Growing Spaghetti Squash Guide: From Seed To Harvest

Spaghetti squash is an easy-to-grow cool-weather vegetable, giving you a plentiful harvest after the hot-weather vegetables have finished. Spaghetti squash is packed with nutrients. And unlike other winter squashes, its fibers pull apart after roasted or grilled, giving it its “spaghetti” name. It really is a delicious pasta stand-in, and that alone makes it worth your while to find space in your garden and grow spaghetti squash. 

What Is Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash is a member of the winter squashes that are native to Central America. Other winter squash family members include acorn, butternut, and pumpkin. They take quite a while to grow to maturity, and you won’t be harvesting spaghetti squash until well into the fall. This is because winter squash is harvested when the fruit is completely grown, and the rind hardens, as opposed to the soft rinds and early harvest period of zucchini and yellow summer squash. However, what sets spaghetti squash apart is that its flesh doesn’t cook down into a smooth, creamy texture. Instead, it becomes stringy. 

When To Plant Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Spaghetti squash growing season can be very long and, on average, require 100 days to reach maturity. When to plant your seeds will heavily depend on your growing zone.

If you live in a northern zone, you have a short growing season between frost dates, and you’ll need to start growing spaghetti squash seeds indoors about four weeks before your last frost date. Use nutrient-rich soil in peat pots, always keep the soil moist, and ensure that your seeds have at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. You may need to use a heat leap for this! And we’re serious about the peat pots - squash seedlings don’t handle transplanting well! 

If your growing season is longer than 100 days between frosts, don’t hassle with starting seeds indoors and peat pot transplants. Just sow your seeds outside!

spaghetti squash

How To Plant Spaghetti Squash Outdoors

Whether you direct sow or start seeds inside, spaghetti squash growing takes up a lot of space. You have to be mindful of how, when, and where to grow spaghetti squash in your vegetable garden. There are multiple ways to do this. 

Mount Planting 

Mount planting is great if you have poorly draining soil. You’ll mix garden soil and compost to a mound about 3 to 6 feet wide and 8 to 10 inches high. Plant 3 or 4 spaghetti squash (seedlings or seeds) on the top of the mound, spaced a few inches apart. Keep the mound mulched with straw or grass clippings to discourage weeds, keep soil moisture, and keep young squash fruit off of the soil.

Ground Planting

Ground planting works if your soil drains well and you have plenty of garden space. Spaghetti squash vines can reach 8 feet or more in length! Use your finger to make planting holes 3 to 4 feet apart, and drop 2 seeds into each hole. Once they sprout, thin out the weaker seedlings—mulch in a 6-foot diameter from the planting holes. 

Planting in Squash Rounds

Growing spaghetti squash in rounds is great for gardeners that don’t have lots of garden space to allocate to squash plants. You’ll use chicken wire fencing to build cylinders 3 to 5 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter. You’ll prep your cylinders in the fall by filling them with dead leaves, manure, grass clippings, and compost. The organic matter will break down over the winter. Then in the spring, plant 3 or 4 seeds. The vines will grow up and out of the cylinder and start trailing down the sides. 

Caring Guide For Your Spaghetti Squash plant

Now that you’ve got baby spaghetti squash plants growing in your garden, how do you help them thrive until you harvest spaghetti squash?

Fertilizing 

Fertilizing your soil is necessary for plant growth because spaghetti squash plants are large and leggy. They need a lot of nutrition. Add compost to your soil prior to planting, if possible. Use a granular fertilizer when the plants are 6 inches tall and then again when flowers appear. You’ll need a fertilizer with little to no nitrogen and a higher amount of phosphorus. 

Watering

Watering your spaghetti squash plants is essential but tricky. You need to be mindful to avoid blossom rot. The soil needs to stay moist, so using thick layers of mulch will help trap that moisture. If you need to water between rains, try to water the root zone directly and keep the leaves dry. Each spaghetti squash plant needs 5 to 10 gallons of water at each watering once the vine has started growing. 

Blossoms 

Blossoms should be removed until the seedling has matured into a vine. At that point, you can increase your yield by hand-fertilizing the blossoms. The stipels of male and female flowers are different, so by removing the male flowers and using them to pollinate the remaining male flowers, you’ll grow more squash. Once a squash develops, make sure there is a good amount of mulch under them, or move them carefully every couple of days. This keeps the squash from rotting from contact with the moist soil.

Harvesting Spaghetti Squash

It can be tough to tell when to harvest spaghetti squashes. As opposed to summer squash, winter squash will not continue to ripen once it’s been cut, so you need to harvest when they are fully ripe. The skin of your spaghetti squash will be a good clue - it should be hard, unable to be dented by your fingernail. If it’s been 100 days since planting spaghetti squash seed and the rind is firm, you’re probably good to go! Make sure you bring in your harvest before the first frost and leave 1 or 2 inches of the stem intact. 

To store your harvest, place them at room temperature and in a cool and dry location. They can stay good for up to 3 months. Once you have cut the squash open, it is best to store it in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

You might also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>