area, you can use a large pot to start your seeds.
Step 2: Plant the seeds one inch deep with a width of about three inches.
Use an organic potting mix, and give the seeds some plant food to jump-start their growth.
Put four seeds in the same hole for each pot and water them until you see that the soil is damp.
For the seeds to sprout, make sure they are covered in soil.
If needed, use a measuring tape to check that the seeds are about one inch beneath the soil.
Step 3: Place them in a sunny spot.
Spaghetti squash seeds require consistent warm temperatures between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate.
Once the sprouts emerge, set your seedlings where they can receive full sun for at least eight hours a day.
Step 4: Water the seedlings once a week.
Ensure that you water your seedlings once a week to keep the soil moist.
One way to know your seedlings have enough water is to stick your finger in the soil about four to five inches deep.
If it feels wet, do not water it yet to avoid over-watering.
Step 5: Transplant the seedlings outside.
Young spaghetti squash seedlings are delicate and sensitive to extreme temperature changes.
Hence, you will have to wait for them to become strong enough to survive outdoors before transplanting them.
Your best bet is to wait until the seedlings have two to three leaves, which could take anywhere from three to four weeks.
Again, you will want to transplant the seedlings to a spot in your garden that receives full sun.
Moreover, you need to plan the time of your planting.
Make sure the soil has warmed up from the last frost for at least two weeks. The seedlings will be unable to grow if the soil is too cold.
Growing Spaghetti Squash Directly Outdoors
If you’re from a warm climate, growing spaghetti squash plants directly outdoors might be a better idea.
Step 1: Check outdoor temperatures first.
Spaghetti squash seeds are best seeded outdoors in warm weather. Aim to plant them when temperatures reach 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spaghetti squash requires warm temperatures and long growing seasons.
Since spaghetti squash cannot tolerate frost, wait for the last frost date and only begin planting once it has passed.
Step 2: Plant your seedlings in an area in your garden with full sun.
To ensure an abundant harvest, pick an area in your garden that receives full sun.
As the spaghetti squash grows, it will develop large leaves that will help prevent the growth of weeds by shading the ground underneath.
Step 3: Start planting.
Plant your spaghetti squash seeds 60 centimeters to 90 centimeters apart in compost that is 10 centimeters deep.
The seeds should be planted two to three centimeters deep.
An organic, well-draining gardening soil is a good alternative if you do not have compost readily available.
Step 4: Ensure your squash seedlings get enough water every week.
The soil should be moist at least four inches deep, which means you might need to water them daily at first.
Does it always rain in your area? There is no need to water your seedlings if the soil is consistently moist.
Step 5: After a few weeks, identify the weaker seedlings and pull them out.
After four to six weeks, there will be plants that thrive and plants that wilt.
Pull out the wilted plants and leave the healthier plants intact. This way, you’re only growing squash plants that you know are healthy.
How To Care for Your Squash
Growing spaghetti squash plants require more than just regular watering. Here are our tried and tested care tips you’ll want to keep in mind:
1. Remove the flowers on the squash vines after summer.
The plant’s energy should be focused on the growth of the developing squash; hence, you should remove the flowers that blossomed after summer.
To do this, cut them off using a pair of clean gardening shears or just pinch them off.
2. Put a tile under each squash.
In doing this, you’re protecting the squash from getting rot.
The separation between the soil and the fruit provided by the tile is an easy but effective way of preventing rot.
If you do not have tiles readily available, any non-biodegradable flat object will do.
3. Remove pests that harm your squash.
It’s possible to encounter squash bugs and cucumber beetle feasting on your plants.
They are large enough to see easily, so pick them off by hand as you see them. Do not forget to check for pests under the leaves and inside the flowers.
Regularly watering and fertilizing your plants will also help prevent pests. Once established, they will be strong enough to fight off insects.
How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Take to Grow?
Spaghetti squash takes a long time to grow and fully mature, usually around 100 days after planting.
The fruit will be golden yellow and pale when they are ready for picking.
Is Spaghetti Squash Worth Growing?
Spaghetti squash is one of the most popular winter squashes to grow because of its many essential nutrients.
For instance, it carries beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from all kinds of damage. With this in your diet, you’ll have a reduced cancer risk.
This winter squash is also a popular choice for people who want to manage their weight. Even though it’s a low-calorie food, its high fiber content can make you feel full.
What’s surprising is that aside from its many health benefits, it is one of the easiest plants to grow.