growing and harvesting winter squashes

Growing and harvesting winter squash

This is a blog post on growing and harvesting winter squash. Winter squash can be a few different varieties. Winter squashes are all from the cucurbit family and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The taste does vary as well some are easier to grow than some. I have grown this last year for the first time in my garden successfully. In previous years, I have previously tried to grow a pumpkin, a type of winter squash but the fruit didn’t swell much. This time I grew this variety called Pumpkin Berrettina from Franchi, a long white marrow, courgette thrombocino (Albenga), and another variety. It is hard to tell the variety one is growing as the foliage looks similar till it starts to fruit. The results are down below. Marrows are not part of winter squashes and need to eat immediately. but I have photographed them together with the winter Cucurbita and pumpkin.

Winter squashes grown in the garden

Winter squashes are different from summer squashes like courgettes as their skin are much tougher and can last thru the winter season.

Growing and harvesting winter squash

To get growing winter squashes is to buy young seedlings from garden centers or online or start them from seed. It is possible to grow from seeds save from supermarkets but I wouldn’t recommend growing from them as it might produce bitter-tasting squashes with among other factors. Which can cause symptoms of stomach cramps and diarrhea when eaten. Start sowing the seeds from early March and plant them out when the soil warms up. At least when the last sign of frost is over. Plant out too early the squashes might not survive the cold night time weather. Any nighttime temperature is below 6 degrees Celcius is not great for squashes. another option is to use cloches and horticultural fleeces. In the early season there won’t be much growth but come late May and June it will start growing rapidly. Winter squashes need a lot of space to grow and climb. i grew mine in an old greenhouse frame. they will also need regular watering and feeding with some fish blood and bone plant food or high potash like tomato feed. This will help to produce more fruits.

growing and harvesting winter squashes
A range of winter squashes

Do protect the squashes from predators like squirrels as they love to try to get paws on it. A bit of scratches wouldn’t matter so much but it’s when they get beyond that the squashes are useless. I have use chilli powder and automated water spray to deter them away. Do use any methods that works.

squash and courgette plants

Harvesting winter squashes

Young cucurbita on plant

The winter squashes are ready to harvest when the skin on the fruit starts to harden. It can be kept for months. Some variety like the Delica variety is kept a month before eating. this is to allow for sugar in them to mature.

Thank you for reading and dropping by. Do have a look at my other blog post on growing courgette thrombocino. In which a summer as well as a winter courgette.

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