Branch out from only growing zucchini! Growing summer squash is an easy and productive way to incorporate a variety of shapes, colors and sizes into your vegetable garden as well as your kitchen. Choose from the types of summer squash detailed here, including pattypan, tromboncino and yellow squash varieties, to fit your space and tastes.
Fast and easy to grow in a wide range of climates and soils, the many types of summer squash are among the most productive vegetables in the summer garden.
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Types of Summer Squash to Try
Most summer squash are classified as Cucurbita pepo and vary more in appearance than taste. They come in a range of sizes, shapes and colors, so make plantings of several types to add variety to your table.
Yellow squash are buttery yellow and elongated, and some have crooked necks. Overripe fruits turn into warted gourds.
Zucchini squash produce large crops of club-shaped fruits with skins in varying shades of green. Some zucchini squash varieties are striped or even bright yellow.
Pattypan squash are an old type of summer squash that produce fruits shaped like plump flying saucers with scalloped edges. Varieties range from dark green to bright yellow to white.
Round and oval squash produce single-serving-sized fruits on compact, bushy plants suitable for large containers or intensive raised beds.
Tromboncino and zucchetta squash (C. moschata) produce large, curvaceous fruits with light green skins. Naturally resistant to insect pests, these rowdy, vining plants grow best on a trellis.
For more information about types of summer squash and our recommended varieties, see our Summer Squash at a Glance chart.
When to Plant Summer Squash
Sow summer squash seeds in prepared beds or hills in spring after all danger of frost has passed. You can also sow seeds indoors under fluorescent lights and then set out the seedlings when they’re 3 weeks old. In Zone 5 and warmer, you can sidestep early-season squash bugs by delaying the planting of seedlings until early summer. Stop planting summer squash 12 weeks before your average first fall frost date.
How to Plant Summer Squash
Choose a sunny site with fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 for growing summer squash. Spots that were previously occupied by compost piles are especially desirable, or you can dig two heaping spadefuls of compost into each planting site. As you dig, loosen the soil to at least 12 inches deep and mix in a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer.