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Beyond Butternut, Acorn & Spaghetti


If I say squash, you might say butternut, acorn, spaghetti ; perhaps even delicata or carnival if you're an avid stuffer of squash. How about Sunshine, Thunder, Australian Butter, Jarrahdale to name a few? These lovely beauties not only look festive but taste good too. Fall is a great time to find some lesser known (or tasted) squash to add to your dinner table. Figure out which ones you like based on look, taste or both and consider putting them in your garden plan for next year. You will likely need to venture out to local farms, farm stands & markets to get some of the more unique varieties but it will be well worth it. There is a fantastic diversity to choose from! According to the Garden Seed Inventory there are sources for 343 different varieties of seed available commercially. That is a whole lot of potential!

If you do decide to grow winter squash in your garden be prepared to give the plants some room. Growing squash is not feasible in some garden situations.

Type

Seeds per Hill

Thin to
(keep the strongest plants)

Spacing between Hills

Spacing between Rows

Vining

4-5

2-3

5-6'

7-12'

Semi-Vining

4-5

2

4'

8'

Bush

1-2 seeds/foot

1 plant every 3'

3'

5'


From time to time we have some gardeners contact the Extension office concerned about growing multiple types of squash in one space. There is no problem growing multiple different varieties in one area, the current year's fruit will not be adversely affected. However, if you plan on saving seeds for next year, you will not get the same squash the following year because of cross pollination the seed will not be true to type.

Squash should be harvested when the rind is hard and before heavy frosts hit. Most squash can be stored for three to six months assuming you shop/harvest wisely. When selecting a squash for storage rather than immediate use, look for blemish free fruit that is firm and that still has roughly 1- 2" of stem attached if possible. Squash store best in a dry location at a temperature between 45-50 degrees. If space allows, store fruits in a single layer and so they do not touch each other. Storing the squash at room temperature will reduce the storage life by half.

You can easily find butternut, spaghetti & acorn squash for much of the year but why not branch out while you have the chance. As you are selecting your fall decorations, choose varieties you can eat they have provided a festive fall scene. A few examples of edible holiday d├ęcor can be viewed in the photos above.

Happy fall!



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