Squash - outdoor cultivation
Squash belongs to the pumpkin family. In terms of taste, the external texture of the fruit - pumpkin squash is very close to zucchini, but unlike them, they are absent in nature in the wild. This vegetable is the result of natural hybridization. As a result of lengthy selections during cultivation, the squash adapted well to fruiting in different climatic zones. In fact, squash differs from zucchini in the external form and color of the bark, more dense flesh. Other qualities of vegetable culture and cooking methods are almost the same as zucchini. In this material you can get acquainted in sufficient detail with the methods of growing and caring for squash, their useful properties, and the best varieties.
What is it, squash?
Patisson is an annual vegetable crop, represented by shrub or semi-shrub forms. The structure of leaves, stems and single large flowers repeats zucchini. External differences begin with the fruit formation phase. The fruits of squash are pumpkins, round (plate-shaped) or star-shaped (flower-shaped), slightly flattened, with smooth or wavy edges, a wide range of colors:
- light yellow;
- bright yellow, sunny;
- dark green
- variegated (in this case, multi-colored).
In size, ripe squash pumpkins reach 30 cm in diameter, but the highest taste in green fruits with a diameter of 10-12 cm.
Place squash in the cultural revolution
Like other pumpkin pumpkins, squash in a cultural revolution return to their original place after 4-5 years. The best predecessors are cruciferous (different types of cabbage), nightshade, including potatoes. You can not plant seedlings and sow squash after related crops.
For squash, neutral soils with pH = 6-7 units are needed. If in previous years the soil was fertilized for a long time only with mineral tuks, it is quite possible that the soil was acidified. The soil can be deoxidated in the fall by gilding or sowing green manure under winter. The rate of application of wood ash is 0.2-0.3 kg / sq. m square. If peat ash is used for deoxidation, the rate is increased by 1.5-2.0 times. For winter sowing of green manure, use a vetch-oat mixture, mustard with legumes, vetch, etc.
Be careful! In the autumn deoxidation of soil with ash, do not mix it with fertilizer. Entering chemical reactions with fertilizers, ash will translate some of them into forms inaccessible to plants. In such cases, fertilizers are applied in the spring directly under the planting of squash.
It is more practical to make hummocks or mature compost from autumn under digging for digging squash (they will reduce low acidity and serve as fertilizer). The introduction of mineral fertilizers is better to transfer to the spring and supplemented with spring-summer fertilizing.
Preparation of squash seeds
To get friendly shoots of squash, it is better to purchase seed material in a store or in trading companies licensed to sell seeds.
With independent harvesting of squash seeds, they must be prepared for sowing:
- Disinfect for 15-20 minutes in a solution of potassium permanganate. Rinse and dry.
- After 2-3 days, to increase germination, treat the seeds in a solution of boric acid (20 mg / 1 liter of oxen). To withstand - a day, rinse, dry.
- Soak in water before sowing so that the seeds of the squash are swollen or sticky. You can sow and dry seeds.
Remember! For sowing, only squash seeds of 2 to 3 years ago are used. Seeds must be well dried. Unfinished, raw seeds form male flowers.
Dates of sowing squash in open ground
Squash are heat-loving crops and are planted in open ground in late May - early June, when the threat of spring, return frosts passes and the soil in the root-inhabited 15 cm layer warms up to + 14 ... + 17 ° С.
Table 1. Dates of sowing squash in open ground in the regions of Russia
|South||20-30.04 – 10.05|
|Central Black Earth||10-15.05 – 15.06|
|Midland and Moscow Region||15-20.05 (under cover); 20-30.05 - 5-10.06|
|Far East||From 06/15|
|Siberia and the Urals||Greenhouses|
Sowing dates can be shifted and earlier crops can be obtained if squash is grown:
- through seedlings
- in warm beds
- with lateral warming of beds before sowing.
In these cases, the first harvest of squash can be removed 2-3 weeks earlier than planned.
Warm beds are prepared in the fall, as well as for other crops. Since the soil during the decomposition of organics warms up to the required temperatures much earlier than the necessary air temperatures come, sowing squash or finished seedlings in open ground are placed under temporary shelters (temporary mini-greenhouse).
- Such a mini-greenhouse is systematically ventilated.
- Seedlings or seedlings are moderately watered with warm water with biofungicides dissolved in it.
- Biofungicides are used in order not to destroy the beneficial microflora of the soil and protect the roots of squash from fungal-bacterial infection. You can use planriz, phytosporin-M and others.
- When steady warm weather sets in, temporary shelters are removed.
In the southern and central chernozem regions with frequent spring return frosts, one can take advantage of the recommendations of experienced gardeners on the insulation of open soil beds:
- in wide aisles sowing squash, make furrows up to 20 cm deep and fill with fresh manure or compost;
- to start burning, shed organic matter with a stream of hot water;
- cover with soil.
In organic chemistry, combustion processes will begin with the release of heat, which will warm the garden. Above, you can temporarily install film-coated arcs.
