Friday, June 20, 2008

A Short Essay on Spaghetti Squash

An easy to grow squash with an excellent yield. It may require a bit of training to keep this giant in it's own row, as it will shade a considerable area when full grown. Spaghetti Squash will root along the vines every foot or so where they touch the ground and send out tendrils to climb up anything it encounters on it's quest for more light.

Will seek out sunny locations and water. The fruit will become heavy enough to damage the climbing vine if it is not supported by nylon ties, trellising or cages. Will attract sugar ants, Japanese beetles and your normal squash bugs. I have yet to see significant damage done by any pests to these plants.

Tender vines should be handled with care when training. Protect it from frost like any squash. Can be sprouted indoors and transplanted outside after all danger of frost is past. Germinates in less than a week, should be transplanted as soon as cotyledons are free of the Testa(seed coat) and no later than emergence of first true leaves. Transplanting too late may result in stunted growth or plant death due to damaged root system.

Spaghetti Squash, like most squash, have very shallow root systems that are easy to damage during transplanting or cultivation around the plant. However, weeding is not a big concern around these plants as they tend to shade out anything growing in their path.

The leaves seem to come in a general three lobed shape, more pronounced amongst the younger leaves and more rounded in older growth.They are typical of squash, having a long petiole and a short main vein that splits into many Lateral veins.

Harvest is typically 100 days from transplant to mature fruit. Spaghetti Squash are monoecious, that is to say they have separate male(staminate) and female(pistillate) flowers. The flowers are easy to distinguish from each other, as the female flowers will have a miniature fruit at the base(inferior ovary) and a stigma inside the flower itself. The male will have only the anthers and no immature fruit at its base. Spaghetti Squash flowers themselves are edible and can add a decorative touch to salads.