When to Harvest Winter Squash in the Garden
Spaghetti Squash in the Garden
On this week's episode, Travis explains the best time to harvest winter squash in the garden. It's been around 90 days since he planted some Small Wonder Spaghetti Squash. This type of variety is known as a personal-sized spaghetti squash because they are about half the size of a normal-sized squash. With higher yields than larger spaghetti squash varieties, you can grow fruit in the same amount of space in the garden area. When planting this variety of winter squash we highly recommend direct seeding, but you can transplant as well. We prefer to plant this winter squash variety around 12 inches apart along the row in the vegetable garden. When plants start to emerge in the garden you should thin plants to one every 2 feet. They have a vining growth habit and will reach 4 to 6 inches in length in the vegetable garden. Winter squash can sometimes be susceptible to downy mildew and powdery mildew when the garden contains excess moisture. In order to prevent these issues, we recommend using drip irrigation to reduce plant moisture and adequately feed the plants. Using drip irrigation allows you to supply water right to the plant roots where they need it the most all while conserving water and reducing weed pressures. Another way to eliminate disease pressures when there are periods of heavy rainfall is by using a fungicide like Liquid Copper. This type of fungicide will help prevent diseases from attacking fruits, nuts, vegetables, and citrus. It is also important to have great crop rotation when planting winter squash to reduce disease and pest pressures.
Harvest Winter Squash
When harvesting spaghetti squash they will only produce a one-time harvest at the end of the growing season. There are a few indicators when it comes to determining the best time to harvest winter squash in the vegetable garden. One way to know when the winter squash is ready to harvest is when the plants and leaves start to become crispy and die back in the garden. Another way you can tell they are ready for harvest is the color will start to fully develop. The spaghetti squash is initially a green color, but they become a bright yellow color when ready for harvest. Next way to figure out if they are ready is by scratching at the skin layer. When scratching the skin with your fingernail if the skin doesn't come off and seems to be hard it is ready for harvest. Finally, the last way to tell is if the stem at the top of the squash is dry and hard then it is the perfect time to harvest winter squash. A great tool to use when harvesting spaghetti squash is a pair of pruning shears. Once you finish harvesting all the squash they should be stored on a storage rack in the barn with plenty of airflow and shade. This variety of winter squash will typically store for up to 5 or 6 months underneath the barn.
Other Winter Squash Varieties
Along with the spaghetti squash variety, we offer Hai Kabocha, Butternut, and Delicata squash varieties. The Hai Kabocha is one of the tastiest winter squashes to grow in the vegetable garden. This variety produces dark green fruits with gray speckling and a bright yellow flesh interior. The Hoss Butternut squash is a hybrid variety that produces large uniformity fruits. This is another variety that has excellent flavor and texture. Another variety is the Delicata Winter Squash that contains a higher sugar content and sweeter flavor than other squash varieties. This variety produces fruits with a creamy-white color with green specks and stripes.