So, let’s talk about squashes; are they fruits or vegetables? If you think they’re vegetables, we understand why you feel that way. However, squashes are many people’s favorite cookable fruits, and we are in love with summer squash in particular.
That’s mainly because unlike with winter squashes, you can enjoy summer squashes on the go without cooking them, although if you do prefer to cook them there are numerous ways to relish them. Summer squashes generally give you the best of both worlds. What’s there not to love?
Is variety the spice of your life? If the answer to that is yes then you must know that there are more varieties of summer squash out there other than zucchini and yellow squash. Those are fantastic summer squash varieties, but they’re also only the most popular ones. You haven’t savored the whole goodness of this fruit that keeps giving if you haven’t explored more.
There are hundreds of summer squash varieties to love and enjoy. We’ll introduce you to some amazing ones in this article. So, get on the adventure. You never can tell what delicious treasures you’ll find hidden in your new summer squash discoveries.
The Best Summer Squash Varieties for Your Garden
Our favorite summer squashes are crookneck, yellow straightneck, zucchini, and scallops. These are the absolute best choices of summer squashes for your home gardens.
Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) have their origin in America; however, the Italians were the first to cultivate them. They are classically green, but there are yellow and striped varieties too. Some heirloom zucchini have beautiful round and oval shapes.
They can grow pretty big, but like most summer squashes they will likely lose their sweetness the bigger they get. So for the best-flavored zucchini bread and meals you should go for smaller and firmer zucchini squashes.
Crookneck and Yellow straightneck squashes are two types of yellow summer squashes. These varieties have different shapes, flavors, and harvest times. A significant difference between both types of yellow summer squashes is the absence of crooks or curved ends in yellow straight necks. Straight Necks look more like a club, with both narrow and thick ends.
Scallops (or patty pans) are round, flattened with ridges at the sides, just like pie pans. Kids particularly find them fun to eat, especially as they look like tiny spaceships too. You can cook scallops with whatever method you prefer, and it allows you to get creative with them to make your dishes look pretty. We find roasting our patty pans the easiest way to enjoy the perfect flavors and textures.
You’ll find some of our best summer squash varieties below:
The pretty popular Early Prolific is a straight neck heirloom variety of yellow summer squashes. Their bright yellow colors, straight tapered shapes, and bumpy skins (sometimes smooth) make them conspicuous and hard to miss. It’s an American favorite that won the 1938 All-America Selections Prize for its impressive quality and the ability to cultivate easily.
Early Prolific grows as a bush vine with beautiful yellow flowers, and like its name, is highly fruitful. As such, a few plants can produce enough for you and your family. It typically germinates in less than ten days
This summer squash variety matures early, and is usually ready to harvest in 48-55 days. Harvesting Early Prolific straightneck summer squashes frequently will lead them to produce more fruits soon after. Late harvesting prevents it from producing as much as you’d love it to.
As a yellow summer squash, Early Summer has some similarities to Early Prolific. Like the Early Prolific, Early Summer is typically ready for harvesting in less than 50 days and has a beautiful light yellow color. It’s also an open-pollinated heirloom variety. However, early summer is a crookneck summer squash, and grows as compact bushes instead of bushy vines.
Early Summer crookneck summer squash has a meaty texture and juicy flavor. They love lots of sunlight and don’t do so well in cold seasons. Like an heirloom, Early Summer squash is very productive and requires frequent harvesting to thrive. The best time to plant this squash is between March and June when the soil is warm.
Upon maturity, this summer squash can grow up to 2 feet high and 4 feet in diameter. There are many ways to enjoy early summer squash. You can fry or bake it, just consume it fresh on its own, or even make it into a salad.
Superset (or supersett), like typical crooknecks, has a beautiful bright yellow color and sweet flavor. Its unique characteristics include bearing fruits considerably earlier than other squashes, as well as also producing astonishingly high yields. If you want to enjoy yellow summer squashes early on and then all summer, you’ve got the best summer squash variety here.