Sowing squash seeds, planting seedlings
Squash seedlings are grown in the same ways and in the same conditions as the squash.
If the soil was sufficiently fertilized in the fall, then before sowing / planting squash in the hole, you can add and mix a teaspoon of ash with the ground. Dry soil needs to be moistened.
Squash seeds or seedlings are sown / planted in an ordinary or square-nesting manner according to the scheme 50x50 cm or 50x70 cm.
The depth of incorporation of squash seeds depends on the type of soil. On light soils, the seeds are buried to 8 cm, on heavy soils, not more than 5-6 cm.
2 seeds are sown in each well, after germination a weak sprout is removed.
Squash seedlings are transplanted or extended from cups by the same pattern, one plant per well. The seedling is buried in the soil to the first leaves. The earth around the plant is slightly compacted.
In order to create comfortable conditions for plants, for the first time shelters are installed, especially with early sowing / planting.
Outdoor squash care
Squash top dressing
Squash is a crop with a short growing season. Therefore, plants are fed 2 times per season. By the way, with a good filling of the site with nutrients during the autumn-spring soil preparation, top dressing can be omitted.
The first feeding of squash is carried out before mass flowering, preferably with organic fertilizers. From manure, bird droppings, solutions are prepared and applied under the plants so as not to get on the leaves. Be sure to mulch the soil after absorbing water. If there are no organic fertilizers, then nitroammophoska, nitrophoska, kemir are applied at the rate of 50-70 g / sq. m
The second feeding of squash is carried out at the beginning of mass fruiting. Phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are introduced at the rate of 50-60 g / sq. m
Feeding with solid fertilizers can be replaced with solutions. 2 tablespoons of fertilizer are dissolved in a bucket of water and introduced under the bushes of squash, and when the rows are closed, the furrows are cut in advance between rows.
Squash can not stand cold water and immediately fall ill. Therefore, only warm water is used for irrigation. Watering is carried out under the root along the furrows. Water must be avoided on the leaves. Watering squash is carried out as the topsoil dries. It must be constantly wet. To maintain moisture in the soil, after watering, mulching is mandatory (before the rows are closed).
Sometimes incorrectly applied fertilizers cause a strong growth of the leaf mass of squash to the detriment of the formation of fruits. On such plants, the oldest lower leaves are removed early in the morning. At one time, no more than 2 leaves are removed and the operation is repeated after 2-3 days. This technique contributes to a greater flow of nutrients to pumpkins.
Squash protection from disease
Squash, like zucchini, are affected by root rot with increased rates of watering, powdery mildew, fusarium, green mosaic. The use of chemicals on squash is not recommended. If the plants are massively ill, they and the soil are treated with biofungicides:
Processing squash is carried out strictly according to the recommendations. In order to prevent mass disease, it is better to treat plants with biofungicides 2-3 times a month from the first month for prevention. Tank mixtures can be used to reduce the load on the bush. Biofungicides are harmless to humans, birds and children, so they are recommended to be used throughout the growing season, until the start of harvesting.
The collection of squash fruits begins when their size reaches 6-10 cm in diameter for conservation and 10-12 cm for cooking stew, caviar, and stuffing. Overripe (with formed seeds) pumpkins are covered with hard skin. The pulp becomes dense and tastes inferior to green fruits.
Useful properties of squash
In terms of chemical composition and useful properties, squash surpass zucchini. Young fruits contain a large amount of carbohydrates, sugars (in the form of glucose), pectin, fats, and mineral salts. Squash is distinguished by the content of a large list of micro and macro elements: molybdenum, titanium, aluminum, lithium, cobalt, phosphorus, potassium, calcium. The composition of useful compounds includes more than 10 types of vitamins, including those from the “B”, “E”, “A”, “PP” groups and others.
The rich chemical composition determines the usefulness of squash for a healthy diet and its impact on human health:
• squash - an excellent dietary product;
• prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, hypertension;
• lutein contained in fruits neutralizes the effects of free radicals, protecting the body from oncology;
• helps to strengthen vision;
• squash juice removes excess salts;
• normalizes intestinal function, etc.
Varieties of squash for growing in the country.
For outdoor cultivation, we recommend the following most popular varieties of squash.
Early varieties and hybrids of squash, forming a pumpkin crop in 40-50 days from seedlings:
- Sunny Bunny F1
- Chartreuse F1 and
- Polo F1.
- Orange UFO.
- Sunny Delight
- Bingo bongo
Middle varieties and hybrids of squash, forming a pumpkin crop after 50-60 days from germination:
- UFO White
- Watermelon F1
- Sun burst F
- Chung chang
- Snow White
Of the late varieties of squash, forming a pumpkin crop for 60-70 days from mass seedlings, the variety Bely 13 is the most popular among gardeners.
Without a doubt, the number of useful properties of squash will attract the attention of gardeners who are indifferent to this desired vegetable.
In your country house, you can grow squash varieties with colorful and very healthy fruits in the garden or in a vegetable flower bed. At the same time, decorate the cottage and grow a healthy vegetable.