Colorful, fresh, and easy to cut! Summer squash is a key ingredient in any summer dish. Summer squashes are only in season during the summer, and can come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Unlike their winter cousins, summer squashes have soft, thin skin with varying degrees of light to dense flesh. They can be eaten either raw or cooked, and can have slight differences in their flavor depending on the variety. Here’s more information about these 8 varieties shown in the picture!
Summer squashes are beautiful both on the outside and inside! This nutritional power-packed veggie is a great source in vitamin C (an antioxidant), riboflavin, fiber, and potassium (protects against hypertension). It is also rich in the carotenoids beta carotene (an antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A) and lutein (antioxidant). Antioxidants boost our immune system and protect our body from the free radicals that damage our cells, thus lowering the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Planting Summer Squash in Your Garden
- When to Plant: Plant anytime after the danger of frost has passed, from early spring until midsummer.
- Soil: Summer squash grow best in fertile, well-drained soil containing high amounts of organic matter in areas of full sun. Organic matter can be added by incorporating compost into the soil as well as decomposed manure.
- Spacing & Depth: Squash can be sown directly into the garden or started indoors. Summer squash is commonly planted in hills about 1 inch deep. Sow seeds only after any danger of frost has ended and the soil has warmed. Usually, only 4 to 5 seeds per hill is plenty, thinning down to 2 or 3 plants per hill once the seedlings have developed their true leaves. Hills and rows of summer squash should be approximately 3 to 4 feet apart.
- Harvesting: They should be harvested when small and tender for best quality. Most elongated varieties are picked when they are 2 inches or less in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long.
Here is a website with 45+ recipes featuring Summer Squash for some inspiration!
My personal favorite and recommendation is the Marinated Summer Squash with Hazelnuts and Ricotta.
Written by Nathalia Frenhani Burini, Landscape Designer