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Spacing and Growing Your Indoor Squash Plants: A Simple How-To

Squash plants are some of the easiest vegetables to grow either in your own home or outside in your garden. However, you might need some tips to help you along the way, because the indoor and outdoor growing processes are different from one another.

No matter where you are growing your squash plants, you’ll need to make sure they are well-spaced from one another. If they are outside, give them a few feet’s worth of space. If you’re growing indoors, give them each their own pot.

Supplementation and a watchful eye can help you grow the most delicious squash ever. Read on for more tips on how to optimize your indoor and outdoor squash gardens. 

Spacing Your Squash Plants Outdoors

There is a wide variety of species of squash. If you walk through your local grocery store, you will likely see kinds such as butternut, acorn, kabocha, and summer squash. Each of these varieties has its own needs and likes, and it’s crucial to pay attention to those.

If you are growing your squash plants outdoors, you will want to make sure that you’re working during the correct time of year. For most varieties of squash, you will want to plant them with most of your other essential garden crops right after the last frost of the season. You could also plant any winter varieties of squash around the middle of summer.

It is important to remember that most varieties of squash produce large plants. The leaves of squash plants are large and broad. Squash plants blossom, meaning that they produce large, lightly colored flowers that are actually edible. They are easy to fry in a light batter. Along with having big leaves and flowers, squash plants run along the ground and spread outward.

Squash plants don’t grow upward very much. Instead, they grow outward to all sides. This way, the heavy fruit of the plant can rest on the ground while the vines continue to grow. Because of this growing style, you will need to plant each of your squash seeds or seedlings far away from one another. Bonnie Plants suggests keeping a wide three-to-six-foot span between each plant. 

Though it may seem excessive when you are first planting your squash, you will be thankful come fall. 

Growing and Spacing Your Squash Plants Indoors

If you are growing your squash plants indoors, you have an entirely different process to follow. Indoor growing is much different than outdoor growing because you are generally working with a lower amount of sunlight. 

While that is a disadvantage, you do have the advantage of being able to control your growing climate. Growing plants indoors also gives you easier access to the plants – when they are in your home, you can water and feed them more easily and give them more attention.

The first step you will need to take when you are spacing out your squash plants is to start small, then work big. Your first goal should be to propagate as many squash plants as you need or would like. To account for natural error, start a few extra seedlings just in case some die along the way. A great option for starting your squash plants is to use a multi-plant tray such as this Seed Starter Tray Kit from MoHern.

What’s helpful about using disposable (but biodegradable) seed starter trays such as this one is that you don’t have to worry about rearranging and navigating dozens of tiny terracotta pots. When you use large trays, you can easily distribute your potting material without worrying about individually scooping soil and move the seedlings around with ease. This style of tray is also biodegradable, meaning that you can compost it once you’re done using it.

To help your squash seeds grow more efficiently, you might want to consider purchasing a grow light. A grow light is a unit with a bright UV bulb that mimics the power of the sun to help encourage your plants to grow. Grow lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

If you are only trying to propagate a few squash plants, you can choose something like this ACKE LED Grow Light that you can just prop up next to your seedling. If you have a larger amount of seedlings that you are trying to grow, choose something larger like the MARS HYDRO 4x4ft Grow Lamp. This lamp is large enough that it can be hung from the ceiling in your garage or pantry and covers sixteen square feet of area.

Other Important Indoor Growing Tips

Some farmers and gardeners like to start their squash seedlings indoors. By starting your seedlings indoors, this allows you to control their environment for a few weeks while they gather strength. Seedlings started outdoors may be exposed to elements that are too extreme too early, especially if you plant them too early in the season.

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If you choose to start your seedlings indoors, then move them outdoors, make sure you plant them at least three feet away from one another, as mentioned previously, to avoid overcrowding. If you choose to grow your squash plants inside only, you have a different process to manage.

Once your seedlings have become strong enough to be transplanted, you should move them to progressively larger pots. At first, you should put them in pots that are about double or triple the size of the planters they were started in. You will have to transfer the small seedlings into individual pots.

Most farmers and gardeners like to work with pots made out of clay because they are breathable, durable, and affordable. You will need to buy quite a few of them – check out these 4” Terra Cotta Pots with Saucers. The saucers are helpful because they catch water that drips out the bottom of the pots. When the squash plants start to outgrow their pots, you can move them to progressively larger vessels until they reach the size you are hoping for.

For transplanting your squash plants, you will need high-quality soil that is safe to grow vegetables in. Most indoor gardeners choose an all-purpose vegetable potting soil, such as Epsoma’s AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix. If you find that your plants have enough soil but aren’t growing as quickly as you would like, you can supplement them with compost, fertilizer, or plant food.

Make sure that you water your squash plants frequently so that the soil is moist but not sopping wet. Especially when they are seedlings, your squashes need plenty of water so they can grow tall and be strong enough to withstand transplantation, whether indoors or out. 

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Final Thoughts

Squash plants, if grown correctly, can yield large amounts of produce. Most farmers choose to start them indoors, but the choice is yours when it comes to whether you plant them indoors or outdoors. If you plant them outdoors, make sure you space them at least three feet apart. When they are indoors, give your squash plants their own pot to grow in.

Indoors squash plants may need a row light if you live in an area that’s shady or if your home is dark. Growing squash plants indoors gives you the advantage of controlling the climate in which they thrive. Make sure to give them plenty of water and some plant food like compost or fertilizer if they get weak.

Growing squash can be immensely rewarding. I hope these tips help you create a beautiful indoor or outdoor garden. Happy growing!

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on June 18, 2020.

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