Superset crookneck thrives best in full sun, warm temperatures, and well-drained/fertile soils. Their seeds take about 7-10 days to germinate. They grow as spiny, open bush plants and are typically ready for harvest at between 40-50 days. For the juiciest and tastiest flavors, the best time to harvest supersets is when they’re about 4 inches long.
Supersets’ unique, delicious and nutty flavor makes it one of our go-to summer squash varieties. It’s resistant to mildew even, but it’s one squash that doesn’t attract beneficial butterflies.
Like early prolific, Caserta is an all-time American favorite, clinching the All-America Selections awards in 1949. It’s no surprise, though, as this Cocozelle-type Zucchini is a combination of everything you’ll love in fruits. First, it’s a fascinating sight with its light-green skin and dark-green stripes which produce a beautiful contrast. Its flesh is creamy, and combined with its full, rich flavors; there’s everything to love about this summer squash goodness.
To get the best of Casertas, harvest them when they are about four to six inches long, and have them steamed, stir-fried, or sauteed. You can also grill them with your favorite spices or seasonings and enjoy a refreshing evening with friends and family.
Caserta germinates within 7-14 days, and is typically ready for harvest in 50-65 days. They’re heirlooms with excellent yields that make the perfect squashes for a get-together.
A glance at Green Tiger summer squash will tell you that it’s different, and amazingly so. Green Tiger is a bold-striped zucchini with a glossy and inviting appeal. They’re tasty, slightly crunchy, cylindrical summer squashes, and like their name, remind you of a tiger if it were all green.
One of the most striking qualities of this squash is its high resistance to diseases, especially the watermelon mosaic virus and zucchini yellow mosaic virus. This European hybrid cultivar is a rare variety rich in vitamin C and minerals. It makes for an excellent and delicious addition to numerous recipes. We love the extra sweet flavors it adds to muffins and fresh salads.
You should wait for your Green Tigers to grow up to 8 inches before harvesting them. They take about 55-6o days to reach full maturity.
Do you want a bountiful harvest of delicious yellow summer squash varieties? Pic-N-Pic crookneck squash hybrid was specially bred for you. This golden-yellow summer squash is highly prolific and is perfect for a large family. What’s more, Pic-N-Pic ripens early, so you don’t have to wait long before you can enjoy your favorite summer squash.
The best time to harvest Pic-N-Pic is when it’s about 4-6 inches long. If you don’t have much garden space you don’t have to worry when you plant these squashes, as they don’t take up much space.
They take about 50 days to reach maturity, which makes for an easy harvest with their 3-4 foot spread and almost 3 feet height. The fruits grow to about 8 to 10 inches at maturity. Unfortunately, this summer squash is prone to several specific diseases, especially powdery mildew, black rot, alternaria leaf spot, and mosaic virus.
Zephyr is a yellow crookneck hybrid cultivar that was made to stand out. With its unique features, there’s no mistaking this summer squash variety for any other. Unlike many other yellow squashes, Zephyr is two-color toned with green bottoms and a light yellow hue covering the remaining parts. Across the green and yellow colors, it has faint but unmistakable white stripes.
This hybrid was developed by Rob Johnson of Johnny Seeds in 1999. He crossed a yellow crookneck squash with a combination of delicata and acorn squash.
Zephyrs are one of the most beautiful and colorful yellow summer squashes. Like its looks, Zephyrs’ tasty nutty flavor is worth craving. This squash variety typically germinates in 4-10 days and requires well-watered soil to thrive.
The best time to harvest Zephyr is when it’s about 4-6 inches, after 53 days. They’re easy to grow, especially in full sun. Zephyr also has edible flower blossoms and leaves, and produces abundant yields.
Ronde de Nice
Ronde De Nice (Rond de Nice, French Round, or Round French) are round French heirloom Zucchini varieties. They go way back to the 1800s. Ronde de Nice summer squash varieties are sweet and succulent. They also have high resistance against specific diseases and pests.
