If you’ve ever over-planted squash, you’re not alone. Who among us hasn’t planted four or five zucchini plants when we could have got away with just one? Save yourself the trauma of eating mountains of zucchini bread by scaling back your squash plantings to just a couple of plants in a few different varieties.
Zucchini, yellow zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan, and Romanesco are all types of prolific summer squash that produce up to 20 fruits per vine. Acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, and spaghetti squash are the most popular types of winter squash that generally produce five fruits per plant.
Keep reading to uncover how many squash you can expect from each of the 10 most popular varieties, along with a few general tips on how to get the most profuse harvests out of your plants.
The 5 most popular summer squash varieties
Summer squash has a reputation for being a prolific vegetable, so much so that it’s hard to not get an abundant harvest off of just a few plants! Individuals and small families can usually feed themselves with only one or two vines.
If you’re wondering roughly how much summer squash you can get off of one plant, look no further. Use the following information as a guide to help you anticipate how many plants you’ll need to meet your family’s needs.
Of course, bear in mind that these averages are variable, and are calculated based on ideal growing conditions for summer squash: full sun, fertile soil, and consistent water.
1. How many zucchini per plant?
Who doesn’t love this classic garden vegetable? The straight, green squash is one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen–grilled, fried, roasted, shredded, or spiralized–there’s no end to the way that you can enjoy this tasty and nutritious squash.
Zucchini is just as multifaceted in the garden, too–if you’ve grown it before, you’ll know. With the proper care, you can expect to harvest around 20 fruits off of one plant! For the best flavor, pick zucchini when the fruits are between six and eight inches long. Check the plants every other day during the growing season, and if you miss one don’t despair! Shred larger fruits with a cheese grater to make excellent zucchini bread.
2. How many yellow zucchini per plant?
The only difference between green and yellow zucchini is the color, though some claim that the yellow cultivar has a slightly sweeter taste than green zucchini. Yellow zucchini can be cooked any way that you’d prepare green zucchini, but its unique color adds visual interest to meals.
The bushy plant starts producing in 45 to 55 days from transplanting, and won’t stop until frost–or until the plant contracts powdery mildew or squash bugs, whichever comes first. One of the highest-yielding vegetables, you can anticipate a harvest of up to 20 fruits from yellow zucchini plants throughout the growing season.
3. How many yellow crookneck squash per plant?
Crookneck squash behaves similarly to zucchini but produces fruit with a fun, gourd-like shape. Crookneck squash develops a thicker skin as it matures, so be sure to pick the fruit before it grows bigger than six inches.
Give crookneck squash about two feet in between plants to help cut down on disease and pest pressure, which will ultimately result in healthier harvests. Crookneck squash harvests are variable–when planted in fertile soil and watered consistently, you can expect up to 20 fruits from each plant.
4. How many pattypan squash per plant?
If you’re not already growing pattypan squash you should be! Also called scallop squash, pattypans have a shape reminiscent of a flying saucer or spinning top. Depending on the variety, pattypans come in shades of yellow or green or some combination of the two.
Pick pattypans when the widest part of the fruit is between two and four inches across. When properly cared for, each plant will produce at least 20 fruits. Pattypan squash is excellent grilled whole, or you can slice and cook it the same as you would zucchini.
5. How many Romanesco squash per plant?
Romanesco is a forgiving squash that doesn’t lose its sweet flavor as it grows bigger. An attractive plant in the garden, Romanesco squash has striped green and cream-colored “ribs.” This Italian heirloom boasts strong genetics with some powdery mildew resistance.
The average productivity of romanesco squash depends on when the fruits are harvested. Pick the fruits young and you’ll easily collect 20 throughout the season. Allow the fruits to get larger and you’ll pick fewer, but heavier fruits. Some chefs even use the blossoms in gourmet dishes.
The 5 most productive winter squash varieties
Winter squash is one of the greatest rewards of autumn. Most varieties of winter squash take up a significant amount of space, but the plants themselves are low-maintenance and produce several pounds of food by the end of the season.
Some growers use creative techniques like vertical trellising to grow winter squash in tight spaces. To do this, string a section of plastic netting or wire fencing in between two t-posts, and transplant or sow squash seeds at the base. Tie up the vines as they climb, and when the plants start producing fruit, tie a rag or a piece of netting underneath the developing squash to serve as a makeshift sling.
Because winter squash takes up so much space, it’s helpful to anticipate how much of a harvest you’ll get from each plant. While the following numbers aren’t guaranteed, they are a good estimate of how much produce you’ll get growing winter squash in ideal conditions.
1. How many acorn squash per plant?
Acorn squash, characterized by its distinct shape, is one of the most popular varieties of winter squash. The vigorous grower is typically ready to pick about two months after the young fruit is visible on the vine.
Acorn squash is a moderately productive variety–each vine will yield about five fruits, each weighing between one and three pounds, for an average total of 10 pounds of food per plant. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat all your acorn squash at once–this thick-skinned variety stores up to two months, so you can enjoy roasted acorn squash well into winter.
2. How many butternut squash per plant?
Everyone’s favorite winter squash is a workhorse in the garden. There are a number of different varieties of butternut squash, ranging in vine length from four feet to 12 feet, so there’s something to fit every garden.
Regardless of what variety you choose to grow, you can expect between three and six fruits off of each plant, weighing between two and five pounds each, for a variable harvest of between ten and thirty pounds.
Known for its naturally sweet flavor and versatility in recipes, butternut squash is definitely a must-grow. Butternut squash stores even longer than acorn squash–keeping fresh for up to three months when stored correctly.
3. How many delicata squash per plant?
Another classic winter squash and a kitchen staple is the delicious delicata squash. Dubbed ‘sweet potato squash’ for its sugary yellow flesh, delicata squash is easily recognizable due to its oblong shape and striped ribs. A bit softer than its cousins butternut and acorn, delicata has a tender, edible rind.
A healthy delicata vine will produce between 4 and 5 fruits a couple of pounds each, for a grand total of roughly ten pounds of food per plant. Stuff each half with a filling of quinoa or cheese, or cube and roast for a sweet, nutritious treat.
4. How many kabocha squash per plant?
Kabocha squash is a Japanese cultivar and a hybrid cross between delicata and buttercup squash. A beautiful squash, Kabocha typically has green skin mottled with pale spots, with sweet orange flesh. Like delicata, there’s no need to peel the skin–Kabocha’s soft outer rind is edible.
Kabocha is a moderately productive variety, producing between three and five fruits weighing around two or three pounds–so each vine is capable of producing up to 15 pounds of food in a year. Enjoy kabocha steamed, roasted, or use the sweet filling in a pie!
5. How many spaghetti squash per plant?
Spaghetti squash isn’t a newcomer to the health food world, but it is gaining traction with each passing year. Carb-counters who depend on pasta to power them through the week hold this incredible vegetable close. Spaghetti squash flesh, when cooked, takes on a stringy texture not unlike noodles.
Each spaghetti squash vine can be expected to produce three to five fruits ranging from four to eight pounds each, for a variable harvest of between 15 and 40 total pounds of food.
Squash, whether summer or winter, is one of the most productive vegetables in the garden. When you only need a couple of plants to feed a small family, it’s easy to grow too many vines and quickly become overwhelmed with produce!
When planning your garden, bear in mind that most summer squash varieties will produce up to 20 half-pound fruits in a season. Winter squash is much more variable–depending on the variety, you’ll see anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds per plant.
Use these numbers to approximate, but remember that growing conditions have a direct impact on how productive your squash plants will be. Plant squash in fertile, well-draining soil somewhere that receives full sun, and your plants will reward you with abundant yields!