Like most plants, squash is picky about who its companions are. In fact, good and bad neighbors can affect its growth and production.
Companion planting can help ward off pests and diseases and boost plant growth .
When planting, it is important to make sure that the vegetables, herbs, or ornamentals planted nearby will help it thrive and not hurt it.
Good Companion Plants for Squash
There are many different varieties and types of squash. Zucchini and summer varieties are usually popular ones that many people like to plant.
Then there is the winter type such as butternut, acorn, and spaghetti. Each of them has their own unique qualities and taste, but all have similar growing needs.
Here are some plants that grow well with squash:
Corn and beans work really well when planted together. The corn allows beans to climb their stalk, while beans pull nitrogen out of the air and put it into the soil. This benefits other plants.
In addition, when companion planting squash and corn, it is beneficial because they require the same type of fertilized soil, so they make great neighbors.
Radishes can also be helpful. Believe it or not, like tansy, they will deter squash bugs, which can do a number of damage on your crop if not properly managed.
Flowers such as marigolds, sunflowers, and nasturtiums are also great neighbors for yellow squash and butternut. They are helpful because they are considered “trap crops” which appeal to bugs that would otherwise eat squash plants.
In addition to vegetables and flowers, some herbs are beneficial and helpful. These include oregano, peppermint, dill, lemon balm, parsley, and borage.
Although these herbs are beneficial, it is important to understand that not all should be planted together. When some are planted too close to one another, they can change the taste.
What Not to Grow with Squash?
While some neighbors can be beneficial to your plants, others can be detrimental to their production.
It is also important to mention that gardens should be rotated every year. Where you plant this year, be sure to plant it somewhere different next year.
Here is a small list of bad companions for squash:
- Other root vegetables
Potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables are adversaries to squashes, so you should avoid putting them close. These, as well as pumpkins, are heavy-feeding vegetables, so they do not work well together.
Squash varieties are also heavy feeders. If planted near each other, these plants will compete for water and soil nutrients.
The results will be that your crops will not grow as well as expected. Root vegetables can also affect them in that their underground roots will inhibit the growth of it.
How to Grow
These are some of the easiest plants to grow. They usually do very well and can give you a ton of fruits, as long as they are happy and get what they need.
You can either start them from seed or seedlings purchased at your local gardening shop. Both will do well.
If you do decide to start them from seed, you can either start them indoors or plant them once the danger of frost has passed. Depending on your region, this may be at different times throughout the year.
If planting summer and winter varieties at the same time, you can expect summer to come first. Winter type will come later, but you can also store it for longer periods before consuming.
2. Care and Maintenance
No matter what type you are putting in the ground, they should typically be 3-6 feet apart. These plants need lots of room to grow.
Zucchini and summer variety will not grow as vines, but most winter squash will. Be prepared for these vines to grow up and over your fence or into other plants.
They can be redirected if you are worried about them taking over. Planting them on an outside row in your garden may be best.
This vegetable loves plenty of water, but try not to water the leaves. They also like to be in full sun and having soil with good drainage will be most beneficial.
3. Pests and Diseases
When taking care of your plants, be sure to note the color of your leaves and any pests you might see. It is important to take care of any diseases or bugs that might destroy your plants.
Bugs such as borers, squash bug, and cucumber beetles can lay their eggs and take over your leaves. They also will eat fruit as it is growing.
If you see any of these bugs, you can squish them or drop them into soapy water, which will kill them.
As far as diseases go, if your plant leaves are discolored or splotchy, you will want to look more into that and figure out how to treat it.
You may also need to fertilize the soil to change its makeup and help the diseases go away.
4. Harvesting and Storage
You will know when your summer squashes are ready when they are fully grown. Typically, they can be harvested when they are about 6-8 inches in length.
In addition to the fruit, the yellow squash flowers can also be eaten. You can harvest winter type when the outside of the fruit cannot be easily penetrated with a fingernail.
If you have an abundance of summer variety, you can either make them into pickles or slice them after cooking and put in the freezer.
Winter can be stored in a basement or other cool area of your home.
Squashes are the ultimate crop to cultivate as they grow well with many other plants. Not to mention, they are also healthy and your whole family will love to grow and harvest them.