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Growing Good Food at Home

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Essential Tools and Equipment for Growing and Enjoying Squash

Squash growing equipment.

Squash growing equipment.

Working your squash garden means having the right tools to do the job! Below is a list of items to consider. If you don’t already have some of these items, please check our Resources section at the end of this collection for recommended suppliers for acquiring the right tools and equipment. And remember, many of these items can be helpful to you for all of your gardening needs—not just for squash:

Black Plastic

The squash area should be kept free of weeds so that the plants do not need to compete for nutrients. Consider installing black plastic around the plants while they are still young because the spreading vines make weeding difficult as the squash plants mature.  Plastic can also be used to raise fruits off the ground to prevent rot.

Paint Brush, Toothbrush or Cotton Swab

If your weather is cool and damp, you’re not seeing pollinators, or the female fruits are withering without getting pollinated, you can hand-pollinate your squash blossoms. The easiest way to hand-pollinate squash plants is to use a paintbrush, toothbrush, or cotton swab, and gently transfer the pollen from the male flower to the female flower.

Spiralizer

Zucchini noodles (also known as “zoodles“) are the perfect gluten-free pasta substitute, and this kitchen tool helps you enjoy zucchini this way. A spiralizer creates curls of your favorite vegetables in seconds, with very little effort. This tool also works well with other varieties of summer squash, carrots, sweet potato, apples, pears…the list is endless!

Vertical Support

You can grow summer squash on an A-shaped form or trellis. The best varieties for squash trellising are zucchini and yellow summer squash, because the fruit does not require supplement support.

For the High-Tech Squash Gardener

Here are some items that are more than just “equipment”—they’re not needed for you to be an awesome squash gardener, but they can help simplify the growing process and take your garden to a whole new level!

Grow Lights

When growing squash plants from seeds, you can start indoors before the season begins, but if you lack southern-facing windows to gain that light, grow lights are a great solution. Use grow lights only to get your seeds to the seedling stage, then plant seedlings outdoors in the appropriate natural light.

Grow lights can allow you to extend the growing season, or even to grow squash all year long, but use a lot of energy and require more work and attention from you.

Greenhouse

If you want a large garden of squash and other vegetables and fruits, a greenhouse will allow you to start a mass number of seedlings all at once. With a greenhouse, you’ll have plenty of semi-indoor space and a more controlled environment for getting a bigger and more diverse garden launched.

Greenhouse styles include pre-fabricated or handmade—or you can design one that includes both. A greenhouse is a big investment, but can provide you with more gardening options and allow you to expand your overall garden.

Containers and Pots

If you want to start plants indoors before the outdoor growing season commences, you can try several environmentally friendly and free ways to begin with materials you probably already have:

  • Newspaper or brown-paper pots
  • Egg cartons
  • Toilet-paper rolls (yes, these work great!)
  • Random containers, kitchen pans, or baking sheets (you might need holes drilled into the bottom for drainage)—if you have aging or rusting kitchen pans that you’re looking to replace, they make for great “starter pots” for getting your garden launched inside
  • Starter trays and peat pots

Garden Gloves

Using a pair of garden gloves—and wearing long sleeves—when you’re tending to your plants is a good way to avoid skin irritation and to protect your fingers, hands, and arms. Get a comfortable pair of gloves that fit well, so you still have full dexterity in your garden.

Garden Trowel

A useful garden tool, the garden trowel is handy when filling your containers and when mixing compost and worm castings. Avoid cheap versions that can have flimsy handles that are prone to break. Even inferior metal trowels can bend in hard clay or rocky soil. Invest in a higher quality trowel, and you’ll have it for years!

Irrigation Equipment

Many plants thrive when watered slowly and deeply. While tedious and even sometimes difficult to do with a watering can, you might want to consider an irrigation method for keeping your plants slowly and deeply watered.

A standard sprinkler system is not the best solution—while easy to set up, the wide-ranging water coverage of a sprinkler can lead to wet plant leaves that promote diseases and can encourage weeds.

A drip-watering irrigation system that operates on a timer is one of the best irrigation solutions for watering plants. This type of system better controls how much water you use, minimizes water lost to evaporation, and more exactly directs water to where you want to soak your soil. While more expensive than a simple watering can, an investment in an irrigation system can pay off—specially to ensure proper watering when you’re at work or on vacation!

Pruners or Snippers

Wear your garden gloves while pruning, and be sure to get a set of pruners or snippers that are comfortable in your hand when cutting. Don’t skimp on this—you need something that cuts well and will endure through many seasons.

Rain Barrel

Some areas of the country experience drought conditions in the spring and summer, and some municipalities may impose watering bans; that means hand watering only. If you collect rainwater, you can put it to good use when it comes time to tend your plants. Some communities offer rain barrels at a special discount to encourage water conservation.

Spade

Every gardener—no matter what plants you’re tending—needs a spade, or even several of different sizes. Use your spade to move around compost, dig soil for your initial plant hole, and to keep your garden soil tidy.

Spray Pump or Bottle

To control the emergence or spread of plant diseases and pests, get a dedicated spray bottle for your potion to do the job. This is one thing you can go basic on—no need for anything fancy, as a simple plastic spray bottle is fine.

Watering Can

Watering cans allow you to better control exactly where the water is directed in your garden. Plant leaves and fruit don’t need water, the roots in the soil do. Get yourself a good-sized watering can, and have some fun finding a watering can with an interesting design that fits your personality. Also, you want one that has a comfortable grip.

Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow makes it easy for you to move soil and mulch from plant to plant; and it works as an excellent mixing bowl when you’re combining the perfect soil blend. If you feel like a wheelbarrow is just a little over the top for your gardening needs, a 5-gallon bucket may suffice. Just make sure you have a good trowel to mix with.

Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your gardening.

Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your gardening.

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