Winter Squash From Seed

Want to grow through autumn to eat during winter try sporty Squash!
Squash

You can grow winter squash from seed and the plants will grow well outdoors in the UK during summer and early autumn. Squash can be damaged by frost so bear this in mind. However they store well so winter squash are a garden crop worth growing from seed.

Sowing Seed of Winter Squash

  • Sow individual seeds an eighth of an inch deep in 3″ pots filled with good seed or cutting compost.
  • Sow at the beginning of May and keep in the greenhouse or on a warm windowsill.
  • If the weather turns cold put them in a propagator set at 22-30 degrees C.
  • During the first half of June harden the plants off and transplant them when the roots have filled the pots.
  • Germination is quick 7-10 days and is reliable with fresh seed.
  • Do not exclude light as this helps germination.

Squash!!

Growing on Seed of Winter Squash

  • Squash need plenty of space. Leave 6 feet between plants or 3 feet for varieties with a bushy habit
  • Prepare sheltered ground with compost and fertilizer – they are heavy feeders and drinkers
  • To speed up growth cover with horticultural fleece until flowers start to appear.
  • Black polythene can be used to suppress weeds, retain moisture and heat the soil.
  • Trailing varieties can be grown up a trellis with support for the fruit or just train the plant around the stem in circles.
  • Water stress can encourage mildew so water and mulching may be needed. Watch out for slugs as they like the moist conditions and eating the squash.

squash blossom

Harvesting Winter Squash

  • Winter Squash should be ripe for harvesting before the frost in September or October.
  • Hardened skin is a good sign of a ripe squash. They will also sound hollow when tapped.
  • Colour changes to the skin and stalks that start to dry are further signs the fruit is ripe.
  • Cut with secateurs leaving at least an inch of stalk on the fruit.
  • Handle carefully to avoid bruising
  • Cure the fruit in the sun or greenhouse to dry out for 10 days or so.
  • Store in a cool, dry, airy location or suspend in nets.
  • Stored fruit last 3 -6 months with the harder rind fruit lasting best.

Butternut Squash

Popular UK Varieties of Winter Squash Seeds

  • Thompson & Morgan search for seeds and plants
  • Squashes are categorised predominantly by shape then species and variety or cultivar
  • Butternut Cucubita moschata, like warm summers
  • Acorn Harlequin Cucubita pepo oval and ribbed skin
  • Hubbard Cucubita maxima oval or pear shaped depending on variety
  • Kobocha Cucubita maxima sweet culinary flesh
  • Spaghetti Squash ‘Hasta La Pasta’ F1 Hybrid Cucurbita pepo.


Credits

Squash by clayirving CC BY-ND 2.0
Squash!! by jeua CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
squash blossom by zenia CC BY-ND 2.0
Growing Butternut Squash
Growing Pumpkins and Squash
Gourds & Squashes
Pumpkin for President

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