Growing Squash

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Plant summer squash for a huge harvest.

Summer squash are so productive that most gardeners need only a few plants to provide all they need.

Grow butternut squash for winter storage.

Winter squash such as butternut are grown in summer for fall harvest and winter storage. These vines need plenty of room to grow.

Growing squash is easier than you might think. Plant a buttery Yellow Crookneck, delicately flavored Golden Scallop Pattypan, and a Black Beauty zucchini, and by time peak season rolls around, you could be picking several squash a day — more than enough to eat, freeze, and gift to friends and neighbors.

There is no hurry to harvest nutrient-rich “winter” squash like Acorn, Buttercup, and Butternut, which ripen to full maturity before they are picked. These varieties grow through the summer, but when stored properly, keep well into the colder months.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Squash has male and female flowers. Female flowers become fruit when pollinated by bees with pollen from male flowers.

This female flower bud (the one to the left) shows a tiny squash between the flower and the stem. Only females set fruit, but not without help from pollen spread by bees and other insects from male flowers (like the one on the right).

Squash need plenty of sun and good drainage, and they love wrapping their roots around bits of decomposing leaves or other compost. Prepare the ground for squash by mixing in a 3-inch layer of compost along with a timed-release or organic fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label. Squash are usually big plants, so space plants at least 3 to 6 feet apart (follow directions on the stick tag). A light mulch is sufficient because squash leaves are so broad and dense that mature plants minimize weeds and provide cooling shade. When setting out squash seedlings in sunny weather, you may cover them with an upside-down flowerpot or other shade cover for a couple of days after transplanting to help prevent wilting.

Squash bears both male and female flowers. The female flowers are easy to identify by looking for a tiny squash below the blossoms. Male flowers, which often begin to show up a week or two before the female flowers, sit directly on the stem. To help female flowers develop into squash, bees and other small insects pay numerous visits, leaving behind trails of pollen brought from male blossoms. Male flowers often drop to the ground at the end of their life; don’t be alarmed, as this is normal.

Troubleshooting

Squash vine borers dig into your squash stems and leave a trail behind that looks like sawdust.

Squash vine borers can be a real problem for gardeners in the eastern U.S. and especially the Southeast. A sawdust-like residue on the plant stem is a sure sign that a borer is inside.

Squash bugs, squash vine borers, and cucumber beetles often injure squash, with damage most severe late in the season, when plants are failing anyway. In areas where pest pressure starts early in the season, grow plants beneath floating row covers, or use covers made of net placed over hoops. Remove the covers to admit pollinating insects when the plants start to bloom.

Harvest and Storage

Zucchini fruit should be shiny when you harvest it for best taste and texture.

Harvest zucchini while the skins are still glossy.

If you’ve heard that squash blossoms are edible (they are!) and you want to try them, go ahead and pick the first blossoms that appear. Remove the inner parts, and use the petals to add color to appetizers and salads. Harvesting the first flowers won’t hurt the plants’ production, because the early flowers are males, which bear pollen but not fruit.

You may harvest yellow squash, zucchini, and other types of summer squash as baby squash, or you can cut them larger, up to 6 to 8 inches long. Use a sharp knife to gather your bounty at least every other day while the plants are producing. Should you miss a picking or two, remove the overripe squash as soon as possible to reduce demands on the plants for moisture and nutrients. If you find yourself with a bumper crop, squash pickles are easy to make, or you can grill marinated slices before storing them in your freezer. Summer squash also work well when dried.

You can store butternut squash fruits for the winter.

As butternut plants turn yellow in the fall, gather the fruits and wipe them clean to reduce spoilage. Move indoors for storage before freezing weather.

When the rinds of winter squash are tough enough to resist being punctured with a fingernail, cut them with a short stub of vine attached. Be patient, because only fully ripened squash will keep for months in storage. Wipe fruits clean with a damp cloth, and store them in a basement or other cool place. Until you are ready to cook pretty acorns or butternuts, it’s fine to include them in fall table decorations. Consult our article on how to store winter squash for more in-depth info on curing and storing these fall-harvest varieties.

FAQs

It looks like there are two squash plants in each compartment of my plant pack. Can I separate them or should I plant them together?

Plant them together.

What causes a healthy-looking plant to fail to produce squash or to produce small squash that quickly rot?

This could be a pollination problem. The female flower must be properly pollinated for healthy fruit to form, so be sure that you haven’t done any spraying to harm bees. Are your plants under row covers where bees can’t reach them? Also, be aware that under moist conditions sometimes the little fruit coming along behind the flower rots along with the flower. If this is the case, you can clean old blooms off developing fruit as you are out harvesting, or wait for the weather to dry out a bit.

