How To Grow Spaghetti Squash From Fresh Seeds

Spaghetti squash or vegetable spaghetti is a type of squash that originated in North America. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The color options are ivory, yellow, and orange. When cooked, the flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands, hence the name. Growing Spaghetti squash from seed allows you to choose from different varieties. It also gives you more control over the timing, yields, and variety selection.

Growing Spaghetti squash from seeds involves choosing viable seeds, planting them at the right time, caring for the seedlings, supporting the vines, pollinating the flowers, and finally harvesting the mature squash. This guide will walk you through each step to help you successfully grow spaghetti squash from fresh seeds. With a little effort, you’ll enjoy an abundant spaghetti squash harvest.

Spaghetti Squash seeds

Choosing Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Getting good seeds for growing spaghetti squash is the first step towards achieving success. There are two types of seed options you can select from, the heirloom and the hybrid seeds.

Heirloom vs. Hybrid Seeds

Heirloom seeds come from plants that were grown traditionally and have been passed down over generations. They breed true, meaning their traits remain consistent. The hybrid seeds are created by manually cross-pollinating two different parent squash plants. This results in new combinations of traits. Heirloom seeds offer diversity and preserve squash varieties over time. Hybrids may have more uniform sizes and higher yields.

Where to Buy Seeds

Quality seeds can be purchased from reputable garden centers, nurseries, seed catalogs, and online retailers. Ensure they are certified disease-free. The ideal seeds for growing Spaghetti squash Seeds are fresh, non-GMO, and open-pollinated or heirloom seeds. Ensure you inspect the packaging dates and storage conditions before making payment.

Seeds Preparation

One of the most important steps when growing spaghetti squash from seed is properly preparing the seeds before planting. This helps ensure good germination rates and healthy seedlings. There are a few key techniques for pre-seed preparation:

-Seed Viability: It’s important to start with viable, non-damaged seeds that are likely to germinate well. Look for seeds that are plump and free of cracks, mold, or insect damage. You can also do a simple float test by placing the seeds in a bowl of water and discard any that float, as those likely won’t germinate.

-Scarification: Spaghetti squash seeds have a hard outer shell that needs to be softened to allow water absorption and germination. Scarification mechanically scratches or wears down the seed coat. You can rub seeds gently with sandpaper or a nail file until the coats look worn; this allows the entry of water into the seed coat.

-Stratification: This technique mimics natural winter conditions to break seed dormancy. To do this, simply place the seeds between damp paper towels in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks before planting. The moist chilling helps ready seeds for germination.

-Soaking: This is a traditional method of spaghetti squash seeds preparation. This is done by soaking the spaghetti squash seeds in room temperature clean water for 12-24 hours before planting. This further softens the seed coat and begins the germination process. Drain any excess water before planting soaked seeds.

Properly preparing spaghetti squash seeds before planting increases the chances of germination success when growing these vines from seed. Using techniques like scarification, stratification, and soaking helps increase viability and plant vigor.

When To Plant Spaghetti Squash Seeds

The best time to plant spaghetti squash seeds depends on your local climate. Spaghetti squash is a warm-season crop that requires soil temperatures of at least 65°F to germinate and does not tolerate frost.

In areas with long, hot summers, spaghetti squash can be directly sown in the garden after all danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed in late spring to early summer. Look up your local “frost-free date” to determine the ideal planting window.

In cooler regions with shorter summers, it’s recommended to start by sowing seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost. Transplant seedlings to the garden after hardening off once nighttime temperatures remain above 50°F.

Starting Spaghetti squash seeds indoors allows the vines to become established and produce fruit before cold weather sets in. Just make sure seedlings have access to sunlight at least 8 hours per day. Planting Spaghetti squash seeds directly into the soil accelerates germination but reduces the length of the growing season.

Ensure you monitor the weather forecasts of your location before planting. With the right timing, you’ll maximize the fruiting period in your climate.

How To Planting Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Provided you have determined the the right time to plant, the procedures for planting Spaghetti squash seeds are not different from other vegetables; though, the planting depth and spacing are not the same with other vegetables. This is why you need to pay rapt attention at this stage.

You should plant the Spaghetti squash seeds in a well-drained potting soil mix. The potting soil mix should contain 1/3 compost, 1/3 perlite or vermiculite, and 1/3 peat moss or coconut coir. This will provide the right balance of nutrients, aeration, and water retention.

