prime-time-pick-summer-squash

Prime Time to Pick Summer Squash

The hot days of summer quickly produce fresh, delicious summer squash. The beautiful shades of green, yellow, and white can delight the gardener that has endured the sometimes dreary winter. Soon, it's picking time!

How Long Till Picking Time

The group of squashes called “summer” squash is called this because they are picked during the summer. Although capable of growing to a large size, the summer squashes are picked when the fruit is young and tender. They are picked in as little as 40 days from planting.

Tromboncino Squash

This unique vining squash can be harvested as a summer squash when the length reaches about 1 foot and the color is still green. This will take about 60 days from planting the seed. As it reaches its mature size of 3-4 feet long it turns yellow and the rind hardens. At this point, it becomes a tasty winter squash.

Pattypan Squash

Pattypan (Scallop) squash is harvested when the fruit is 2-3 inches in diameter. The time from the sowing of the seed to harvest varies with each variety. Here are some varieties with their days to maturity:

  • Sunny Delight Hybrid (45 days)
  • Peter Pan Hybrid (50 days)
  • Sunburst Hybrid (50-55 days)
  • Golden Scallop Pattypan (49-54 days)

Zucchini Squash

Days to maturity for different varieties of zucchini are similar to the pattypan varieties: they range from 43 days to 55 days. This type grows to club size in just days. Check the plant daily and pick the squash before it reaches 8 inches long. For a sweeter and milder tasting squash, pick when 2-4 inches long.

Round and Oval Squash

Round and oval summer squash are perfect single-serving-sized squashes. Some varieties can be harvested 40 days after planting. Prime picking size for these early producers is just a 2-3 inch diameter squash. Here are some sweet, nutty round or oval varieties and the days to maturity:

  • Ronde de Nice (45-52 days)
  • Cupcake Hybrid (52 days)
  • Desi Summer (40 days)
  • Lemon Squash (55 days)
  • Eight Ball Hybrid (40 days)

Yellow Squash

One type of yellow summer squash is the crookneck. Most crookneck varieties take about 50 days to mature. When these are 4-7 inches long, it is prime time to pick them. Crookneck squash left on the vine too long develop thick, hard rinds often with large bumps. At this stage, no longer is this large-seeded squash fit to eat.

Another type of yellow summer squash is the straightneck. Straightneck yellow squash takes about 60 days to mature from seed. Like all summer squash, straightneck squash should be harvested when young and tender. Most of the varieties should be harvested at 4-8 inches long.