Squash Farming – Introduction
The squash belongs to the cucurbitaceous family. Along with pumpkins and other vegetables, squash forms an important vegetable. It is popularly eaten in various parts of the world. It is eaten in many forms in many cultures as well. Squash is an important vegetable which is very much in demand. The demand for this vegetable is high in the local as well as the international market.
Squash comes in various sizes and shapes. It is eaten as a vegetable. But, apart from that, the squash is used in many other dishes. It is used for making confectionaries and desserts. The extract of squash is used in the preparation of many items as well. The squash makes the perfect complement to seafood. The species of squash are also resistant to some of the diseases. For this, the cultivation also becomes easier in many ways. Due to the many health benefits of squash, it is very much popular among the masses. The nutritional value of this vegetable is very high. The cultivation must also be done properly. For good quality squash fruits, there is always a huge demand. The profits can also be very good. To get a good profit, the modern methods must be used for squash cultivation.
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Scientific Name of Squash: Cucurbita pepo
Common Name Of Squash In Other Languages
|Language||Ways to say squash|
|Marathi||फळांपासून तयार केलेले पेय|
Different Varieties Of Squash Cultivated World Wide
This is a type of winter squash. It is also called the Japanese pumpkin in New Zealand and Australia. The kabocha variety of squash has a dark green coloured skin and also looks like the pumpkin. The squash has an orange coloured skin and the fruit peel is solid and hard. There are several varieties of squash under the kabocha such as Miyako, cutie, Ebisu, emiguri, ajihei
Almost like the name, the skin of the fruit is very tender and delicate. The skin colour of the fruit has a creamy white colour and green coloured stripes. This squash is eaten as a winter squash but looks like a summer squash. Because of its delicate nature, this variety is difficult to store. This squash is also known as the bohemian squash, sweet potato squash and the peanut squash.
The hubbard squash can be found in many colors. It is mainly used as a stuffing in pies and in preparation of soups. The flesh color of the squash is yellow. This is a type of winter squash. This type of squash can be stored for up to six months. The fruits are large in size and can weigh up to 8-20 pounds. It is sold cut into pieces.
The name is so given because the squash can be separated into spaghetti strands. The squash is cylindrical in shape. It has a shiny yellow fruit skin. The squash can weigh up to 4-8 pounds. This squash is popularly used in making pasta. Due to its texture, it is also called as the noodle squash or vegetable pasta.
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This squash variety looks exactly like a small pumpkin. The fruit can weigh up to 1-3 pounds. The fruit skin of the squash is orangish yellow. This squash can be cooked, baked and even made into a whole dish.
This squash variety also looks like a small pumpkin. The skin color of the fruit is deep orange in color. The flesh also has a dark orange color. The winter squash is popularly eaten roasted. The squash tastes sweet and has a firm texture. It can be stored for a long time.
The sweet dumpling variety of squash has a cream-colored skin with dark green ridges. The flesh of the fruit is green to orange in color. The fruit flesh has a slightly sweet taste and a soft texture. Because of its small size, the squash can be baked whole and used for cooking other dishes.
The gold rush squash has an elongated shape of fruit and has a yellow colored fruit skin. the squash is summer fruit. The skin of the fruit has a smooth texture. Both the skin and the flesh of the fruit is tender in nature. The seeds are also soft. The smooth and shiny yellow squash has a white skin.
The squash is a summer squash. The skin of the squash is green in color. The squash is very popular among farmers as it is resistant to many diseases. The cultivation period of the variety is also longer compared to others.
The sunburst squash is small squash fruits which look ornamental in shape and size. The skin of the fruit has a bright yellow color and it has a buttery taste. This variety of squash also can be found in light green color.
The eight balls squash is usually eaten when it is young and tender. The almost round shape of the squash has a tough skin and a yellow colored flesh. The skin of the fruit is dark green in color.
The banana squash can have an orange, pink or light blue colored fruit skin. The flesh of the fruit is orange in color. The shape of the fruit is elongated. It can be used for making pies and soups.
Cultivation Of Squash
For the cultivation of squash, a sunny weather is needed. There are many varieties of squash available in the market. A suitable variety must be selected for cultivation. To get good quality fruits, proper nutrition and irrigation must be provided. Only then, the yield can also be increased.