How can blossom drop be prevented in squash?

The blossom drop that you see is probably the male flower, which is intended to dry up and fall off. Only the female bloom produces fruit. You can tell the difference in the flowers by their stems. The male stem is thin, while the female stem is swollen; that is where the fruit will grow. All squash plants have both male and female flowers.

When should zucchini be harvested?

Harvest when fruit is young and measures no more than 8 inches in length. Check plants every other day at the peak of production and never leave any on the vine, even if they are too big and tough to eat. This saps energy and will signal the plant to stop producing.

When should yellow squash be harvested?

Yellow squash (crookneck and straightneck) can grow up to 10 inches long, but don’t let them. They taste best when harvested young. Pick squash between 4 to 6 inches in length to ensure tenderness.

How much of the stem should I cut when picking squash?

With winter squashes (acorn, butternut, hubbard) it’s important to cut so that the fruit has an inch or two of stem to prevent rot in weeks of storage. With summer squash (yellow squash and zucchini), it doesn’t matter because you will use the squash soon. However, it is important not to yank or rip the fruit from the plant. Cut it from the vine with a knife or shears so that the plant is not injured. These plants will continue producing for a while if healthy.

168 thoughts on “Growing Squash

  1. I have gotten 5 wonderful squash already this year but now there are lots of males and no more females. I picked the last squash 4 days ago. Should I be worried? I am in GA and during the day the plant is wilting but always comes back at night, is it stress that is making it stop producing ladies?

    • Hello Desiree,
      No reason to worry! Male flowers usually always outnumber the female flowers. Any stress on the plant will limit flower production. Try these watering tips and mulch well to conserve soil moisture. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  2. This may be a question for you Ask an Expert but will try here first. I have read over many of the questions in this forum and don’t see an exact question but some kinda like I have. My crookneck squash grow to about 2 inches and stop growing, rot and fall off. I an sure I am having a pollination issue. I tried to self pollinate but the female flowers do not open all the way so they rip apart if I try to open by hand to self pollinate. I check the plants every day waiting for the flowers to open but most remain closed until they start to show signs of the baby rotting and falling off. Is there a reason the female flowers are not opening up to allow pollination to occure. I do not have bees around yet this year. I have ants on the male flowers but I assume they are not transferring pollen to females. Any suggestions? I am waiting to see if the ones I pollinated by hand take even though the flower was damaged trying to open enough to pollinate. I know this is a long message but wanted to paint a clear picture of my problem. I am in East Texas if that helps.

    • Hello Roger,
      What time of day are you checking the flowers? Flowers are typically open for only one day – early in the morning. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

  3. I have ants at the base of my squash and going in the ground where the stem is. What can I do about them?

    • Hi Laura,
      Ants in the veggie garden can be a real nuisance. A lot of times, ants are feeding on the excrement of other insects. So be sure and check the plant for other insects. You can use a pesticide labeled for ants – just make sure the label includes vegetables! There are several options available to homeowners for veggie gardens as well as diatomaceous earth (which gets them as they walk across it). Insecticidal soaps are also used – directly sprayed on the ants. Just be sure and follow the label direction. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

    • Hi Jessie,
      You could try and trellis the two, but they are both grow ‘shrub-like’. These squash grow to be about 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall – not just a single vine like some other crops. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  4. I bought some straightneck squash and some zucchini. As I was planting them, the stems kept breaking. Do I need to start all over, or will they produce fruit still?

    Thank you!

    • Hello Jule,
      If the stems broke off below the leaves; the squash will have to be replanted :( -danielle, Bonnie Plants

  5. Hi! I’m growing zucchini and yellow crooknecks for the first time and I’m getting a couple fruits as of today! I noticed some small areas of opaque spider webs at the base of a couple leaves and some white spots on a few leaves so I sprayed with a neem mixture. Was this okay or should I rinse it off? Now I’m worried I’m blocking pollination :(

    • Hi Jen,
      You should be ok! Just try and spray pesticides at dusk once the busy bees have gone back to the hive :) – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  6. I started my plants by seeds this year I have never done that. I normally buy plants and just put them in the ground how ever this year I did seeds. I’m in Ohio they guy told me I could start them in feb. that was not a great idea I did it with natural light by a window slowly they just started dieing. If the roots are still intact if I plant them will they grow back or do I have to start all over?

