Question about 'hills' and spacing

plantslayer(8)August 7, 2009

OK, so whenever I read instructions about planting squash in hills, it generally tells you to plant 4-6 seeds in one "hill", and thin to maybe 2 or 3 plants per "hill".

What I am wondering is, how do you space squash within in individual hill? Assuming your hill is, say, 2 ft in diameter, how many squash would you put in there, and how far apart would the sewings/transplants need to be?

I always felt that the directions seemed a little suspect- after all, you wouldn't plant two or three tomatoes just 6-8 inches away from each other, would you? Do squash not mind being squeezed together like this?

Also, I plant this stuff in a small urban garden with tight space; so if make a 2ft diameter mound for my squash, how far away should other crops be from the clump of squash plants?

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cyrus_gardner(8)

The hill concept is to prevent water loging and roting the roots, stem.
With limited space, you can plant bush types that will not run for ever.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 10:00PM
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plantslayer(8)

Yeah, but the ones I am interested in growing seem to all be vining types only...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:48PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Yes, you plant the squash seeds in a group, 4 or 5 in a hill about 18" across with individual seeds 6-8 inches from each other. Then you thin to the best 3 (I have to admit that I don't always).

The roots don't mind growing together as long as they have the room between the hills to spread out in.

You'll find that the plants in the hills vine out from the center (even the "bush" varieties spread their stubby vines this way), in an arrangement that shades the roots to keep them cool -- very necessary for squash, which do NOT like direct sun on their roots.

It goes back to the way that the wild ancestors of the squash would have grown from the clump of seeds in the rotted fruit.

The minimum space required for a very compact, bush variety squash would be the center of a 3 foot square. But only the most carefully-bred compact varieties would stay that small.

For ordinary summer squash of the bush type you'll want to think of each hill as the center of a 4-5 foot square. For long-vined winter squash you'll want to put your hills at least 5-6 feet apart, but you can fudge that on one side by gently turning the vines back on themselves and directing them into an area where they are free to run.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 6:59AM
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plantslayer(8)

If we're strictly talking about the amount of space needed to keep the plants health in terms of nutrition, water and the like, do you think a 3x3ft square is good enough for a hill of 2-3 plants? I can run the vines into an area where there is no tilled soil, or onto a trellis or something to give the vines space. I guess I was more curious about how much space the roots need.

Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 11:17AM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

IMO, that would be the absolute minimum space.

I pulled up my first planting of summer squash this week and even though they were not the most vigorous squash on the face of the earth their roots were 2-3 feet long.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 1:24PM
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