French rounds are milky-green in color and can grow as large as 4 inches upon maturity. They’re open-pollinated summer squashes with incredibly tender skins. While harvesting you must handle them with care, as they bruise easily. It’s the same reason that this French variety isn’t a grocery store staple.
Rond de Nice matures in 52 to 60 days. However, like other Zucchini, it’s best not to allow them to grow too big. Overmature Ronde de Nice squashes tend to lose their flavor with time. Like other squashes, the Round French summer squash loves its sunlight.
The Lioness yellow summer squash is the best choice for gardeners who have had it rough with plant diseases. If you’re wondering how this straightneck squash got its name, you have its high disease tolerance to thank for it. It’s particularly resistant to papaya ringspot virus, Zucchini yellow mosaic virus, watermelon mosaic virus, and cucumber mosaic virus.
The Lioness straightneck summer squash variety produces a smooth and attractive fruit with light yellow color and green stem. This fruit is high-yielding and bursting with rich, tasty flavors.
Upon maturity, Lioness summer squash is about 2.5 inches tall and 3 inches wide. They weigh little and mature within 41-50 days. The best time to harvest Lioness squash is when it’s about 6 or 7 inches in length, and it germinates within 6 to 12 days.
The greenish-gray-colored zucchini also goes simply by “Grey,” ” Mexican Gray,” and “Tender Gray.” The Gray Zucchini summer squash has firm skin and tender flesh. Popular in Mexico and the Southwest, this summer squash variety is tasty and has a high resistance to diseases and heat. Gray zucchini adapts to numerous places but thrives excellently in arid regions.
The Tender Gray Zucchini is high-yielding and produces fruits about 6 or 7 inches. It typically takes 45-60 days to mature. Gray Zucchini grows into an approximately 24 inches-sized bush plant.
You can enjoy this Zucchini raw or cooked. It’s a beautiful addition to salads and noodles. This summer squash is bursting with lots of nutrients to keep you healthy all summer. It also promotes weight loss, healthy digestion, healthy vision and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
Sunburst is a scallop or patty pan variety with high-yield potentials, powdery mildew resistance, and a crunchy texture. It’s a 1985 All-America Selections Winner, and also one of the greatest-tasting summer squashes. That’s especially when it’s harvested early. The Sunburst squash is nicknamed after its bright yellow with dark green sunburst-pattern appearance.
Sunburst squash has creamy white flesh. Its buttery and delicious flavor adds to its uniquely rich taste. The best time to harvest sunburst squash is when it’s about 4-6 inches, and its skin is still noticeably shiny. It’s a hybrid plant that requires adequate sun to grow well.
This patty pan summer squash is ready to harvest at about 50-55 days and germinates within 4 to 10 days. Sunburst scallop summer squash loves to be well-watered and offers a variety of ways to enjoy it. You’ll love its roasted taste.
Cocozelle Zucchini Summer Squash (Cocozella di Napoli) is a premium Zucchini with dark-green skin and light green stripes. It’s an Italian bush-type heirloom with less water content than other Zucchini. It’s savory and tender, with a delicious nutty taste. While many prefer to harvest it about 6 inches long, the Italians eat theirs at about 2 inches. Sometimes the flower doesn’t open before they pluck this squash.
Cocozelle summer squash sprouts within 4 to 6 days, and is mature for harvest at 45 to 60 days. It’s pretty much heat-resistant and can still produce high yields even in specific extreme heat conditions and cold winds. You can boil, grill, or bake this squash in Zucchini bread. Like other Zucchini, Cocozelle squashes that stay too long before picking can lose their flavor, so it’s best harvested early and often.
There are few summer squashes as distinct and beautiful as the Golden Zebra Summer Squash Variety. With its attractive golden flesh and faint white stripes, Golden Zebra is bound to be everybody’s favorite. It sprawls in a way that allows it to produce more fruits while minding your garden space. It’s impossible to miss this delightful plant as it grows.
