HEIRLOOM -Who wouldn't be thrilled to grow their own pasta? When baked, these squash have a stringy flesh that can be used as a delicious low-calorie gluten-free pasta substitute. 5-7 squash per plant on vigorous vines. Harvest when buff colored.
Contrary to the name, winter squash is actually grown in the summer, started the same time as summer squash, but it takes much longer to mature. When it is ripe the fruits will have a hard outer shell and store all winter. Plants are known for their unwieldy vines that will stealthy claim ownership to any garden space they have access to so give them their space. All squash are symbiotic members of the Three Sisters (along with Corn and Beans) in Native American agriculture. Corn provides a pole for vining beans which in turn provide nitrogen for the heavy-feeding corn. With their numerous large leaves, squash shades out the weeds and helps retain moisture in the soil for all. Nutrients: vitamins A, C, and B, potassium, manganese.
Average Seed / oz
Seed / 100' Row
Average Yield / 100' Row
Days to Harvest
Ideal Soil Temp
After Last Frost
Direct Seed Spacing
Seeds Per Packet
Transplant or Direct Seed
Days to Sprout
Winter squash is a frost sensitive annual that prefers full sun and fertile soil that is consistently moist, but well-drained. Choose an area with plenty of space for the sprawling vines.
Direct-seed outdoors once the danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures have warmed to at least 65˚ F for 2 weeks. Optimal soil temperatures for germination are 65-85˚F. Covering the area with black plastic can warm the soil and speed up the growing process. Plant seeds in hills (which warm quicker, drain better) or rows. Space hills 4-8' apart and plant 4-5 seeds ½-1" deep. Seeds will sprout in 5-10 days. When seedlings are 3-4" tall, thin by snipping to 2-3 plants per hill. In rows, plant seeds 6-8" apart with rows 4-5' apart. Thin seedlings in rows so mature plants are 18-36" apart. Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and reduce weeds.
If in an area with a short growing season, seeds can be started indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date. Sow seeds in 2-3" pots. Transplant outdoors as you would direct seeding.
Winter squash is typically ready for harvest in 90-115 days. Harvest winter squash in fall before frost, when the rind is a consistent deep color and very firm. If in doubt, open one before harvesting others. For some varieties, flavor will improve with storage.