Cabbage

Fertilization: 

Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. Feed seedlings and transplants one week to 10 days after planting. Single plants: Sprinkle 1/3 cup per plant. Rows: Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup each side per 5 ft. of row or 10 lbs. each side per 100 ft. of row.

Harvest/Storage:

  • Harvest when heads reach desired size and are firm. This will take around 70 days for most green cabbage varieties. Most early varieties will produce 1- to 3-pound heads.

  • ​Cut each cabbage head at its base with a sharp knife. After harvesting, bring inside or put in shade immediately.​

  • After harvesting, remove the entire stem and root system from the soil to prevent disease buildup. Only compost healthy plants; destroy those with maggot infestation.

  • Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than two weeks, wrapped lightly in plastic. Make sure it is dry before storing.

Irrigation:

Water early in the morning to allow plants to dry quickly and reduce the opportunity for disease infection. Keep soil moist with mulch and water 2 inches per week.

Planting:

  • Cabbage can be sown indoors between December and January, and transplanted outdoors between January and February.
  • ​​Start cabbage seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost.
  • Transplant outdoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last expected frost date. Choose a cloudy afternoon.
  • Plant 12 to 24 inches apart in rows, depending on size of head desired. The closer you plant, the smaller the heads.

Pruning:

​​When transplants reach 5 inches tall, thin to make sure they are still the desired length apart.

Pests & Diseases:

Cabbages are susceptible to aphids, imported cabbageworms, cabbage root maggots, flea beetles, and fungus  . Make sure to keep a lookout for these problems and tackle them before they ruin your crop, there are a number of organic insecticides and fungicides available.

Beans

Fertilization: 

A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. Feed seedlings and transplants one week to 10 days after planting. Single plants: Sprinkle 1/3 cup per plant. Rows: Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup each side per 5 ft. of row or 10 lbs. each side per 100 ft. of row.

Harvest/Storage:

  • ​Beans are picked at an immature stage, when the seeds inside have not yet fully developed.
  • Look for firm, sizable pods and snap or cut off the plant. Do not tear the plant.
  • Store beans in a moisture-proof, airtight container in the refrigerator. Beans will toughen over time even when stored properly.
  • Beans can be kept fresh for about 4 days, or blanched and frozen immediately after harvesting.
  • Beans can also be canned or pickled.

Irrigation:

​Water regularly, from start of pod to set. Water on sunny days so foliage will not remain soaked.

Planting:

  • ​Beans can start being planted in March, and if you want a continuous summer harvest sow seeds every two weeks. The last months to plant beans are September and October. If you are going away for vacation skip a week, beans will not wait.
  • Pole beans will grow in a climbing vine and require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet but do not require support.
  • Do not start seeds indoors; they may not survive transplanting.
  • Seeds can be sown outdoors anytime after last spring frost, minimum soil temp is 48 degrees F.  Plant 1 inch deep, a little deeper for sandier soils.
  • Bush beans: Plant 2 inches apart.
  • Pole beans: Set up trellises, or "cattle panels," and plant 3 inches apart.
  • For a harvest that lasts all summer, sow beans every 2 weeks. If you’re going to be away, skip a planting. Beans do not wait for anyone.

Pests & Diseases:

​Beans are susceptible to aphids, beetles, and white mold. Make sure to keep a lookout for these problems and tackle them before they ruin your crop, there are a number of organic insecticides and fungicides available.

Weed Management:

Cultivation is usually necessary only for weed control and should be done as shallow as possible to avoid damage to the root system. An area approximately two feet from the plant should be maintained in a weed-free condition. Mulches may be used to control weeds and conserve moisture.

Eggplant

Fertilization: 

Apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Harvest 16 to 24 weeks after sowing when the skin of the fruit is shiny and unwrinkled.
  • Cut the fruit close to the stem, but leaving about an inch of it attached.
  • Eggplants can be stored for up to two weeks in humid conditions no lower than 50 degrees F.​

Irrigation:

Once planted, water the eggplant regularly to keep the soil evenly moist to a depth of about 3 inches. Water early in the morning to allow plants to dry quickly and reduce the opportunity for disease infection. Water at least one inch per week.

