Sowing, Growing, Harvesting and Storing Winter Squash From The Home Vegetable Garden
Growing winter squash for storage is easy but this is one of the
vegetables I've never managed to like.
I used to grow all kinds of them for the family and even though the
growing was easy, the eating was not (for me). I do know that baked
squash with butter and a touch of brown sugar was a staple in the fall.
Growing Winter Squash
Sow the seed of all storing squash in the first week of June in zone 4.
Warmer zones can bump this up a week or two.
This ensures the soil temperatures are high enough for good germination
and ensures the plant flowers later after cool nights are over. Cool
nights prevent good pollination.
Plant in small hills at 4 seeds per hill. The hills should be six to
eight feet apart. Plant the seed approximately one half inch deep and
firm the soil on top of the seed to ensure it is in contact with soil
Remember that a growing winter squash plant is a shallow rooted plant
so weed with a hoe quite carefully to avoid cutting off feeder roots.
Do not allow to fully dry out in drought or you'll cut back your
Harvest before the first frost and allow the fruit to ripen outside for
a week or two to harden up the skins. Without this curing outdoors, the
squash might not overwinter well. Do not try to store unripe fruit but
eat immediately. Fruit that has been heavily frosted will not store
Store squash in a warmish (60F), dry space. Treat them gently to avoid
bruising and if you can, leave a space between fruit for air to
circulate and stop any mold from developing.
The only pest of major consequence is the squash bug. You can use
rotenone, neem, diatomaceous earth or handpicking to control them.
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