This productive group of vegetables, known collectively as cucurbits, can fill space very quickly. Plant a few to get excellent yields and lots of weed-suppressing foliage, which will also help prevent the soil from drying out.

All cucurbits need full sun and are frost-tender. Wait until after the last frost before transplanting them outside and give winter squashes enough time to ripen before midfall—even a light frost will kill them. Cucurbits like rich soil and are thirsty plants, so never let them dry out. Some squashes are bushy, but others trail and can soon take over small spaces. Summer squashes and cucumbers grow well in large containers.


The climbing stems ...

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