What is Winter Squash?
First, you need to know what winter squash is. Contrary to the name, these are not types that grow in the winter; instead, they are types of squash that store well through the winter months. Some winter squash varieties include:
- Spaghetti Squash
- Hubbard Squash
- Delicata Squash
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
How to Grow Winter Squash
One of the most important things to know about growing winter squash is that you cannot be in a hurry to plant them. You need to know the growing zone in which you live and plant the squash seeds about two weeks after the last frost date for your region. Winter squash, like melons and pumpkins, are not cold tolerant. The seeds will not germinate if the soil is not at least 65°F (18°C).
Tip: You can find out your growing zone by calling your local extension office or asking a seasoned gardener.
Where to Plant Winter Squash
Whether you are planting butternut squash or spaghetti squash, you need to be sure you plant the seeds in a location that gets full sunlight a minimum of 6 hours a day. If you can, choose a spot that gets at least 8 hours of sun for maximum benefit.
Additionally, winter squash plants grow better when planted in small hills. Planting in hills allows more warmth to penetrate the soil. Plus hills allow better drainage. Squash plants like to be moist but not waterlogged.
Fortify The Soil
While squash plants can thrive in marginally rocky soil, it is essential to provide a rich, fertile growing environment. Amend your garden plot with compost and mulch, and work it into the ground thoroughly. Also, remember that winter squash are heavy feeders; apply an excellent organic fertilizer regularly to keep your plants healthy and productive.
General Care of Squash Plants
As long as you plant the winter squash seeds in warm enough soil and provide a lot of sun and water, taking care of your burgeoning plants is no different than caring for the rest of the garden. Provide food, water, and sun, and control the weeds. As long as you do these things, you can almost guarantee a successful harvest.