Golden Zebra summer squash is as delicious as it’s colorful. It has a meaty texture and is extremely tasty. The best time for picking this fruit is before it grows up to 8 inches. As always, ensure that you don’t wait for the fruits to get too large before harvesting. It’s mature and ready for harvest between 50-60 days.
The Golden Zebra doesn’t do so well with excess water though. Too much moisture can predispose it to powdery mildew and downy mildew diseases.
We’ve never met anyone who didn’t pause in their tracks for a moment to admire the beauty of the Golden Egg Squash when they see it for the first time. Golden Egg Summer Squash is a member of the round and oval squash varieties. Shaped like an egg, the Golden Egg summer is cute as it comes, and gets its name from the combination of its shape and bright yellow color. Many describe its fruit as “picture perfect,” “eye-catcher,” and “well-behaved.”
It’s incredibly productive and matures early—it takes just 41 days to be ready for picking at about 4 inches. So, if you’re looking for a squash variety to enjoy in a short period of time then here you have it! What’s more, it’s easy to grow and has an incredibly creamy and nutty taste. They’re precisely what you’ll need for stuffing.
Bennings Green Tint
If you’re used to seeing only yellow patty pans, this Bennings Green Tint Summer Squash may be a shocker for you; that’s until you take a bite and savor its rich, creamy toothsomeness and then can’t have enough of it. It’s one of the best-tasting summer squashes on our list.
Bennings Green Tint Summer Squash has light green and white saturations, especially as they mature. Also called “Bennings Green Tint” and “Benning White Bush,” this summer variety dates back to the late 18s when Charles N. Farr developed them. Farr, a market grower from Benning in Washington, D.C, for this taste, early maturity, feel, and appearance.
This Bennings Green Tint Scallop is ready for harvest in about 55 days. Again, it’s best to harvest this fruit as frequently as possible.
Panache Jaune et Vert
Panache Jaune et Vert is a highly productive, beautiful, open-pollinated French heirloom. Its other names include “Patisson Panaché Jaune et Vert,” “Variegated Scallop,” and “Patisson Panache Green and Yellow.” Sometimes, this squash is a milky-white fruit with dark-green-colored streaks. Other times, the milky-white is yellow, or it has no apparent streaks.
Regardless of their varied coloring, however, this squash variety has a great taste, raw or baked. Panache Jaune et Vert germinates in 5-10 days and requires full sun. It’s easy to cultivate and matures relatively early too. Variegated Scallop summer squash grows as a bush, taking 60-90 days to reach maturity.
The best time to harvest this squash is when it’s about 6 to 8 inches. You know it’s at its best when your nails can prick the squash’s skin.
Tatume (also Tatuma or Calabacita) is a rare variety of vining plants known for their versatility, high yields, and rich flavors. It’s a summer and winter squash. It’s also the best compliment for many Mexican meals. We find it to be the sweetest summer squash we’ve ever tasted. Calabacita blooms very well and is a beauty to look at; its flowers are great for stuffing too.
Tatume squash produces a striped, greenish-gray, and round fruit, and looks like a bit of pumpkin or watermelon. However, they can keep growing till they’re the size of a soccer ball. For the best flavor, texture, and taste though, the best time to harvest Tatuma is when they’re about 10 to 12 inches, or about the size of a baseball or softball. This squash matures at about 65 days. You’ll love making your Tatumes into casseroles.
Rheinau Gold is an open-pollinated, organic variety of the yellow zucchini. It’s one of the most reliable zucchini producers, grows in an open bush habitat, and has a flavorful taste. Rheinau Gold Zucchini summer squash makes for quality eating, especially as it has fragile skin that doesn’t require peeling.
Rheinau Gold is a fairly new variety of zucchini. It gets its name from Sativa Rheinau, the Swiss biodynamic seed company that developed it. It typically grows smaller than a regular green zucchini, and may be ready for harvest after about 50 days.