Planting:

  • ​​Eggplants are planted between March and July and can be harvested through December . 
  • Start plants indoors 2 months before the soil warms up or buy nursery transplants just before planting.
  • Place 3 to 4 inch tall seedlings 24 to 30 inches apart in well-prepared beds.
  • ​Pinch out the terminal growing points for a bushier plant.
  • Stake plants over 24 inches tall.
  • ​For bigger fruits, restrict to five or six per plant.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, spider mites, tomato hornworms. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide.


Most leaf-spotting diseases, some of which are called mildews, can be controlled by weekly spraying or dusting with one of the approved fungicides. Downy and powdery mildew are most often encountered on some varieties. 

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Keep weeds pulled or hoed a foot or more from each plant.

Carrots

Fertilization: 

Fertilize 5-6 weeks after sowing. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. Feed seedlings and transplants one week to 10 days after planting. Single plants: Sprinkle 1/3 cup per plant. Rows: Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup each side per 5 ft. of row or 10 lbs. each side per 100 ft. of row.

Harvest/Storage:

  • ​Carrots are mature at around 2 ½ months and ½ inch in diameter. You may harvest whenever desired maturity is reached.

  • ​To store freshly harvested carrots, twist off the tops, scrub off the dirt under cold running water, let dry and seal in airtight plastic bags, and refrigerate. If you simply put fresh carrots in the refrigerator, they'll go limp in a few hours.

Irrigation:

​​​Once planted, water the carrots regularly to keep the soil evenly moist to a depth of about 3 inches. Water early in the morning to allow plants to dry quickly and reduce the opportunity for disease infection. Water at least one inch per week.

Planting:

  • Carrots are planted February through March, and October through November.
  • ​​Plan to plant seeds outdoors 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date.
  • Make sure your soil is free of stones; carrots need deeply tilled soil that they can push through.
  • Plant seeds 3-4 inches apart in rows. Rows should be at least a foot apart.

Pruning:

​​Once plants are an inch tall, thin so they stand 3 inches apart. Snip them with scissors instead of pulling them out to prevent damage to the roots of remaining plants.

Pests & Diseases:

​​Aster Yellow Disease will cause shortened and discolored carrot tops and hairy roots. This disease is spread by pests as they feed from plant to plant. Keep weeds down and invest in a control plan for pests such as leafhoppers. This disease has the ability to overwinter. Watch out for worms and beetles as well, application of an organic insecticide may be necessary.

Weed Management:

Weed diligently, you do not want to damage the roots. The best method of control is mulching.

Pumpkin

Fertilization: 

Fertilize on a regular basis. Use a high nitrogen formula in early plant growth. Fertilize when plants are about one foot tall, just before vines begin to run. Switch over to a fertilizer high in phosphorous just before the blooming period.  A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. 

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Your best bet is to harvest pumpkins when they are mature. They will keep best this way. Do not pick pumpkins off the vine because they have reached your desired size. If you want small pumpkins, buy a small variety.
  • A pumpkin is ripening when its skin turns a deep, solid color (orange for most varieties).
  • When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin's skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe.
  • To harvest the pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or pruners; do not tear. Be sure not to cut too close to the pumpkin; a liberal amount of stem (3 to 4 inches) will increase the pumpkin's keeping time.
  • Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then stored in a cool, dry bedroom or cellar—anywhere around 55ºF.

Irrigation:

Pumpkins are very thirsty plants and need lots of water. Water one inch per week. Water deeply, especially during fruit set. When watering: Try to keep foliage and fruit dry unless it’s a sunny day. Dampness will make rot more likely.

