I have a small section in my three sixteen foot raised beds where I planted six summer squash. You can see them here in the front of the beds in this picture taken awhile back (on the right of the zucchini) Raised vegetable bed. Now, pictured on the left on this page, is the amount of harvest I am getting on these six squash plants almost every couple of days! The largest one pictured is over 12″ in length, and I pick these at different sizes depending on how often I am able to get out there. I normally like to pick them at about 8-10″ length because the flavor seems better at this size. The crazy thing is that I never liked squash bought from the store, but I have quickly acquired a taste for these grown in my own garden.
I am having equal success growing zucchini, and I have been lucky so far this year in not having the squash vine borers that have plagued me in years past. These can quickly turn healthy cucurbit plants like squash and zucchini into mush! I am also fortunate that I have finally had sufficient pollination from bees and insects such that I have not had to pollinate by hand (see hand pollination of squash and zucchini – cucurbits). As the season first started off, I did have to do some hand pollination, but as the weather warmed, the pollinators fortunately moved in.
I have also been enjoying eating fresh squash and zucchini flowers (from the male flowers of course). I place them in my salads and also cook them with a little oil on the stove top. They are loaded with carotenoids and antioxidants. Finally, my goal in writing many of these articles is to show that with a little work and perseverance, you can truly achieve a magnificent production of edibles from a small space – and do it in a way which is environmentally sound and sustainable (I did not use many commercial fertilizers at all in this growing process). I will be posting similar articles on the many other vegetables that I am growing in these beds – I just started getting some fine watermelons that have ripened!