    • Hi Heather,
      If the roots are intact and the plant is alive – you can try and plant it. If the seedlings do not look so great, you may want to start with new transplants or seed. Healthy plants are essential for a healthy garden. Starting seeds indoors is not as easy as it seems. Sunny windows do not usually provide enough light for healthy transplants. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

  7. I am growing zucchini, and when the flowers on the fruit die, the fruit turn rotten. Why is this happening?

    • Hi Casey,
      Zucchini squash are in the family of plants called cucurbits. These plants rely on insects, namely bees, for pollination. This article on Squash pollination will give you some tips on hand pollination if you insects are sparse. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  8. I’m having trouble growing zucchini. Twice now, the plant grows beautifully with big green leaves, but then the leaves start to droop like it needs water. When I give it more water, it doesn’t perk up. Then, the leaves will start to turn yellow and mottled looking until eventually the plant dies. There are no flowers during this whole growing period. I did some research and think it might be vine borers. What do you think and what should I use on these pests? I don’t have a picture to show you as this happened some months ago. I have almost given up on growing zucchini.

    • Hi Carol,
      I feel your pain. I have battled squash vine borers as well. The adult is a pretty moth that resembles a red wasp. You can do surgery on the plant -as seen here- if you catch it early enough. I have had some luck wrapping the base of the stem with panty hose to deter the moth from laying the eggs. The moth lays the eggs on the stem, they hatch, and the tiny borers bore into the stem. Here are some more pictures and controls from Virginia Tech extension that will help you identify the damage and controls. Butternut, a winter squash is resistant to the squash vine borer. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  9. I want to grow yellow crookneck squash this summer is it to late to plant them? if not can i plant them in a pot? i have 3 pots that are about 3 feet wide is that big enough? i would like to have about 3 to 4 plants. they produce about 4 to 5 a day right?

    • Hello Rachel,
      I do not know what area you are in, but in most areas it is not too late. If you let me know what area you are gardening in,, I can get you a planting guide. Yes, that size container is plenty large enough…and you can expect 4 to 5 per day once the plants are flowering and producing squash. – Danielle, Bonnei Plants

  10. Hey, I planted a variety of vegetables in pots several weeks ago such as squash, zuchinni, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. All of my plants started out fantastic! Last week my cucumber plant started to turn yellow and this week it died. Now, there are a couple of leaves on my squash and zuchinni plants that have turned yellow, and some are outlined in brown. The majority of leaves are still green, but is this normal? I really do not want to lose more plants…plus, a family member had cancer, so I am trying to go as organic as possible with this plants. Look forward to hearing back!!

    • Hello Garrett,
      I am sorry to hear about your family, but glad to hear about your healthy eating habits :) You may want to upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site for a better recommendation. Include details like watering practices, potting media, and sun exposure. This is a publication from Clemson University extension with pictures that may help you in the meantime. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

  11. Hi. I have been growing squash for about ten years now and I’ve never had this happen. I direct seeded crook neck and zucchini squash into my raised beds about a month ago. Crook neck is putting out female flowers but no males and the zucchini hasn’t flowered yet so I can’t pollinate from those and the females are aborting. I have never seen the females come out before the males and I have no males in sight. Is this common and I’ve just never paid attention or is there some type of deficiency? All of my crook necks are doing this right now.

    • Hi Criss,
      I have had a ‘backwards’ patch of cucurbits before too! I even saved the research article from Ontario – about weather patterns and flowers. Here it is. Hope this helps. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

      • That does explain it! We have had an unusually long spring in east Texas this year and it had dipped in the high 30s low 40s several times in the past few weeks. We are supposed to have record lows tonight after 85 degree temps all week. Hopefully the plants will straighten out when it warms up more. Thank you.

  12. Hi, I live in South Central PA. and I want to know when is a good time to plant summer squash?

    • Hello Jim,
      This is the vegetable gardening guide from your home state extension office, complete with dates for vegetables planted in your area. As soon as the threat of freezing weather is over and the ground has warmed up, it’s time to plant your squash. Looks like you should be planting very soon! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  13. Hello! and thank you so much! I have grown starter plants, and Im hardening them off right now- they are starting to grow flower buds- but the plants are still small (5-6 in long). I understand that with other plants if they do this early it means they are under stress and are rushing to complete their cycle- should I pinch off the flowers to encourage better root and leaf growth at this stage?

    • Hi Ally,
      You can leave the blossoms on your squash plant! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  14. Hello! I’m having trouble with black ants eating the insides of the flowers on my yellow crook neck squash. The squash grows about two inches in length then the flower end rots and the whole things rots. At first I didn’t know what was causing this to happen until I saw the ants going in and out of holes in the center of the flower, so I figure they are damaging the developing squash. We’ve tried everything from organic ant control to regular pesticides with zero success. The plant is huge and produces lots of flowers but we haven’t had one viable squash.

