Summer squash (zucchini, yellow, scallop) – Cucurbita pepo
Winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha) – C. pepo, C. moschata, C. maxima
Family Cucurbitaceae (Gourd family)
Summer squash grow on non-vining bushes in a variety of shapes and colors. Three main varieties include oblong zucchini, yellow straight or crooked neck, and saucer shaped scallop (also called patty pan). Winter squash vary in size, shape, and color. Some varieties grow as bush plants while others are considered creepers, requiring more space per plant. Unlike summer squash varieties, the shell or rind of winter squash (including pumpkin) hardens as the fruit matures. Some varieties are used for ornamental decorations while others are used specifically for cooking. Select squash varieties that are disease resistant when possible. Fruit set requires pollination by insects and bees from separate flowers on the same plant. The blossoms are also edible and can be prepared a number of ways.
Cultural practices such as proper site selection, soil preparation, planting, and watering are important for plant health, pest management and pest reduction when growing squash.
For more information about growing vegetables, visit the UC ANR California Garden Web website.