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Winter squash   

Cucurbita moschata

Winter squash is a plant which belongs to the Cucurbita genus. The origin of this plant's scientific name epithet (moschata) means 'musk-scented'.

There are several well-known species in the C. moschata group, including Butternut Squash, Seminole Pumpkin, Crookneck Squash, Musquee de Provence Squash, as well as several others.

The main difference between summer and winter squashes are their uses. Winter squash are harvested later in the growing season, and in general, are easily kept in a cool dry location (like a cold cellar) for months at a time for fresh eating through the winter.
In general, Winter Squashes are more tolerant to heat and humidity.

Butternut Squash: The butternut squash is a popular species of C. moschata, with a distinct nutty flavour, and excellent keeping qualities.You will know that the fruit is ripe when the skin cannot be easily punctured with a fingernail and has a dull appearance.These require a lot of room for their vines to grow, and also do best when planted in fertile soils full of organic material. Pests include squash beetles and squash vine borers, although this species and its subspecies are generally more resistant to pests. The butternut squash is believed to originate around Mexico, not in South America like many other squash and pumpkin varieties have.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Pastel yellow. When ripe, fruit appear in these approximate colours:   Tan.

Winter squash grows as an annual and is an edible vegetable. Being an annual plant, it tends to grow best over the course of a single year.

Winter squash is known for its vine habit and growing to a height of approximately 30.0 cm (11.7 inches). This plant tends to bloom in mid summer, followed by first harvests in early autumn.

Try planting Winter squash if you'd like to attract bees to your garden.

Popular varieties of Winter squash with home gardeners are Butternut, Waltham butternut, Early Butternut, Trombetta di albenga and Musquée de Provence.

Winter squash needs a moderate amount of maintenance, so some level of previous experience comes in handy when growing this plant. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests.

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

  • Partial Sun

  • Medium

As with any squash variety, prevention of disease is the key to getting a good harvest. Squash are particularly susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungus which manifests itself as a white powdery-looking substance on the leaves. Left untreated, this can kill the entire plant.

Good methods for preventing powdery mildew are proper air circulation around the plant and providing cover via row covers during periods of excess rain. Keep the plants well spaced, and as an extra method of prevention, spray the leaves with a milk/water or baking soda/water/dish soap mixture. Baking soda and milk both have anti-fungal properties. Any leaves that are affected, trim off and burn.

Plant in a location that enjoys partial sun and remember to water moderately. Zone 3 to 12 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Ensure your soil has a ph of between 6.1 and 7.5 as Winter squash is a weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil loving plant. Keep in mind when planting that Winter squash is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

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

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 2.27 feet (70.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 1.17 inches (3.0 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 15°C / 59°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Winter squash about 10 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Winter squash

If sowing indoors and planting outdoors, be sure to harden off plants appropriately after all danger of frost has passed to ensure the plants aren’t shocked.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Winter squash is a tender plant.

By our calculations*, you should look at planting out Winter squash about 10 days before your last frost date.

Harvesting Winter squash

Fruits store longer if the stem is left on the fruit during harvest. Store in a dry place that doesn’t freeze.

Seed Saving Winter squash

Scoop seeds into a container. Add water and ferment for a few days until (most) seeds sink. Rinse several times, throwing away any floating seeds. Spread the (sinking) seeds out to dry.

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?
8 days

Average 8 days | Min 2 days | Max 23 days (235)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Winter squash?
+ 25 days

Average 25 days | Min 2 days | Max 56 days (50)

Days to Maturity How long until Winter squash is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 96 days

Average 96 days | Min 73 days | Max 134 days (18)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Winter squash?
= 129 days

When should I plant Winter squash?

Our when to plant Winter squash estimates are relative to your last frost date.

Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

When to sow The number of days to sow Winter squash before or after your last frost date.
10 days before Last Frost Date
When to plant out The number of days to plant out Winter squash before or after your last frost date.
10 days before Last Frost Date

Other names for Winter squash

Butternut squash

Cucurbita moschata Duchesne

Latest Winter squash Reviews

  • Total tally: 2.5 farm-baskets full over the course of roughly 3 months (Aug. 31-Nov.1).

    0 stars

    dirtfarmer about growing Butternut Squash
  • This is really an old picture of my sucrene Du Berry. It is now three times as big and there are three plants of this variety.

    4 stars

    Kevalsha about growing Squash Sucrine Du Berry
  • This squash was lacklustre. Two fruits off of one vine, and while they were very large and tasted quite good, it was a lot of effort for just 2 fruit. I will say that the baked flesh froze well and made an exemplary pie, though sugar pumpkins are easier

    2 stars

    KathN about growing Winter squash 'Lakota'

See all Winter squash reviews and experiences »


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