Planting:

  • Pumpkins can be planted from March through July, and harvested till the end of the year.
  • ​Pumpkins do best when the seeds are directly planted in the ground.
  • The soil must be thoroughly warmed. Minimum soil temperature for germination is 70ºF. Optimum soil temperature is 95ºF. Pumpkins are very sensitive to the cold.
  • ​​Pick a site with full sun (to light shade).
  • ​Select a site with lots of space for the sprawling vines. Vine varieties need 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
  • ​You plant seeds in rows or "pumpkin hills" which are the size of small pitcher mounds. With hills, the soil will warm more quickly and the seeds will germinate faster. This also helps with drainage and pest control.
  • ​Plant the seeds 1 inch deep into the hills (4 to 5 seeds per hill). Space hills 4 to 8 feet apart.
  • ​When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill by snipping off unwanted plants without disturbing the roots of the remaining ones.
  • In rows, sow seeds 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 6 to 10 feet apart. Snip off plants to thin to one plant every 18 to 36 inches.
  • If you get a lot of vines and flowers but no pumpkins, you need more bees in your garden to pollinate the flowers. Grow some colorful flowers next to your pumpkin patch this year and you may get more bees and butterflies!
  • As the fruit develops, they should be turned (with great care not to hurt the vine or stem) to encourage an even shape.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles.  If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide. Bees are essential for pollination, so be mindful when using insecticides to kill pests. If you must use, apply only in late afternoon or early evening when blossoms are closed for the day.


Pumpkins can suffer from downy mildew and anthracnose. Use an approved fungicide to rid and prevent fungal diseases on your crop. 

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Remember that pumpkins are tender from planting to harvest. Control weeds with mulch. Do not overcultivate, or their very shallow roots may be damaged.

Peppers

Fertilization: 

Fertilize after the first fruit set. Too much nitrogen will reduce fruit from setting.  A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. 

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size.
  • The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the more sweet they become and the greater their Vitamin C content.
  • Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.
  • Peppers can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to 10 days after harvesting.
  • If you missed your peas' peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.

Irrigation:

Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary.

Planting:

  • Peppers can be planted from March through June, and harvested till the end of the year.
  • ​The temperature must be at least 70 degrees F for seed germination, so keep them in a warm area for the best and fastest results.
  • ​Start pepper seeds three to a pot, and thin out the weakest seedling. Let the remaining two pepper plants spend their entire lives together as one plant. The leaves of two plants help protect peppers against sunscald, and the yield is often twice as good as two segregated plants.
  • ​After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors, 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to touching.)
  • If necessary, support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending. Try commercially available cone-shaped wire tomato cages. They may not be ideal for tomatoes, but they are just the thing for peppers.
  • ​​​For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, and flea beetles. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide.


Peppers can suffer from blossom end rot which is a calcium deficiency, and can be easily treated. Also be on the lookout for mosaic virus. 

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Weed carefully around plants.

Peas

Fertilization: 

Use a fertilizer which is low nitrogen/high poatassium and phosphorus formula. Be sure, too, that you don't fertilize the soil too much. Peas are especially sensitive to too much nitrogen, but they may like a little bonemeal, for the phosphorus content. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. 

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.
  • Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then.
  • Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.
  • Peas can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Place in paper bags, then wrap in plastic.
  • If you missed your peas' peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.

Irrigation:

Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced.

Planting:

  • Peas can be planted from February to June, and harvested up till the end of the year.
  • Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F.
  • ​​Plant 1 inch deep (deeper if soil is dry) and 2 inches apart.
  • Get them in the ground while the soil is still cool but do not have them sit too long in wet soil. It's a delicate balance of proper timing and weather conditions. For soil that stays wet longer, invest in raised beds.
  • ​Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, and mexican bean beetles. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide.


Most leaf-spotting diseases, some of which are called mildews, can be controlled by weekly spraying or dusting with one of the approved fungicides. Fusarium wilt is a common fungal disease of Peas. 


