The plant genus Cucurbit consists of various squashes. The winter varieties have thick, inedible skins, and so store well. They are also very sweet. Summer squash, on the other hand, have a very thin skin, which can be eaten. All species are sensitive to frost. They usually have large, yellow or white flowers which can be eaten. Both male and female can be found on a plant. We commonly grow varieties from 3 species - pepo, maxima, and moschata. Varieties cross within the species but not across species.
Plants may be started 2 weeks before transplanting out. Space one metre apart in rows that are 1.5 metres apart. We plant our summer squash into black plastic with holes cut at this distance apart and then cover the plants with floating row cover until they are so big they no longer fit under the the cover. Cut fruits often. Eat while tender.
Plants may be started indoors 2 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors with protection for the first few weeks. They like heat and rich soil which can be recently manured. Harvest before a hard frost or when the stem is tough by testing it with your fingernail. Cure by storing for several weeks in a warm dry place.