CUCUMBERS AND SQUASH
Cucumbers and squash are such productive vegetables that only a few plants will provide an abundant harvest. Experiment with unique selections that are rarely seen in stores. For example, long slender Oriental cucumbers or petite pickling cucumbers are simple to grow, as are brightly colored summer squash and zucchini. These are also fast growing crops that start producing only six weeks after planting seed.
Acorn, butternut, and other types of winter squash take longer to grow since they are not picked until the seeds inside are mature. However, butternut in particular often escape damage from insect pests that bother other types of squash. Best of all, winter squash will keep for weeks and even months at normal room temperature.
Before planting seeds, wait until the ground is warm—usually two weeks after the last frost. Plant 3 seeds per hill. If all the seeds sprout, thin to 2 plants per hill.
FERTILIZING CUCUMBERS AND SQUASH
Both of these crops are very easy to fertilize. You can plant them in rows, but many gardeners prefer to form a slight “hill” in which to plant. This is done by enriching a 24-inch diameter planting area with a 1-inch deep layer of compost or other organic matter to mound the soil slightly. Each hill will accommodate 2 plants.
Before planting seeds or setting out transplants, work a Vegetable Food containing timed-release fertilizer into each row or hill. Because cucumbers and squash mature quickly, this application should meet the needs of the plants until they finish bearing.
With buttercup winter squash and other types that mature slowly on large, vigorous vines, fertilize the plants again about 10 weeks after planting, especially if you have porous, sandy soil.
WATER: Well drained Keep moist; water just before the soil becomes dry
HARDINESS: See the table below
|Sow seeds 4 inches apart; thin to 12 inches apart in rows, or 2 plants per hill||Cannot tolerate frost; a warm weather vegetable||Sow cucumbers twice, at least 3 weeks apart, to prolong the harvest season.|
|Sow seeds 4 inches apart; thin to 12 inches apart in rows, or 2 plants per hill||Cannot tolerate frost; a warm weather vegetable||Limit plantings to 6 plants or less; too much squash is a burden rather than a joy.|