Growing Winter Squash In Your Garden

winter-squashes
Image by Rudi Riet

By Kathee Mierzejewski

If you have been wondering how to grow winter squash, you shouldn’t worry. Growing winter squash is no difficult task. These are easy vining plants that take over when they see fit and take the vegetable to the finish line. There are many different varieties, and all of them take all summer and fall to finish growing.

How to Grow Winter Squash

Winter squash can grow from a size large enough to be one serving on up to serving a table full of people at 12 pounds. Further, they take a long time to be ripe for harvest.

If you want to know when to plant winter squash, remember that it takes 80 to 110 days to fully ripen. Therefore, you should know that growing winter squash means planting it as soon as the chance of spring frost is over to make sure you have enough time before the first frost in late fall.

When to Plant Winter Squash

Growing winter squash can be done well into the winter, thus the name. These are hardy vegetables that can provide for you throughout the winter into the following spring. There are so many different varieties you can plant, and some of them make for a nice single meal when plopped into the oven by themselves with some brown sugar and butter.

Some popular winter squash varieties include:

You will know when to plant winter squash after the last frost is over. Just plant seeds directly into the ground. They will not grow until the ground warms up, but getting the seeds into the ground first thing after the last frost is imperative since it takes so long for them to ripen.

The best way how to grow winter squash is to plant the seeds in rich, well-drained soil. Put the seeds into hills and once they come up and grow to about two inches in height, thin the plants to three plants per hill, and put the plants three feet apart. This is how they grow best. Because they are vining plants, they do spread out, so soon you will see them take over each hill. As the vines come off the hill, you can weave them back on, but try not to overcrowd or move once the squash starts growing.

Harvesting Winter Squash

When you harvest winter squash, remember that these squash will last a long time indoors in a cool, dry place. Just thump the squash and see if it sounds somewhat hollow. This is how to tell when you should harvest winter squash. If it sounds hollow, it’s done! Just pick, store, cook and enjoy!

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