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Winter squash    

Cucurbita maxima

Belonging to the Cucurbita genus, Winter squash has a botanical name of Cucurbita maxima.

Pumpkins grow on a spreading vine which may be trained to spread over a trellis or the roof of a building (shed, veranda). Generally they are grown at ground level where they may spread anywhere between a 1metre and 5 metres, depending on the variety.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Canary yellow. The mature flowers are of a funnel form. When ripe, fruit appear in these approximate colours:   Carrot orange. Leaves appear approximately as a   Dark spring green

It is a flowering edible vegetable / fruit and is treated mainly as an annual, so it grows best over the course of a single year.

Normally growing to a mature height of 50.0 cm (1.62 feet), Winter squash grows with a vinelike habit. This plant tends to bloom in early summer, followed by first harvests in late summer.

If you would like to attract bees to your garden, consider growing this plant.

Mexico is believed to be where Winter squash originates from.

Due to how easy it is to grow in a variety of conditions, Winter squash is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Winter squash have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Winter squash

  • Full Sun

  • Medium

In some circumstances fruit may rot and fall off before gaining any size, small losses are not necessarily a concern. If this problem persists then it may be attributed to a lack of pollination which can be remedied by hand pollinating. In the early morning, take a male flower (generally on a long stalk, no fruiting body present) and apply it to the female flower (small bulb or fruiting body, at the base of the flower) so as to transfer pollen from male to female, thus mimicking the action of pollinating insects.

Water the plant by dripper or applying water directly at soil level (soaker hose, etc.), no splashing, misting or spraying foliage. Do this sometime between sunrise and before sundown, to allow humidity levels around the plant to stabilise and reduce fungi disease problems.

Powdery mildew may become a problem if humidity becomes too high – try a weekly spraying of a water and milk solution (1 part milk: 9 parts water) over the leaves at the first signs of mildew.

Position in a full sun location and remember to water moderately. Use Zone 8 - Zone 12 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. A soil ph of between 6.1 and 7.5 is ideal for Winter squash as it does best in weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Winter squash is thought of as tender, so remember to ensure that temperatures are mild before moving outdoors.

See our list of companion Plants for Winter squash to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Winter squash from seed

Seed will generally sprout with no assistance, however if the seed coating has not naturally cracked, light scarifying with sand paper may be used if germination issues occur.

Aim to sow 1.17 inches (3.0 cm) deep and try to ensure a gap of at least 2.27 feet (70.0 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 21°C / 70°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Winter squash

Direct seed when soil has warmed up. Ideal range is 21 to 25°C ( 70 to 75°F)
May be grown and transplanted as young seedlings.

As Winter squash is tender, ensure temperatures are mild enough to plant out (around 15°C / 59°F as a guideline) - wait until after your last frost date to be on the safe side.

Harvesting Winter squash

Fruit should be cut off leaving 5cm/2in stem on fruit. Fruit matures to bright orange when it should be cut from the plant & put in a warm, dry place for a few days to ‘Cure’ (the skin to harden).

Seed Saving Winter squash

Seeds once removed from the pulp can be dried after washing & sorting & kept in a cool, dark place till the following spring when they can be sown once again.

Seed viability is four years.

How long does Winter squash take to grow?

These estimates for how long Winter squash takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Winter squash to germinate?
9 days

Average 9 days | Min 2 days | Max 23 days (184)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Winter squash?
+ 26 days

Average 26 days | Min 7 days | Max 62 days (26)

Days to Maturity How long until Winter squash is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 122 days

Average 122 days | Min 93 days | Max 261 days (17)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Winter squash?
= 157 days

Winter squash Etymology

The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon". The French adapted this word to pompon, which the British changed to pumpion and later American colonists changed that to the word we use today, “pumpkin". 1, 2

Winter squash Folklore & Trivia

A commonplace motif of people being turned into pumpkins by witches.

The Jack-o-lantern custom discussed above, which connects to Halloween lore about warding off demons.1

Other names for Winter squash

Pumpkin

Misspellings: Curcibita maxima, Butter cup squash, Curcurbita maxima

Latest Winter squash Reviews

  • The Pumpkins I sowed in the greenhouse are now being harvested & are drying in the greenhouse. They did quite well & I ended up with 13 Pumpkins. They grew extraordinarily fast & covered many metres of ground. They are a bright orange & a reasonable size.

    4 stars

    Amarylis about growing Winter squash or Pumpkin 'Jack O'Lantern'
  • Unfortunately out of four plants I only got one tiny fruit. It may have been shaded by some nearby plantings, but it’s still disappointing. I may try it again, and “your mileage may vary.”

    1 stars

    HazelJ about growing Squash, Winter 'Baby Blue Hubbard'
  • These wanted more sun and more regular watering than I could provide.

    2 stars

    naturedance about growing Winter Squash 'Pink Banana' for Ms. Jean

See all Winter squash reviews and experiences »

Footnotes

Winter squash Forums

  • Pumpkins or Winter squash.

    No matter what name you call them by, this group is for those who grow pumpkins, whether it be for carving or eating.

    71 members / 17 topics