Spaghetti squash may not be as well-known as other members of the winter squash family, like butternut and acorn squashes, but it should be. It’s easy to grow, attractive in the garden, and a delicious and unusual treat for the table. Here’s how you can incorporate spaghetti squash into your garden and menu planning this year.
Location and Soil Needs
- Plant in a sunny bed with good drainage and high-quality organic compost incorporated in the soil.
- Wait to plant until well after the last frost date, when the soil is warm. Winter squash seeds will not germinate if the air or soil is chilled.
- Give the plants room to trail on all sides, as they are vigorous growers once established.
Growing from Seed
Direct Sow (recommended method) – Place two to four seeds in mounds eight feet (2.4 meters) apart.
Start Indoors – Sow seeds in three-inch (eight centimeters) or larger diameter pots, two to three seeds per pot. Keep under a grow light or in a warm window and, once the plants have reached the height of about an inch (three centimeters), cut away at the base of the stem all but the heartiest shoot. Now you can transplant the seedlings into your garden following the steps below.
Place transplants out in mounds, two to a mound, spaced eight feet (2.4 meters) apart. Take special care when putting the plants in the ground as squash roots are easily damaged by handling.
Spaghetti squash needs the same amount of water as most vegetables, that is, one inch (three centimeters) a week, delivered if possible, through a slow morning soak. No special fertilizing is needed. If your plant begins to send vines into garden paths or other places you don’t want them, gently place the offending shoots out of harm’s way. Try to avoid bruising the vines as that leaves them susceptible to diseases and pests.
Spaghetti squash is ready to harvest in around 90 days. The yellow fruits will grow to around nine inches (23 centimeters), lose their luster, harden, and their stems will dry. Cut the stems about an inch (three centimeters) above the fruit and leave them on for better storage. Harvest all your squash before the first frost.
Spaghetti squash makes a great low-carb option to pasta. Roast or boil the flesh then pull it into strands with a fork. Add sauce on top or toss with sautéed vegetables – anything you can do with spaghetti, you can do with spaghetti squash, and without the high carb count.
Spaghetti squash will save for three to six months in a cool, dark place. For shorter periods (up to two months), it can sit at room temperature as part of a festive fall decorative display.
Easy to grow and fun to eat, spaghetti squash is a gardener’s dream. Make sure you add this late season favorite to your vegetable plot this year.
Do you have a favorite way to eat spaghetti squash? Share it in the comments below!