It's best to rotate pea crops every year or two to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Do not hoe around plants to avoid disturbing fragile roots.

Okra

Fertilization: 

A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. 

Harvest/Storage: 

  • The first harvest will be ready about 2 months after planting.
  • Harvest the okra when its about 2 to 3 inches long. Harvest it every other day.
  • Cut the stem just above the cap with a knife; if the stem is too hard to cut, the pod is probably too old and should be tossed.
  • To store okra, put the uncut and uncooked pods into freezer bags and keep them in the freezer. You can then prepare the okra any way you like throughout the winter months.​

Irrigation:

Keep the plants well watered throughout the summer months; 1 inch of water per week is ideal, but use more if you are in a hot, arid region.

Planting:

  • Okra can start being planted in March and grown throughout the summer as it is a warm season crop. 
  • Plant okra in fertile, well-drained soil in full light about 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart. You can soak the seeds overnight in tepid water to help speed up germination.
  • ​​If you are planting okra transplants, be sure to space them 1 to 2 feet apart to give them ample room to grow.
  • Okra plants are tall, so be sure to space out the rows 3 to 4 feet apart.
  • ​After the first harvest, remove the lower leaves to help speed up production.

Pruning:

  • When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin the plants so that they are 10 to 18 inches apart.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, corn earworms, and stinkbugs. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide. Wait until after 10 A.M. to spray so that bees are not killed.


Most leaf-spotting diseases, some of which are called mildews, can be controlled by weekly spraying or dusting with one of the approved fungicides. Fusarium wilt is a common fungal disease of Okra. 

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Eliminate weeds when the plants are young, then mulch heavily to prevent more weeds from growing. Apply a layer of mulch 4 to 8 inches high.

Cucumbers

Fertilization: 

Use a fertilizer which is low nitrogen/high poatassium and phosphorus formula and apply at planting, 1 week after bloom, and every 3 weeks with liquid food, applying directly to the soil around the plants. Or, you can work a granular fertilizer into the soil. Do not overfertilize or the fruits will get stunted. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Harvest regular slicing cucumbers when they about 6 to 8 inches long.
  • Harvest dills at 4 to 6 inches long and pickles at 2 inches long for pickles. The large burpless cucumbers can be up to 10 inches long and some types are even larger.
  • Cucumbers are best picked before they seeds become hard and are eaten when immature. Do not let them get yellow. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm and crisp.
  • Any cucumbers left on the vine too long will also get tough skins and lower plant productivity.
  • At peak harvesting time, you should be picking cucumbers every couple of days.
  • Keep them picked. If you don’t, as plants mature, they will stop producing.
  • They will keep for a week to 10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.

Irrigation:

​When seedlings emerge, begin to water frequently, and increase to a gallon per week after fruit forms. Water consistently; put your finger in the soil and when it is dry past the first joint of your finger, it is time to water. Inconsistent watering leads to bitter-tasting fruit. Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoiding the leaves.

Planting:

  • ​​Cucumbers are planted between February and March, and September and October. 
  • Cucumbers are seeded or transplanted outside in the ground no earlier than 2 weeks after last frost date. Cucumbers are extremely susceptible to frost damage; the soil must be at least 65ºF for germination. Do not plant outside too soon!
  • ​​For an early crop, start cucumber seeds indoors about 3 weeks before you transplant them in the ground. They like bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC). If you don’t have a heat mat, put the seeds flat on top of the refrigerator or perch a few on top of the water heater.
  • ​Sow seeds in rows, 1 inch deep and 6 to 10 inches apart.
  • ​If you are transplanting seedlings, plant them 12 inches apart.
  • ​A trellis might be a good idea if you want the vine to climb, or if you have limited space. Trellising also protects the fruit from damage from lying on the moist ground.

Pruning:

  • When seedlings reach 4 inches tall, thin plants so that  they are 1½ feet apart.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, leaf miners, beetles, and fruit worms. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide. Wait until after 10 A.M. to spray so that bees are not killed.


