Wondering what companion plants to grow with squash? That is a good thing, as it is important to ensure that the vegetables, herbs, fruits, or flowers planted nearby will help squash thrive and not hurt it.
Companion planting can help ward off garden pests and plant diseases. It can also provide shade, keep weeds down, add nutrients to the soil, and more.
There are different types of squash varieties. Summer varieties of squash such as zucchini, pattypan, and yellow squash are popular ones that many people like to plant.
Then there are winter varieties of squash such as butternut, acorn, buttercup, and spaghetti. Each of them has its own unique qualities and taste, but they all have similar growing needs.
Good Companion Plants for Squash
Here are some plants that grow well with squash:
Corn, squash, and beans (three sisters) work really well when planted together . The corn allows beans to climb their stalks.
Additionally, beans pull nitrogen out of the air and put it into the soil, making them a good companion for squash and corn. Squash then provides shade and deters rodents and other pests with its prickly leaves.
Radishes can also be helpful. Believe it or not, like tansy, they will deter squash bugs, which can do damage to your crop if not properly managed.
Flowers such as marigolds and nasturtiums are also great neighbors for butternut and yellow squash. They are helpful because they repel pests such as aphids, beetles, and squash bugs.
Additionally, sunflowers provide shade for zucchinis and squashes and make great trellises for other climbing plants like beans.
In addition to vegetables and flowers, some herbs are beneficial and helpful too. These include:
- Lemon balm
Although these herbs are beneficial for squash vegetables, it is important to understand that not all herbs should be planted together . When you plant some of these too close together, they may taste different or stunt each other’s growth.
What Not to Grow with Squash
While some companion crops can be beneficial, others can hinder good production.
It is also important to mention that gardens should be rotated every year. Wherever you plant this year, be sure to plant it somewhere different next year.
Here is a small list of bad companions for squash:
Potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables are adversaries to squash, 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 result 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 their growth.
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 seedlings or seeds purchased online or at your local gardening shop. Both will do well if planted properly.
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.
Plant 4 to 6 inches in mounds and space mounds 3 to 4 feet apart. Also, mulch the plants lightly, as this reduces weeds and maintains moisture. Both summer and winter varieties are warm-weather crops.
2. Care and Maintenance
No matter what type you put in the ground, these plants need lots of room to grow. Also, be prepared for these vines to grow up and over your fence or onto other plants.
Alternatively, redirect them if you are worried about them taking over. Planting them on an outside row in your garden may be best.
Squash plants require 1 to 2 inches of water per week, but try not to water the leaves. These veining vegetables also like to be in full sun, and having fertile soil with good drainage will be most beneficial.
Furthermore, guano, compost, and aged manure are good organic fertilizers for them.
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 plant diseases or bugs that might destroy your plants.
Pests such as squash vine borers, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles can lay their eggs and infest your plants. If you see any of these critters, drop them in soapy water to suffocate and kill them.
Also, look out for downy mildew, bacterial wilt, mosaic virus, and powdery mildew. Next, figure out how to treat these plant diseases. You may also need to fertilize the soil to improve its quality and help the diseases go away.
4. Harvesting and Storage
The harvesting time is normally written on the seed packets. However, you will know when your summer squash are ready when they are fully grown.
Typically, you can harvest yellow squash, zucchini, and crookneck squash when they are about 6 to 8 inches in length. It is also best to harvest them when they are young.
In addition to the fruit, you can eat the yellow squash flowers. Harvest winter squash when the outside of the fruit cannot be easily penetrated with a fingernail.
If you have an abundance of summer varieties, you can either make them into pickles or freeze them after blanching for 3 minutes and cooling in ice water. Winter varieties can be stored in a basement or other cool areas 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.