Harvesting Summer Squash

We’ve been to a couple of farmer’s markets recently and it seems that summer squash is in season. We worked our garden a couple of days ago and it looks like our zucchini and other summer squash should be ready any day now.

Zucchini, yellow straight neck, or summer crookneck squash need to be harvested on a regular basis beginning when the squash are four to eight inches long. These young squash are tender and tasty and are considered delicacies to many chefs. These young squash can grow several inches overnight, so you must check them every day or two. If one eludes your eyes and has grown too large, harvest it anyway so that the plant will not stop producing fruit. We use these renegade squash for zucchini bread or in a stuffed zucchini recipe.

For the best taste and flavor, harvest the squash just before eating or preserving them to get the most benefit of the plant’s nutritional value. Use a sharp knife to sever the squash from the vine so as not to damage the vine prohibiting further growth or the chance of a disease entry point. Harvest early in the day to put less stress on the plant.

Hopefully you have noted the variety names, planting dates, and their maturity dates in a note book or on a calendar. Remember that the days to maturity are just a guide line and gives you an approximate date to start watching for peak harvest timing. Jot down harvest information for future decision making on what and when to plant in future gardening seasons.

Keep your fork

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