help. i've accidentally adopted squash plants in my NYC apt!

New York, NY

Through some bizarre social circumstances on which I won't elaborate here, I've wound up with two little squash plants on the windowsill of my Manhattan apartment. I'm not sure how to proceed.

1. I cannot expect these plants to grow to maturity inside my high-rise apartment, right? Which means I need to figure out how to find them a home.

2. HOW should I care for them in the meantime? Pictures attached. Can you confirm that these are, in fact, squash?

It's important, due to the circumstances, that I don't just throw them out or let them die. I'm perfectly happy to give them care for the time being. I just have ZERO idea where to start! I have no gardening experience.

Your advice is appreciated! Thanks so much.

Thumbnail by neilisyours Thumbnail by neilisyours
Stanhope, NJ

Squash grow very large very fast. It will not be long now before you are going to have to buy them new containers, and even then, they will outgrow that and sprawl all over. I mean, depending on the variety, you would have just as much luck growing a pumpkin patch in your apartment. I would honestly just get them transplanted to a more permanent location as fast as possible....within a week or 2.

New York, NY

Thanks ech77. I'll get to work on finding a place for them to go.

In the meantime, anything I can do to increase the odds of their survival? Water a lot or a little?

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Is there a community garden near you? They would appreciate your donation or an elementary school garden? Meanwhile, water only when the soil gets dry maybe every other day. Never let them sit in a dish of water. They will rot. Plants grow well in damp soil not wet soil. Good luck with them. I too would hate to see them die.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Neil - your seedlings are very leggy, and I see that three of them are about to expire. The one good seedling does not have much chance of survival. :(

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I would say the plant need potting into a larger pot as the soil in the container they are right now is very dry, either this soil is not holding onto water or you are allowing the plants to dry out to much before giving more water.

As stated from others, these plants grow huge, they need plenty room for roots, a rich composted soil and watered as demand dictates.
Once there are a few more leaves growing on each plant then you may have to start feeding with an apropriate type of feed for indoor fruit.

There are a couple of the plants that are no hoper's, as the stems have been broken therefore the little plant cant continue to grow so to be honest, you may only have one/maybe two plants that are viable.

Hope this helps you out.
Good luck, WeeNel.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

They look like the seeds were sown in peat pellets but the netting was not removed before they were put in peat pots. If you do get a chance to put the 1 or 2 plants that aren't broken into larger pots be sure to carefully loosen the bottom part of the peat pots. Those peat pots can make regulating the watering difficult.

Tiskilwa, IL

One thing you can/should do right now to increase the odds of their survival is give them better light than they are getting from that window. Plants do have specific light-spectrum needs but in the short-term any lamp will be better than none, so grab a gooseneck lamp from somewhere and put it directly over those seedlings, right down close to them, not quite touching but really that close. (A fluorescent bulb sold as "sunlight" spectrum is best, & I think fluorescent is a bit better than incandescent in general.) The reason they are so spindly and "leggy" is that they're not getting the light they need--it's visible in the picture how the healthiest one is actually "leaning" toward the window for light. This kind of thing exhausts the plant and makes it fragile, so stopping the cycle now would be good.

Honestly, another thing you could do, that I might even do if it were me although it's a bit dishonest... but if someone is going to show up at your apartment and be heartbroken/angry that her seedlings are dead--and the chances of that are high--so what I would do is go and buy some squash seed, and then I would tuck a few seeds carefully into the pots (about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch into the soil) without disturbing the roots of the current seedlings. If the old seedlings die you may still have the new ones--and it's possible your friend won't know the difference. The reason I suggest this is, on a practical level as a gardener who wants a squash harvest by X date, I would toss those and plant new ones...

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I think neilisyours has left the garden!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

We may never know...

I remember a couple years ago, a kid wrote here, wanted to block part of his closet in the dorm room, and grow something. Love dhis spirit but,,,oh my..

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

sallyg - he could have grown mushrooms! LOL

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

That wasn't what I was thinking of. Lol

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

haha
I think he specifically said he wanted to fill the bottom of the closet with dirt, put a light, and grow cucumbers..SO he said....If I had more time I'd try to search that thread.

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