The Patty Pan squash plant is one of my very favorite to grow. For a squash plant it takes up minimal space in the garden and produces delicious little squash. Also known as Scallop Squash, Patty Pan is a mild flavored summer squash. This beautiful squash plant is small, scalloped, and round making it a fun addition to any garden.
What is Patty Pan Squash?
The First time I grew Patty Pan squash, my mother-in-law affectionately referred to them as the "pac- man squash". The saucer like shape of the Patty Pan makes it an especially fun squash to grow and harvest with your children. Patty pan is a small round summer squash variety that comes in several colors including yellow and green.
Growing Patty Pan Squash
As with anything in the garden the best way to insure the success of your plants is to start with good garden soil. Patty pan like most summer squash plants need ample spacing between plants for air circulation and ease of harvest. Start by planting squash seeds 8 inches apart, press them into the soil 1 inch deep. Water well. Thin and transplant seedlings to a minimum of 3 feet apart (If using seed starts, also plant them 3 feet apart). These squash seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days at 85°F (29°C) or warmer. Do not transplant patty pan squash plants into the garden until after the soil has warmed to at least 70°F (21°C).
Growing Patty Pan Squash in pots
Patty pan is a great squash variety to grow in pots or containers. They are not typically trellising squash and by growing them in separate containers you typically will allow them the space to get proper sunshine water and soil nutrients as well as ample circulation.
Patty pan plants have both male and female blossoms and they both need to be present for pollination to occur. Having multiple plants will increase the chance of pollination. If you don't think your squash plants are getting pollinated naturally you can use a paintbrush to pollinate, for more information on self pollinating your squash plants read my article on how to self polinate your garden plants.
How long does the patty pan squash plant take to grow?
Patty Pan squash grows quickly (in about 55 days) and can be harvested throughout the warmer months, typically until the first hard freeze of the season. Patty Pan skin is thin and tender making them edible unlike their cousins the winter squash varieties. I tend to harvest Patty Pan squash when they are very small about the size of a golf ball. If you let them grow for too long the skin will become tough and bitter.
How many patty pan squash per plant?
Each patty pan squash plant can grow up to several dozen squash per plant when properly cared for.
Types of Patty Pan Squash
When Choosing what varieties of Patty Pan to plant, I recommend hybrid versions because there is more of a guarantee that you'll get the squash you are expecting. Open-pollinated varieties produce fruit true to type if they are allowed to cross-pollinate only with other plants of the same variety. If they cross with other varieties of the same species, their seed and fruit will not be what you expected.
Hybrid varieties are those produced from the crossing of two different inbred lines. They are also typically bred for a specific reason, like resistance to disease etc. There are also some great Heirloom Varieties of Patty Pan. These are typically open pollinators, but have proven to produce the same squash for years.
• Peter Pan scalloped from 2½ to 3 inches across at harvest. Peter Pan is light green with a small blossom end scar. Peter Pan has a pale green flesh and is meaty. Best enjoyed when they are the size of a lemon
• Scallopini has medium fluting. Scallopini has dark green speckled skin similar to a zucchini. Scallopini has a sweet, nut-like flavor.
• Sunny Delight is a medum-size hybrid scallop squash. Very similar to Sunburst squash but without the green marking at the blossom and stem ends. Sunny Delight is light butter yellow colored and and flavorful. This squash requires 45 frost-free days to mature.
There are several other varieties of Patty Pan but the three mentioned above are my absolute favorite. If you're interested in an heirloom varieties I recommend this.
Harvesting and Cooking Patty Pan
In order to get the most nutrition out of your summer squash it is important to harvest at the right time and include the edible outer skin in your recipe. It is important to note you absolutely can and should eat the skin of Patty Pan Squash along with other summer squash varieties. The skin is where the highest concentrations of beta-carotene and fiber are located. Patty Pan is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium (source).
You can prepare Patty Pans just as you would any summer squash. They can be roasted, fried, grilled, or stuffed. I love to steam the smaller ones, and don't forget about the squash blossoms. They are delicious fried or stuffed with goat cheese! For some great patty pan squash recipes you can check out this article.
Patty Pan Squash Recipes
- Sautéed patty pan squash with garlic and herbs
- Simple roasted patty pan squash