Plant spaghetti squash seeds about 1 inch deep in the potting mix. Push the seeds in so they have good contact with the soil but avoid planting too deeply. If planting in pots, plant 2 – 3 seeds in a 6-inch pot. You’ll thin (remove) one plant after sprouting. For planting directly in the garden, space plants 12 – 18 inches apart in rows 5 feet apart. 

It’s ideal to start spaghetti squash seeds indoors in a greenhouse if you can. The greenhouse provides consistent warm temperatures and protects delicate seedlings. If you are using a greenhouse, make sure greenhouse temperatures stay between 70-85°F for best germination.

Transplanting Spaghetti Squash

Transplanting is the process of transferring the Spaghetti Squash seedling directly into the soil. It is done when the Spaghetti Squash has been grown in the potting soil indoors or in the nursery. The process of transplanting Spaghetti Squash starts by hardening the seedlings for 7-10 days before transplanting them outdoors.

This involves gradual exposure of the spaghetti squash seedlings to sun and wind; the hardening process aims to acclimatize the spaghetti squash seedling to the field conditions. This reduces transplanting shock and increases the survival of the seedlings after transplanting.

You should transplant spaghetti squash seedlings when they have 4 – 6 true leaves and all danger of frost has passed. Start by gently loosening the roots before placing each seedling in a hole and backfilling with soil. Ensure you water thoroughly after transplanting. Transplanting should be done during the cool part of the day, usually early in the morning or late in the evening. I recommend transplanting late in the evening.

Care Of Spaghetti Squash

Once you observe the spaghetti squash seeds have germinated and sprouted, you’ll need to care for the seedlings to ensure they grow into healthy plants. Proper care at this stage is crucial. Here are what to do:

-Watering: Spaghetti squash needs about 1-2 inches of water per week. Water seedlings regularly to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation for the most efficient watering. Reduce watering once fruit sets.

-Fertilizing: Fertilize vines monthly with a balanced organic fertilizer, or apply a thin layer of compost around the vines. Too much nitrogen can lead to excess foliage at the expense of developing fruits. Use fertilizer that is high in phosphorus to promote root growth.

-Thinning: Spaghetti squash seedlings should be thinned once they develop 2-3 true leaves. Use scissors to snip extra seedlings at the soil level, leaving the strongest seedlings in each space about 12 inches apart.

-Supporting Vines: As the vines lengthen, they will need some form of support. You can use a trellis, or stakes, or allow them to trail along the ground. Trellising helps maximize garden space and keeps the fruit up off the ground. Drive sturdy stakes or posts into the ground and loosely tie the vines to them as they grow using soft plant ties or twine.

staking Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash Support System

Pests and Diseases Control

As the Spaghetti squash grows, you should watch out for common vine pests like squash bugs, striped cucumber beetles, and squash vine borers. One of the best ways to control these pests is to handpick adults and larvae daily. Also, you can use organic pesticides if infestations persist.

Diseases also emerge as the plant grows. Common Spaghetti squash diseases include powdery mildew, downy mildew, blossom end rot, and various rots. You can prevent these diseases with drip irrigation, adequate sunlight and airflow, crop rotation, and sanitation practices.

Harvesting Spaghetti Squash

You’ll know your spaghetti squash is ready to harvest when the rind changes from glossy to dull. The rind should also be hard enough that you can’t pierce it with your fingernail. Harvest by using pruners or a sharp knife to carefully cut the squash from the vine, leaving a couple of inches of stem attached. Be careful not to damage the tender fruit.

If you intend to store for a longer period, leave the spaghetti squash to cure in a warm, dry area for 7-10 days. Curing helps thicken the skin and extend the storage life. Once cured, you can store whole spaghetti squash in a cool, dark place. The ideal storage conditions are 50-60°F with low humidity

Mature Spaghetti Squash
Mature Spaghetti Squash

Properly cured and stored, spaghetti squash will keep for 2-3 months. Cut squash can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. Cooked spaghetti squash can be frozen for 6-12 months. Allow it to cool completely before freezing, then store it in airtight bags or containers.

Read more:

Can You Over Water Squash Plants: The Best Practice Guide

In conclusion,  

Growing spaghetti squash from seeds allows you to enjoy delicious summer squash and store squash for months after harvest. Throughout the growing process, Proper vine care will help maximize your spaghetti squash yield and keep plants healthy and productive. Provide adequate support, water, and nutrition, and protect from damage caused by pests and diseases. With attentive care, you can have a bountiful spaghetti squash harvest.

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