Most leaf-spotting diseases, some of which are called mildews, can be controlled by weekly spraying or dusting with one of the approved fungicides. Downy and powdery mildew are most often encountered on some varieties. Fruit rot and diseases are best prevented by mulching to keep the fruits off the ground.

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Keep weeds pulled or hoed a foot or more from each plant.

Tomatoes

Fertilization: 

Fertilize two weeks prior to first picking and again two weeks after first picking. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. 

Harvest/Storage:

  • ​​​Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. If any fall off before they appear ripe, place them in a paper bag with the stem up and store them in a cool, dark place.
  • ​Never place tomatoes on a sunny windowsill to ripen; they may rot before they are ripe!
  • ​The perfect tomato for picking will be firm and very red in color, regardless of size, with perhaps some yellow remaining around the stem. A ripe tomato will be only slightly soft.
  • ​​Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes. Doing so spoils the flavor and texture that make up that garden tomato taste.

Irrigation:

​Water generously for the first few days. Water well throughout growing season, about 2 inches per week during the summer. Keep watering consistent!​

Planting:

  • Tomatoes are planted in March and September, and are harvested June through August, and December.
  • Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. For souther regions, light afternoon shade will help tomatoes survive and thrive.
  • Establish stakes or cages in the soil at the time of planting. Staking keeps developing fruit off the ground, while caging let’s the plant hold itself upright. Some sort of support system is recommended, but sprawling can also produce fine crops if you have the space, and if the weather cooperates.
  • Plant seedlings two feet apart.

Pests & Diseases:

​​Some of the serious tomato pests are whiteflys, hornworms, fruitworms, aphids, leafminers, pinworms, stinkbugs, loopers, cutworms and mole crickets. Worm damage appears as chewed out areas or holes in leaves, stems or fruit. Aphids suck juices from young tender leaves and carry plant diseases. Swarms of tiny whiteflies may be seen on and around plants. They cause plant yellowing and poor color development in fruits. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide. 


Tobacco Mosaic Virus creates distorted leaves and causes young growth to be narrow and twisted, and the leaves become mottled with yellow. Unfortunately, infected plants should be destroyed (but don't put them in your compost pile).


If the blossom ends of your tomato turn black and rot, then your tomatoes have blossom-end rot. This condition is caused by uneven soil moisture levels, often wide fluctuations between wet and dry soil. It can also be caused by calcium levels. To correct the problem, water deeply and apply a thick mulch over the soil surface to keep evaporation at a minimum.  Keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not wet and not completely dried out. An application of calcium can also be made to bring deficient levels up to an optimal amount. 


Some of the most serious diseases of tomatoes are early and late blights, leaf spots, wilts, and viruses. Leaf spots can usually be controlled with sprays or dusts. 

Weed Management:

For the home gardener, the best means of controlling weeds is by cultivation. This can be done by hand or with a hoe or cultivator. Mulching also helps to keep weeds down.

Lettuce

Fertilization: 

Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Lettuce prefers soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Use a slow-release fertilizer. A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity. You want it young and tender.
  • Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the center leaves can continue to grow. Butterhead or romaine types can be harvested by removing the outer leaves, digging up the whole plant or cutting the plant about an inch above the soil surface. A second harvest is often possible this way. Crisphead lettuce is picked when the center is firm.
  • Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and it will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday.
  • As time passes, you will want to cut the whole plant from the ground.
  • It’s best to harvest in the morning before leaves have been exposed to sun.
  • Keep lettuce in the refrigerator for up to 10 days in a loose plastic bag.

Irrigation:

​Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.

