Spring Garden Tips

Winter Squash

WinterSquash410px.jpg

Botanical Name

Cucurbita maxima, C. moschata, C. pepo

Hardiness

Annual

Height

18 to 36 inches

Width

3 to 15 feet

Flowers

Mid to late summer: yellow, edible

Fruit

Many shapes, colors and sizes including acorn, spaghetti, hubbard, turban and butternut

Light

Full sun

Soil

Moist, well-drained, warm

Planting and Care

Squash germinate best in warm soil temperatures of 70 F to 105 F.

Begin sowing when the soil has warmed to at least 70 F and all danger of frost has passed.

VINING: Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hill at a depth of 1 inch. Space hills 5 to 6 feet apart in rows 7 to 12 feet apart. Thin to 2 or 3 plants per hill.

SEMI-VINING: Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hill at a depth of 1 inch. Space hills 5 to 6 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart. Thin to 2 plants per hill.

BUSH: Sow 1 to 2 seeds per foot of row at a depth of 1 inch. Space rows 5 feet apart. Thin to 1 plant every 3 feet of row.

Mulch the soil to suppress weeds and retail soil moisture.

Mounding some soil around the base of the plants will help discourage squash vine borers from laying eggs.

Problems

Squash bug, squash vine borer, striped cucumber beetle, bacterial wilt, powdery mildew, viral disease, scab

Varieties to Consider

Tay-Belle - acorn type, semi-bush, dark green fruit

Pasta - yellowish cream fruit with good flavor

Emerald Bush Buttercup - bush type

Harvesting

Harvest winter squash when the rind is firm, glossy and the portion touching the soil has changed from cream to orange.

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