Belonging to the easy-to-grow and healthy family of Cucurbitaceae, summer squashes are related to both the water-rich cucumber and the sweet melons! Not endowed with a very powerful taste such as the melon, the chappan kadu is more of a power-food than a tasty food. It's a variety of Zucchini, actually. They were originally found in the caves of Mexico about 10,000 years ago! Since then they are now found in almost all around the world with India, China, Russia, and the United States being the largest producers of the summer squashes. Summer squashes have a white soft flesh which and a very soft shell which is also edible. They are a rich source of carotenoids, minerals, good carbohydrates, anti-oxidants. They are also abundant in Vitamin C, K, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamin B6, B1, Zinc, Copper, Omega-3 fatty acids, folate and other essential nutrients. These essentials make the Chappan Kadu anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and great for diabetic patients.
You can steam, boil, blanche, cook the summer squash for a curry-based dish or eat them raw. Some also add the summer squashes to soups, smoothies, and chutneys. So don't wait up, add this healthful vegetable to your green patch, right away!
Growing guide for Summer Squash Seeds
Sow summer squash seeds in prepared beds or hills in the springtime after the risk of frost is not there anymore.
You can also sow seeds indoors under fluorescent lights and then put out the seedlings when they are 3 weeks old.
You can sidestep early-season squash bugs by delaying the planting of seedlings until early summer.
Squashes require a lot of watering during the hot weather. The soil needs to be moist 4 inches down.
The following pests affect summer squash most commonly -Squash bugs, Squash vine borers, Cucumber beetles. The above mentioned pests can cause the following symptoms - Plants can be eaten or cut off near the soil level; Holes in leaves and flowers; tunnels in vines and fruit holes in stems near the base of plant; Mottled, distorted leaves etc.
A well-drained loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 for growing.
Summer Squash prefers a sunny site.
Summer squashes grow best in air temperatures ranging from 15° to 24° [60° to 75°F].
how to harvest
Summer squash harvest fruits from baby-sized up until they toughen with age.
Harvest at least twice a week, using a sharp knife to cut fruits (leave a little stub of stem attached).
Promptly wash fruits in cool water and store in the icebox.
For long-term storage, freeze or dry blanched pieces of summer squash.