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.

10 comments:

Reducing Global Warming said...

Thanks for the info, very helpful and great photos.

Zenith said...

My pleasure. I have a few more studies in the pipeline. Hopefully my current research products yield as fine a fruit as these plants did. :)

Good luck to you.

Mandy said...

Hi,

I am also growing this asian vegetable in the garden, last year it grew wild and i had no success whether it was flowering or fruit.

This year, i can see lots of flowering (often dying off and forming a fruit at the base). But the fruit is dying off whilst still very small. What am i doing wrong?

I was told that i need to cut back some of the leaves to channel the energy into developing fruit, is this correct?

Thanks!

Zenith said...

Ensure the plant has the proper amount of nutrients, water, and light before trimming it. It requires full sun and fertile soil as it is a heavy feeder. Water tends to be easy to gauge, since the leaves will droop like the are melting if it is too hot or thirsty.

I never had an issue with squash dying off. I would recommend checking your soil. Disease or pests may also be the culprits.

Good luck to you and I hope your Spaghetti Squash thrives!

Jornado3 said...

ALSO - Baby fruits will die if the flower was not properly pollinated. If bees are visiting the flowers (usually open in the morning) that is probably not the issue. If you need to you can hand-pollinate. To do so, pick a fresh male flower (no baby fruit on the stem), pluck the petals to get them out of the way, and rub the stamens into a female flower to transfer as much pollen as possible.
Keith

Anonymous said...

What is the best method of selecting spaghetti squash in the grocery store? There were no characters in the verification box!

RF said...

Mandy,
If you are still reading this, I saw your comment about fruit dying off on the vine.
I was just doing some research on my squash/zucchini plants, and I found a youtube video that explains that when the fruit start shriveling on the vine and look like they are rotting, that is a sign of improper pollination. I'm not sure if it's completely unpollinated, or pollinated but not enough pollen.

Anonymous said...

I have to share this with you: This Summer I noticed a plant growing in my compost pile which has turned out to be a Spaghetti Squash plant and it's doing great! I haven't done anything to it and it's growing large and producing many squash. I haven't been putting much in the compost pile due to this plant growing so large that I can't find a bare place! I do want to explain that we have had this compost pile for at least 4 years and the dirt that we have in there is very dark and rich. Maybe using compost dirt around the plant when planting it would be a big help for anyone having trouble growing it.

Pamela Piper said...

my spaghetti squash keeps dying at the roots.. they get super big then start dying at the roots.. i don't understand. help!?

Zenith said...

Pamela, your problem may be that your soil is either too wet or it is diseased. Try a different location this year, with fresh seed.

Good luck and I hope your plants do better this season!