How to Grow Summer Squash & Zucchini
If you are starting from seed, sow directly in 3-4" pots three or four weeks before transplanting. If you prefer to sow directly in the garden soil, wait until temperatures have become steadily warm and the soil is a minimum of 60 F. Squash will tolerate cold conditions when mature, but frost will kill tender seedlings. Choose a location that receives full sun that has been amended with ample compost or manure. Sow seeds every 4", eventually thinning to 12" between plants. Allow 5' between rows.
Squash needs consistently moist soil for peak performance. The plants are heavy feeders and will benefit from a good dose of fish emulsion when they are planted and when fruit sets. The other key to continuous production is to pick the fruits, even if you can't eat them all. Squash and zucchini taste better when they are harvested small, and by picking the tender young fruits you encourage the plant to produce more. If fruits set on the plant and begin to develop mature seeds within, the plant will begin to curtail production.
If you wish to harvest squash blossoms, cut them cleanly with a knife or scissors when they are fully open, usually around mid day. Keep in mind that if you remove the female flowers you will diminish the fruit production of the plant.
When you harvest your squash, keep cool in the refrigerator and eat within a week.