Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite squashes to eat, as it’s one of the only things I can eat still that’s similar to spaghetti. With fewer calories and full of nutrients, it’s a great meal! Even better, you can grow it from the seeds you take out of the plant you eat! In this article, you’ll find 5 easy tips for how to grow spaghetti squash from seed along with step by step instructions on what to do.
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It’s really difficult to find spaghetti squash in New Zealand, so when I found some I had to try and grow my own. This is how to grow spaghetti squash from seed and the tips I’ve learned from growing them, and how to grow them in containers rather than a garden!
Related: Zucchini Companion Plants
Getting The Seeds
The first step in growing spaghetti squash from seed is to get the seeds and plant them! Either harvest the seeds from the squash itself and rinse off, or buy a packet of seeds.
An easy way to start these seeds is by planting them in a small container, with soil. (A plastic cup with holes cut out of the bottom works well if you don’t have any small pots). If it’s still winter, start these indoors!
Tip 1: Start with extra seeds
Start with more seeds than you want plants, in case some of them don’t grow. Plant about 3 per container to start with. Once they do start sprouting, you can remove the ones that are the smallest or plant them all separately once they grow larger.
Put them in a sunny area, and water occasionally (even if you don’t see sprouts).
Tip 2: You need patience!
Especially if using seeds straight from the squash, these will take a while to germinate (it could be a month or 2 before you see growth). It just takes time to grow spaghetti squash from seed.
*There is some produce you buy in stores that have been modified to not be able to produce new plants from the seeds. If it’s been 3 months and you don’t see any growth with occasional watering, this might be the case.
Let the Seeds Grow
Once you’ve got seedlings growing, it’s time to let them grow! Keep them in their small containers for another week or 2, and have at least 2 new leaves (not the ones that popped out of the seed). This way they have time to develop some roots and the strength to move.
Next in how to grow spaghetti squash from seed is to move the plants to a bigger space.
Transfer the Seedlings
Transfer the seedlings to a larger space, whether that’s an outdoor plot, or a larger container. Separate the seedlings further away from one another, to allow them extra space to move. You can move them directly to their final growing space here, or use another size pot in-between.
Tip 3: Don’t overwater!
Overwatering is a huge issue with any plant, as if you over water and there’s nowhere for the water to go, the roots may rot and the plant may die. 4 ways to keep from overwatering:
- Check the soil before watering by touching and seeing if it’s still damp an inch down. If it is, don’t water! (Remember that week to week, the plant may have different requirements depending on how sunny it was, how large the root system is, and if there are any fruits growing.)
- Use a terracotta pot so that water can not only escape from the hole at the bottom, but also from the sides. (This does mean you’ll have to water it more often though)
- Only water where the plants are, and not until water is coming out of the holes in the bottom – if the seedlings have just been moved to a larger pot, just water lightly near where the stem is, and not all the way through to the bottom of the pot!
- If you do overwater and after a few days the plant still looks overwatered, repot the plant with fresh, dry soil. Do not water!
Growing Spaghetti Squash – Final Pot Size
The next step (if you haven’t already) is to move them to their final pot size. Many places say to plant one squash per 5 gallon container. But I’ve had luck with more in that one size container. It just might get root bound/not grow as well. This could also be planting your spaghetti squash seedlings into your vegetable garden now too!
You can grow these completely indoors, but you may get ants! Just beware. But I have had success growing them inside and producing squash.
Tip 4: Use a Booster To Grow Faster
This is completely optional, but there are boosters to make the plants grow faster, especially if you’re planting them at the wrong time of the year. This may help speed the plant’s growth and get you spaghetti squash faster!
Flowers and Pollenating
The most exciting part about these plants is when you see the flowers and are ready to pollenate to grow fruit!
There are 2 different types of flowers that grow on the plant, male and female. There will be a lot of male flowers at first, and then eventually some female flowers. But the ratio will be dramatically different. These flowers will open and close within about one day!
The male flowers will be just skinny stems directly to the flower, and the female flowers will have a small bulge right under the flower. It’s a very noticeable difference.
Tip 5: Know When To Pollenate
Try to not pollenate the first or second female flower. If you’ve got these plants outside, take off the first flowers so it doesn’t get accidentally pollenated. This way the plant has more time to put it’s energy into making a strong root system rather than putting everything it has into making a fruit.
Pollenate the Squash Yourself
Learning how to grow spaghetti squash from seed, there’s an important piece to focus on. Many plants don’t need to be pollenated (like beans) for the fruit to grow, as those are seed pods and will grow whether or not they’ve been pollenated.
Spaghetti squash do require the female flowers to be pollenated. It’s really easy to pollenate yourself! Pick one of the male flowers off of a plant (it can even be the same plant as the female flower is on) and rub inside of the female flower. Or take a q-tip and wipe some pollen from a male flower onto the female flower. Just remember the flowers are only open for about 12-24 hours!
Keep watering these plants and watch the fruit grow. Once they are yellow and the right size for you, remove and enjoy!
If, for whatever reason, your plant dies before the squash grows to a full size to eat, take the squash off, break it gently, and put it all in soil. It will take a few months, but there should be new growth!
(Here is an easy way to cook spaghetti squash and my favorite thing to do with it is put pesto on, and any extra seeds you don’t want to grow you can easily roast like pumpkin seeds!) Looking for other plants to grow in your vegetable garden? Try growing onions from scraps!
Want to keep these plant ideas for later? Save them to Pinterest!