Growing Squash, Pumpkins, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, and Zucchini

When the weather is warm and settled, choose a planting location in full sun with rich, fertile soil and good drainage. To reduce soil-borne diseases, plant Squash, Pumpkins, Watermelon, and Cantaloupe where you haven't grown them in the past 3 years.

Continuing Care

If rain is scarce, water your plants deeply and regularly (weekly, or more often in hot, dry weather).

Mulch plants to keep them evenly moist and weed free. Side-dress with compost or 5-10-10 fertilizer when the plants are about 6in tall and again when they start to bloom.

As fruits begin to form on the plants, thin them to two fruits per vine.

Harvesting

Harvest the fruit of Summer Squash and Zucchini while they are still small (6-8" long) and tender by cutting, not pulling, the fruit from your plants. Harvest Winter Squash before the first frost, also by cutting, leaving a couple inches of the stem attached. Then cure its fruit in a warm, well-ventilated location for 7-14 days before storing.

Harvest Cantaloupe when fruit breaks away easily from the vine.

Harvest Watermelon when the tendrils on the stem near the melon are brown and dry. 

Harvest Pumpkins before frost, when at least half of the fruit has good orange color. Leave 4-5" of stem attached.

Store Winter Squash and Pumpkins at 50-70°F out of direct sun.

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