How to Pick Summer Squash

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Gardening

Jake with Summer Squash; Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash

Zucchini and Summer Squash…Come on Baby Do the Twist!

Picking Summer Squash July Gardening

This has certainly not been a “normal” year. In a normal year, I would be telling you the first plantings of squash were dwindling in production; signaling time to plant more of the abundant cucurbits. Most summer squash will produce heavily for about six weeks.

With the cool wet spring, crops are running behind in Kentucky. Jake and I were out picking the first of the “Early Prolific” Straight Neck yellow squash just last week. Have you ever picked squash?
Jake picking summer squash

Most summer squash should be picked before it reaches six inches long. Picking is an easy process. Grasp the vegetable and gently twist to remove from vines. A twist separates squash from plant, leaving the root system intact. Try giving summer squash a “jerk” you are likely to wind up with the whole plant plucked from the soil. Not a good thing.

Early Prolific Straight Neck Squash is just that; it takes 45 days from plant emergence to be ready for harvest. Once it gets in gear you can almost pick the stuff twice a day. If you want squash in a hurry, this is the variety. Check your frost dates, but most folks could still plant summer squash and get a respectable harvest.

Here in Appalachia, Zone 6b, we have had heavy rain for the past two weeks with sauna like heat indexes capping off at 107. YIKES. The lima beans are happy, and the watermelons are celebrating….but the yellow summer squash….well not so much.

Unfortunately, humid moist air is a perfect environment for mold and mildew. Some of my little yellow squash babies are covered in white “fuzz” and have been pulled and discarded. That is frustrating.

Will I Have Enough Zucchini and Summer Squash?

Squash Blossoms promise summer squash

Just to make sure I have “enough” yellow squash to use this summer, and of course to freeze for winter, I planted another dozen seeds. Charlie thinks I am crazy.

He points out that we have not begun to harvest the Cocozella Di Napoli, an Italian heirloom zucchini with a very firm texture we like to use in sauces. It’s about ten days behind the yellow squash.

There’s the little Ronde de Nice, which make the cutest squashes to stuff! They are just a few days from maturity. Charlie is excited about those!

He doesn’t mention the Cucuzza Squash which was recently featured on Serious Eats website; maybe he forgot I have them.

He did not mention the White Bush Scallop Patty-Pans either, something Edna Lewis called Cymlings. Maybe he forgot those too.

Charlie may have a point, there’s quite a bit of vines in the garden. I hope you like summer squash. Looks like I’m going to have plenty! Giggles

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.