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Soil Conditions For The Squash Farming
The soil for squash cultivation must be well drained. It also must be well aerated. Good quality of the soil ensures a better quality of fruit and yield. The ph of the soil must be close to neutral. Too high or too low soil ph might be harmful to the squash plants. The soil must have a good quantity of organic matter in it. The soil must not be too light or too deep.
Climatic Conditions For Squash Farming
The ideal temperature for growing squash is 15-20 degree Celsius. Too hot weather is not suitable for farming of squash. Plenty of sunshine and a warm climate is preferred for squash farming. The squash crop cannot tolerate frost conditions. So, frost must be avoided at all times. Moderate rainfall is preferable for the cultivation. Extreme climatic conditions must be avoided as it is harmful to the growth of the crop. Pleasant weather and climate are suitable to grow squash plants.
Land Preparation For Squash Farming
The land must be prepared thoroughly for the cultivation of squash. The site must be selected based on the area for cultivation of squash. After that, the weeds and other plant materials must be removed from the field. Ploughing must be done to make the soil smooth. Ploughing can be done with the tractor or a plough. After ploughing, proper quantities of farmyard manure must be mixed with the soil. Drainage channels must be made in the field. It must be done to drain away the excess water from the field.
Propagation Methods For Squash Farming
The squash is commonly propagated through seeds. The seeds must be selected carefully. Healthy seeds must be selected for sowing in the crop. The seeds must be bought from a reliable source. Seed treatment must be done before sowing them.
Planting Method For Squash Farming
It is better to sow the seeds directly into the main field. This is so because the squash crop does not transplant very well. For sowing, any method and any seeds sowing equipment can be used. The seeds must be sown at least an inch deep inside the soil. After sowing, a light irrigation must be provided. In some cases, plastics are used for warm mulching of the soil. The seeds take about ten
days to germinate. Till then, the soil should be kept moist. Three or four seeds should be planted. The ridges and furrows must be made in the field. Once the seedlings emerge, the plants can be thinned out.
The best season for sowing the seeds in spring or summer. The winter season must be avoided due to the frost. The seed rate depends on the variety of squash seed used.
Irrigation Methods For Squash Farming
The first irrigation must be given when the seeds are sown. The irrigation must be provided based on the moisture content of the soil. In dry and humid weather, enough watering must be done. During the rainy season, the extra water must be drained out of the field. Mulching might help to reduce the need for watering. Also, regular irrigation during the formation of fruits and flowers is useful for squash cultivation. in winter, light irrigation must be given to protect the crop from harsh conditions.
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Fertiliser And Manure Application For Squash Farming
The squash plants give a good response to fertilisers and manure. The fertilisers must be applied after a soil test of the squash field. Too many fertilisers must not be applied in the field. The farmyard manure must be applied at the time of field preparation. The basic dose of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium must be applied in split doses. Micronutrients must also be provided in proper quantities so that deficiency does not occur. After every use of fertilisers, an irrigation must be given.
Intercultural Operations For Squash Farming
The weed removal operations and thinning must be done at the early stages of growth of the squash plants. Chemical methods may be applied or manual methods can be used. Proper pruning and training of the plants are also necessary.
Pest and Disease Management for the Cultivation of Squash
The most common pests and diseases of the squash crop are as follows:
The above pests and diseases can be controlled by effective crop management and usage of appropriate pesticides. Mulching, seed treatment, and other activities might also help to control the attack of pests and diseases.
Harvest Of Squash
The squash plants take two months on an average to reach harvest time. They can be individually picked from the squash plants. Usually, the tender fruits are picked for harvesting.
Post-Harvest Management And Marketing Of Squash
The squash must be cleaned and sorted after harvest. The fresh fruits must be packed carefully. They can be packed in boxes or cartons and then sold in the market. For export or long distance transportation, they must be appropriately packed.
Benefits Of Squash
- Squash can help diabetic patients to control their blood sugar level. It can help to prevent as well as control the disease.
- The squash and its fruits are anti-inflammatory in nature. They can protect the body against many diseases.
- Squash is rich in iron. Iron helps to maintain normal blood circulation in the body. It prevents anemia.
- Squash is rich in vitamin-A. It is very much important for maintaining good vision and also keeps eye diseases at bay.
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Squash Farming – Conclusion
Squash is an important and nutritious vegetable. The demand for this vegetable is high in the international market. It is also increasing day by day. So, the cultivation must be done properly so that high-quality fruits and a good yield can be obtained. This will also ensure high profits.