June is the time for cucurbits in the garden! Members of the cucurbit family include summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, cucumbers, and melons. They’re all heat-loving crops, that like to be planted outdoors after the last frost in spring and then generally die with the frosts of fall.
You can give your cucurbits a jump-start by seeding them indoors in May and then transplanting them outdoors in late May or early June. If you didn’t get around to that though, you can still start your cucurbits directly in the garden now. Winter squash and melons have a long growing season, so early June is your last chance to plant them in your garden if you want a chance at having mature fruit before the frost in fall. Summer squash and zucchini only have about 60 days from planting to maturity, so you can sow their seeds anytime in the next month and still expect to get weeks of production out of your plants.
With a family as big as the curcurbits, there’s so many members to tell you about! Success Summer Squash is a great yellow squash that I grow on my farm (Dirt Rich Farm) every year, because it has the disease resistance and pest tolerance to live up to its name. Many watermelon varieties can’t to ripen fruit in our short summers, but if you plant Sugar Baby Watermelon in early June, you’ll be able to harvest your own watermelon for a Labor Day picnic. It’s so easy to accidentally harvest winter squash too soon, only to find it has a pale interior and a bland flavor. However, the stripes on the bottom of the Delicata squash turn orange when it’s mature, taking the guess-work out of winter squash. If you want a cucumber for your salads that’s been reliably producing for decades in Upstate New York, Marketmore 76 Cucumber is a good bet. Other cucurbits the co-op sells are Dark Green Zucchini, Waltham Butternut Winter Squash, and National Pickling Cucumber.
Thanks for reading, and happy planting!