It's best to start cukes, squash and pumpkins in containers

Last Updated: 
June 11, 2008

EUGENE - Cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins are easy to grow in Oregon, once the seeds have sprouted. But the trick is getting the seeds to sprout in cool spring soil. Most years, cold, wet spring weather may cause those seeds to rot in the ground, not germinating at all.

To have an easier time germinating cucumbers, squash and pumpkins, start these seeds in containers, rather than in cold garden soil, recommend OSU Extension Service horticulturists Ross Penhallegon and Pat Patterson.

Recycled containers made of paper, including milk cartons with the tops cut off or cups can be used to start these seeds in. They need to be at least two to four inches deep. Punch drain holes in the bottom before filling with soil.

Use a good seed starting mixture that has been pasteurized, so the seeds don't get infected with fungal diseases.

Fill with starting soil then press the seeds, pointed end first, straight down into the soil. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked.

Place your planted containers in a sunny window, on the south side of your house, garage, wall or fence, cold frame or cloche or under a grow light.

Your seeds should germinate within a few days. Transplant the seedlings in the garden when there are at least three true leaves and the soil outdoors has warmed up to at least 60 degrees. Do not hold them in the containers longer than four weeks.

For current OSU Extension Service recommended vegetable varieties, please refer to the OSU Vegetable Variety Trials report, EM 8777.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Ross Penhallegon, Pat Patterson