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Do I thin squash or not?

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Do I thin squash or not?

I just planted several varieties of squash, some bush-style (zucchini) and some vine-style (spaghetti squash, potimarron). Looking around the internets, the advice is almost universally to plant three seeds in one mound of compost or whatever you're growing them in. What's unclear and inconsistent, though, is whether you should then thin them out so you only keep the one best seedling of the trio, or leave all three in place.

My instinct is to thin the bush-style squashes, but not the vine-style ones. Does anyone have any more knowledgeable advice?

Crops mentioned in this post

squash
Curcurbita

3 comments

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Posted by MsKat on September 15, 2013 at 08:06 and edited at May 18, 2019 at 09:25

As someone who's grown squash, zucchini and pumpkin over the last couple of years, I can only offer the advice that last year two squash plants provided us with about 200% more squash than we could really use (I can point you at some novel recipes later on if you need them), but we only got one butternut pumpkin on our whole vine. And the zucchini were similar to the squash.

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Posted by Skud on September 15, 2013 at 08:31

I keep hearing about this alleged overabundance of squash and zucchini but I've never experienced it. We have to buy zucchini in summer. And that was with my attempts at hand-pollination. This is the first year we've been able to plant outside of containers, though, so who knows. (Two years ago we even grew butternuts in a large tub, and got 3 smallish ones off a vine, which I guess was not too bad.) But if we get a glut, we'll deal, I promise, and I promise not to complain about it either. Let's not factor in "glut" as a potential problem; I just want to know what's best for the growth and productivity of the plants.

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Posted by MsKat on September 16, 2013 at 01:36

Well, our squash plants last year (they were pattypan*, so larger than your standard button squash) took up an area of about 2x2m. I'd suggest allowing at least 1m clearance in all directions for each plant. See here for a pic of our squash at their height: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100926959@N04/9766714002/ and here for an example of a week's harvest: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100926959@N04/9766718381

  • Let's not mention that the seeds that these plants came from were supposed to be button squash.