Spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a popular winter squash grown for the spaghettilike texture of its flesh. After baking, the thin strands can be scooped out of the skin and used as a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate substitute for pasta. Besides being delicious, spaghetti squash is packed with vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin B6, and fiber.
Spaghetti squash is fun to grow, but like other winter squashes, it takes up a lot of space in the garden. There are both bush and vining varieties, with plants requiring anywhere from 6 to 12 feet of space to spread their large leaves and sprawling vines. The plants also require three months to fully mature and reach the point when the oblong, yellow-skinned squashes harden and are ready for harvest.
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You can conserve garden space by growing spaghetti squash vines on a trellis. Because each squash can grow quite large — around 10 inches long and weighing up to 5 pounds — you'll need to rig a support system to keep them attached to the vine. You can create slings with cheesecloth or pantyhose, which has the benefit of stretching as the squashes grow.
Things You'll Need
Growing Spaghetti Squash Vines on a Trellis
Step 1: Install the Trellis
Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Insert the wood or metal trellis into the soil. Depending on how hard or rocky your soil is, you may need to excavate holes first. Pound the trellis into the soil with a hammer or mallet to drive it 1 to 2 feet into the ground.
Step 2: Prepare the Soil
Squash plants require rich garden soil. Loosen the soil with a garden spade down to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Add 2 or 3 inches of organic material, like compost, on top and work the compost into the soil. Rake the soil surface smooth.
Step 3: Sow Your Seeds
Plant the spaghetti squash seeds along the trellis, sowing two seeds together and spacing each pair of seeds 3 feet apart. Cover the seeds with 1 inch of soil. Water the seeds generously after planting and keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate in one to two weeks.
Step 4: Care for the Seedlings
Once seedlings are established, thin each pair to one plant, weeding out the weakest seedling. Continue to water at least once a week during dry weather. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of 10-10-10 granular fertilizer around each plant when flowers first appear, gently working the granules into the soil.
Step 5: Support Vines on the Trellis
As vines begin to grow, loosely attach them to the trellis with stretchy garden tape. Then, create a sling for each fruit with cheesecloth or pantyhose. Cut a 3-foot length, wrapping it underneath to support the bottom of the squash. Tie the ends to the trellis above.
Step 6: Harvest the Squash
Winter squashes are usually ready for harvest in fall before frost arrives. The skin should feel firm to the touch, and the stem should be brown. Use a sharp garden knife to cut the squash from the vines, leaving about 2 inches of stem attached to the fruit.