Grow Delicious Patty Pan Squash

Growing patty pan squash is as easy as it is to cook it, and as long as you follow a few basic guidelines, you’ll be rewarded with a feast of a harvest throughout the summer season.

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Yellow patty pans grown from hermetically sealed and chemically treated seed (which explains their colour).


Patty pan squash, which is a member of the common Cucurbita species, is known by many different names, including custard squash, sunburst squash, white squash (if it is the white variety), button squash, cibleme (in French), and of course patty pan squash. Different types produce different coloured fruits, white, green and golden yellow.

If you look at a patty pan squash, you’ll understand why this is a preferred name. It looks just like a little baking pan or a cake that has been baked in one of these pans!

Soil for Growing Patty Pan Squash

All squashes and pumpkins belong to the same family and grow in the same soil conditions. Even though patty pan squash is very small, its growing habits are the same as pumpkins and other squashes. They all have large leaves that sprawl over relatively large areas of ground. This means that the plants require wider spacing than most other vegetable crops.

While it is good practise to prepare all the soil in your veggie garden beds, the experts advise with Cucurbita species, that growers concentrate their efforts on a series of planting stations. Dig in lots and lots of manure and compost to both improve the quality of the soil, and to ensure water retention. But also be sure that there is good drainage.

Generally one planting station should be 250mm to 300 mm deep and the hole should have a diameter of about 450 mm. For patty pans, space these by about a metre (from centre to centre).

Dig into the base of the hole with a fork to open up the soil further. Then mix the soil removed from the hole with a spadeful or two of compost or manure, and a handful of good quality fertiliser that promotes good all-round growth (for instance 2:3:2 that contains a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium). Since propagation is by seed, be guided by the instructions on the packet in terms of the recommended distance between plants. If all the seeds germinate, remove the spindly plants. There should only be between two or three plants per growing station. If they are all healthy, transplant some of them.

Sowing Patty Pan Seed

Generally, you can sow seed in spring and summer, and either in trays or directly into the soil. Patty pan squash does best in full sun, and the soil should be kept moist until it germinates (which will take anything from five to ten days). If the weather is very hot, cover the stations where you have planted with a grass mulch to help contain the moisture in the soil.

Growing and Harvesting

You should be able to harvest your little squashes after about 50 days. During this time you will need to water. Just be aware that squash is susceptible to mildew which is encouraged by sprinkling and spraying (just as it is when you grow tomatoes). Drip irrigation is ideal.

When the first flowers appear, feed with liquid manure. Continue to mulch throughout the growing phase.

Squash is often attacked by fruit flies and aphids, so watch out for these, and take the appropriate action.

153817f56fcb3c512ee2419b72a60214?s=80&d=mm&r=g Annette (74 Posts)

Annette Welsford has a partial degree in Horticulture and a Post Graduate Certificate in marketing. Having lived in the cold, temperate and hot parts of Australia and the UK, she has gained experience over the years with gardening in a variety of climates. Annette also worked for a fertilizer company where she was responsible for developing, editing and publishing a range of technical manuals on nutrition and fungal diseases for a wide range of horticultural crops including tomatoes. Annette is Managing Director of Commonsense Marketing Pty Ltd, a publishing and marketing company, responsible for the editing, design and worldwide marketing of the How to Grow books, and other products. Commonsense Marketing also provides expert offline and online marketing consulting and design services to a variety of small to medium sized businesses.


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