Cube of Butter
Cube of Butter Summer Squash is a favorite for many summer squash lovers. It has a butter-yellow color and, like a cube of butter, maintains a buttery flavor. You can always count on its buttery flavor whether you cook it or eat it raw. It also retains its rich flavor and taste at any size you choose to harvest it.
Cube of Butter Summer Squash produces bountifully and continuously. It’s easy to harvest and will typically be ready for picking in 50 days. It also has excellent disease-resistant qualities, especially against downy mildew, podi virus, and zucchini yellow mosaic virus.
Here’s another unique All-America Selections prize winner, clinching the award for its prolificity and tastiness in 1957. Black Beauty Summer Squash is a popular open-pollinated heirloom that’s easy to cultivate, seed-saving, and matures in 50-55 days. It has the perfect size at about 8 inches. Its quality flavors, especially at 4.5 inches, will leave you amazed.
Black Beauty has a skin color range of glossy dark green to black. Its flesh is creamy white and tender—just how you’ll love to eat zucchini. It loves full sun and thrives well under warm conditions. As a bush-type zucchini, Black Beauty grows to a height of about 2 feet, with a 3-4 feet spread.
Costata Romanesco makes the final entry in our list of favorite summer squashes for your garden. As its name suggests, Costata Romanesco is an excellent Italian open-pollinated heirloom with unique flavors. It’s nutty, delicious, and has a perfect texture. This summer squash matures in 60 days and is best picked when it’s about 6 to 8 inches.
We prefer to use Costata Romanesco as a perfect addition to salads and omelets. If you’re not a zucchini lover, this distinctive summer squash variety will change your mind.
Selecting and Storing Summer Squash
Regardless of variety, you get the best squash when you learn to select and store them properly. When choosing squash, ensure that you don’t pick the rotten and rotten ones. You can tell by the way the skins look. Squashes with shriveled skins or bruises aren’t the best for plucking. When picking summer squashes, you’re looking for firm ones with no wrinkling or soft spots.
If you’ve got a bountiful supply of summer squash varieties then you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. To make your squashes retain their taste for longer, you can slice and stem them for a short time. Then, place them into freezer bags and freeze them. Your summer squash varieties will last many months with this technique.
Picking the Best Seeds – Recommended Summer Squash Varieties
Now that you’ve learned about delicious varieties of summer squashes, how do you check them out for yourself? We’ve found that the best way to access your favorite summer squash varieties is by planting them yourself. That way, you get to enjoy a summer squash that’s uniquely yours, whenever and however you want them.
Here’s a breakdown of the best summer squash seeds we recommend for anyone who wants to hop on this exciting and “squashy” adventure:
1. Organic Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
Are yellow crookneck squashes your favorites? Then these organic, garden-friendly squash seeds will give you a run for your money. The organic yellow crookneck comes in easily-available packets that keep moisture locked away with its resealable zippers.
So you can be sure of long-lasting seeds that remain viable for up to five years. The seeds are also free from pesticides and make for a seamless, fast, and rewarding planting experience.
2. Burpee Saffron Summer Squash Seeds
And as they come with 100 seeds per packet this is one purchase decision you’ll always be proud of. It’s an excellent choice for a bountiful harvest, even while using little garden space.
Beautiful to look at, the Burpee Saffron plants can grow up to 30″ high with larger plant spreads.
More amazingly, you don’t have to wait too long to savor their deliciousness, as they ripen pretty quickly. What’s not to love about them?
3. Straight Neck Yellow Summer Squash
This disease-resistant straightneck squash harvests quickly and gives you numerous options for relishing its goodness. If you don’t have much garden space available then these summer squash seeds will serve you well. They can grow beautifully in containers and can even enhance your curb appeal by placing them on your patios.
4. Spaghetti Squash Seeds
If you're a pasta lover but need to cut down on the carbs, then, we've got good news. You don't need to miss out on your cravings, as the low-carb spaghetti squash is a perfect replacement for spaghetti. You can now enjoy the best of both worlds.
