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. :-)

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Winter Squash

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 (not air).

Hoe Carefully


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.

Harvesting


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 well either.

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Storing


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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