Planting:

  • Lettuce is planted between November and February before it gets too hot, Lettuce is a cool season crop. 
  • You should be able to sow additional seeds every two weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.
  • Seed may be sown in single rows or broadcast for wide row planting. When broadcasting, you'll need to "thin" for the proper spacing.
  • ​Leaf lettuce: Plant 4 inches apart.
  • Cos and loose-headed types: Plant 8 inches apart.
  • ​Firm-headed types: Plant 16 inches apart.
  • ​Your rows of plants should be 12 to 15 inches across.
  • ​​Cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil.
  • ​Water thoroughly at time of transplant.
  • ​Planning your garden so that lettuce will be in the shade of taller plants, such as tomatoes or sweet corn, in the heat of the summer, may reduce bolting.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, leaf miners, and earwigs. If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide. 


Most leaf-spotting diseases, some of which are called mildews, can be controlled by weekly spraying or dusting with one of the approved fungicides. Downy and powdery mildew are most often encountered on some varieties. 

Weed Management:

Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots: They are shallow.

Squash & Zucchini

Fertilization: 

When the first blooms appear, apply a small amount of fertilizer as a side dress application. After harvest begins, fertilize occasionally for vigorous growth and lots of fruits.  A micro-nutrient rich fertilizer such as Garden Tone by Espoma, or a Fox Farm feeding schedule is recommended.  If using Garden Tone apply monthly throughout the growing season, and make sure to water in. 

Harvest/Storage: 

  • Harvest summer squash when small and tender for best flavor. Most varieties average 60 days to maturity, and are ready as soon as a week after flowering.
  • Check plants everyday for new produce.
  • Cut the gourds off the vine rather than breaking them off.
  • Fresh summer squash can be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days.
  • Harvest winter squash when rind is hard and deep in color, usually late September through October. 
  • Winter squash can be stored in a cool, dark place until needed. They like a temperature of about 50 to 65 degrees F.
  • Freezing Summer squash: Wash it, cut off the ends, and slice or cube the squash. Blanch for three minutes, then immediately immerse in cold water and drain. Pack in freezer containers and freeze.
  • Freezing Winter squash: Cook as you normally would, then mash. Pack in freezer containers.

Irrigation:

For all type of squash, frequent and consistent watering is recommended. Water most diligently when fruits form and throughout their growth period. Water deeply once a week, applying at least one inch of water. Do not water shallowly; the soil needs to be moist 4 inches down.

Planting:

  • Squash and Zucchini can be planted from March through April, and September, and harvested May through June, and December.
  • ​The soil needs to be warm (at least 60º at a two-inch depth) so we plant summer squash after our spring crops of peas, lettuce, and spinach—about one week after the last spring frost to midsummer.
  • In fact, waiting to plant a few seeds in midsummer will help avoid problems from vine borers and other pests and diseases common earlier in the season.
  • ​​The outside planting site needs to receive full sun; the soil should be moist and well-drained, but not soggy.
  • ​Plant seeds about one-inch deep and 2 to 3 feet apart in a traditional garden bed.
  • Or, you could also plant as a “hill” of 3 or 4 seeds sown close together on a small mound; this is helpful in northern climates as the soil is warmer off the ground. Allow 5 to 6 feet between hills. Most summer squashes now come in bush varieties, which uses less space, but winter squash is a vine plant and needs more space. They will need to be thinned in early stages of development to about 8 to 12 inches apart.

​​Pests & Diseases:

Watch for aphids, squash bugs, squash vine borer, and cucumber beetles.  If the insects become a severe problem, spray or dust with an approved insecticide. 


If the blossom ends of your squash turn black and rot, then your squash have blossom-end rot. This condition is caused by uneven soil moisture levels, often wide fluctuations between wet and dry soil. It can also be caused by calcium levels. To correct the problem, water deeply and apply a thick mulch over the soil surface to keep evaporation at a minimum.  Keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not wet and not completely dried out. An application of calcium can also be made to bring deficient levels up to an optimal amount.

Weed Management:

Weed control is important as weeds compete with crops for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Control weeds with mulch. Do not overcultivate, or their very shallow roots may be damaged.