The spaghetti squash grows as a vine and, as such, are fast growers. You can also produce shade and save space for your garden by training them up into a trellis. You can trust this summer squash variety to produce bountifully, with many fruits per vine.
5. Zucchini, Delicata, Butternut, Spaghetti and Golden Crookneck
This pack provides you with five of your favorite summer and winter squashes in one go! You get 3 grams per packet of delicata, golden crookneck, butternut, black beauty zucchini, and spaghetti squashes. So, it relieves the stress of sourcing them from numerous places.
With this variety mix you’ve got the perfect starter kit for your summer squash garden to thrive. Amazingly, it comes with plant markers that can help you take note of different seed spots in the garden.
As a new gardener, you’ll have an exciting experience growing your squash garden with these easy-to-grow squash seeds. This variety mix is the best way to enjoy many different squash varieties for little cost.
6. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Heirloom Summer Squash
These 7 grams packets of 60 black beauty zucchini squash seeds are best planted in the late spring. They have high-germination rates. As premium, tested, and trusted heirloom seeds, they are guaranteed non-GMOs, and you can keep saving them year after year.
In addition, harvesting these fruits early will encourage them to yield more. So it’s excellent value for your money. For us this delicious black beauty zucchini squash is a convenient 10/10.
7. Scallop Squash Seeds
They’re tender squashes, grow best in full sun, and are perfect for harvest when they reach 4-6″ in diameter.
Low in calories and carbs, scallop squash seeds are excellent sources of Vitamin A. They are the perfect blend of great nutrition, gardening fun, and value for money.
Here we have some frequently asked questions about summer squash varieties. We’ve answered them for you here.
What is the Best Summer Squash?
There’s no overall best summer squash. All summer squash varieties are unique in their ways, and it all depends on your preferences. If you’re looking for the best ones to grow, though, you could go with the yellow crookneck squash.
Yellow crookneck squash is particularly easy to grow. However, it’s one of the most common summer squashes. So, it’s likely not the best choice if you’re looking for something different.
For nutrition, pattypan or scallop, zephyr, and zucchini take the spotlight. Patty pan is particularly low in calories. So, if you’re on a weight loss journey, the patty pan squash may serve you best.
What is the Sweetest Summer Squash?
Calabacita or Tatume squash is perfect for whenever you crave a flavorful squash day. It has more flavors than many other summer squash varieties, and tastes uniquely delicious. It’s to summer squashes what butternut squash is to winter squashes.
However, some people may love the taste of Panache Jaune et Vert better and refer to it as the most flavorful summer squash. Like Tatume, it’s notably sweeter than many other summer squashes. So, it’s all up to you to make your best choice.
Is Yellow Squash and Summer Squash the Same Thing?
Summer squash is a broad term that classifies tender and flavorful squashes that farmers harvest before full maturity. They include zucchini, scallops, and yellow squashes. While all yellow squashes are summer squashes, not all summer squashes are yellow squashes.
What Are the 4 Types of Squash?
Squash is from the Cucurbitaceae family and has four species— C. pepo, C. mixta, C. maxima, and C. squashes are also broadly classified as summer and winter squash. Both types of squashes combined have more than a hundred varieties.
The most common varieties of winter squash include acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash. The typical summer squash varieties include zucchini, scallop, yellow squash, and round and oval.
What Is the Most Popular Squash?
Yellow squash and zucchini are the most popular summer squash varieties. They’re usually the first varieties that come to mind when anyone says “summer squash.”
There are so many more summer squash varieties to discover and explore. When you do so, you’ll also find that there are numerous ways to enjoy these tasty fruits.
Before then, though, these varieties you’ve just learned of can guide you in growing excellent summer squashes to be proud of.
What are your favorite varieties so far? Are there any specific summer squash varieties you’d like us to know about? We’d love to hear more suggestions from you.