Growing Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a yellow oblong winter squash that is quite easy to grow. When tender, the flesh comes apart into strands which give it the spaghetti name.

It comes in several varieties of different sizes.

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They say to serve spaghetti squash with tomato sauce as an alternative to noodles. I think that tastes terrible. It has no flavor. I find spaghetti squash to be quite bland, so you need to add lots of herbs and spices to a spaghetti squash dish to make it flavorful. Cook it with other ingredients that are heavy with flavor such as sausage and spices.

Like butternut squash, spaghetti squash grows on a vine and is harvested in late summer or early fall.

This squash can be grown vertically. While it can be grown in a large container, your yield will be much smaller.

Planting: Plant in full sun after danger of frost in fertile, well drained soil. It is easily grown from seed. Start seeds indoors a few weeks before last frost for a head start. Keep them well watered. Plant 1-2 feet apart to grow vertically,  3-4 feet apart for conventional planting.

Fertilizer:  Spaghetti squash are heavy feeders, so fertilize with an organic fertilizer monthly. Organically grown winter squash are important because they are known for being able to eat up all the contaminants in the soil.

Growing: Squash are sensitive to frost. Provide protection. Like other squash, the plants provide both male and female flowers. If growing vertically, it will need help climbing a support.

Harvesting: Cut squash from the vine when it is a dark golden color (depending on the variety), leaving a 2 inch stem. Cure it by keeping it in a warm, dry area for about 10 days. Cured spaghetti squash can be stored in a cool, dry spot for about 5 weeks. Only store squash with stems in tact and no blemishes.  Eat squash with blemishes soon. Pick all squash before frost.IMG_3500

Pests: Squash vine borer and squash bugs. Late summer powdery mildew. I had success combating the squash vine borer with used coffee grounds on my zucchini plants. Just pile it around the stem. Add more as necessary. Another great reason to drink coffee!

Spaghetti Squash Nutritional Highlights

  • Low calorie, low glycemic and low carb.
  • Cholesterol free, low sodium.
  • A very good source of vitamin C.
  • A good source of carotenoids which the body converts to vitamin A and polyphenols which are antioxidant (see phytonutrient post)
  • A good source of B-vitamins, manganese, magnesium, potassium.
  • The seeds can be roasted and eaten just like pumpkin seeds.

How do you like to eat spaghetti squash?

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