    • Hello Alanna,
      Ants are attracted to the nectar in the flowers, but I do not think the ants are the problem. It sounds like pollination. Squash and other members of the squash family have separate male and female flowers. Pollen from the male flower must be transferred to the female flower or the young squash will grow only a couple of inches before the fruit stops growing, rots, and falls to the ground. One reason to be careful using pesticides when the squash are in bloom. Try hand pollination and see if that helps! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  15. Two years ago I planted yellow and zucchini and had great success. Last year I added new garden soil to whole garden and planted in same place. I tried planting and replanting from April to August with no success. I put the plants on hills like suggested. I tried using plants a started, plants I bought and with seeds on several occasions. The plants I started indoors and the ones I bought would just sit with no growth for a couple of weeks and die. The seeds would sprout then simply die. I tried watering more and when didn’t work I watered less. The rest of my garden did well. They were in full sun. No bugs on them. I even bought a couple plants that had small squash started. When I planted them they just sat there for a a couple of weeks and died. I had a spaghetti squash and a watermelon plants two rows over that did great. I am perplexed.

    • Hello David,
      Sorry to hear about your plants. It is perplexing especially since your other squash and watermelon did well and they are all in the same family. After you have planted a couple of years, it is good to rotate your crops in the garden to keep everything healthy. Here are some tips on warm season gardening. Let us know how your garden plants do this spring! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

    • “New garden soil” was the change in your squash garden. Can you get it outta there, or did you mix it in? Contaminated, I conclude.

  16. I picked up one of your yellow crooked neck squash, it is a seedling, I mounded it and put miraclegrow under the plant and mixed in good soil. But after a couple of days the plant looks like it is dead. What can I do to avoid this when I replant? Also is there a problem with packing down the soil around the plant?

    • Hi. Sorry to hear that your squash didn’t make it. I wonder if perhaps you applied undiluted fertilizer directly on the plant roots or if you watered the Miraclegro in well? Too much fertilizer can burn a plant. Here’s an article on tips of application. There is not a problem with packing soil around the plant if you are mounding up for squash, though you shouldn’t need to if you watered it in well and the soil “settled.” ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  17. How much space do I need for my squash?
    Do I need a trellis?
    whe to plant outdoors?

    • Hi Rosana, Summer squash are bush type plants that are planted about 30 inches apart and do not need a trellis. Squash are warm season plants and are planted after the threat of frost and cold weather have passed. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  18. When you say that you can plant three varieties in one 6ft wide bed, what lenght of bed are you referring to? Also, are you recommending only one plant of each type (transplants), or three hills with three of each type of squash?

    • Hi lee,
      Typically beds are 3 to 4 feet wide. Gardening in a bed 6 feet that would be 3 plants not three hills…which are spaced farther apart. The suggestion is for those with small spaces. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  19. My husband thinks yellow squash don’t take much water and now the leaves are turning yellow and drooping. We have them mounded and you can see they need water. Can you help?

    • Hi Sharon,
      Squash are pretty big drinkers – requiring about an inch of water per week. Once the plants are established, soak the soil to a depth of 6 inches or so several times per week. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

    • Hello Manu,
      Here are the planting dates from the Univeristy of Florida Extension for most vegetables grown by home gardeners in the state! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  20. I will be starting my garden very soon and i have bought the squash seeds. is it better to start growing them in the house or outside

    • Hi Errol,
      You can do either. If you start them in a small pot, you can plant them outdoors 4 – 5 weeks later. Just be careful not to damage the roots when you transplant. You can direct seed them outdoors when the threat of frost has passed – some find this easier when starting from seed.
      -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  21. hi,
    i live in SW Louisiana and would love to plant in 5 gallon containers. Would that be possible to plant spaghetti squash in them as well?

    • Hi Sarah,
      Spaghetti squash is a plant with really long vines. It is possible to grow in a container – but you may need a trellis for the vines and a make shift sling for the fruit (because it is heavy). -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  22. how much and how often do you water an upside down hanging yellow squash plant

    • Hello Robert,
      Since they are growing in a container, I would water when the top inch or so of soil has dried. That will vary based on temperatures. I have containers now that I only have to water a couple of times per week. In July and August, I have to water some of them twice!
      -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  23. Hi Kelly & Mary Beth,

    I want to grow summer squash (the yellow kind) in my area (Baltimore, MD, climate zone 32). I think this is a spacial plant (a.k.a. requires a LOT of space to grow), but I just wanted to make sure. If it is, could I possibly grow it up a lattice like a vine? ~Claire W.

    • Hi Claire,
      I’m not sure what a “LOT” of space is in your garden, but you can count on about 3′ square area for a squash plant. This cute PattyPan Squash would be a fun one to grow, as well as the regular Straightneck yellow variety. As we mention in the article, you could put 3 varieties in one 6′ wide bed and pick 3-4 squash per day in the height of the season. They should be planted in hills in the soil, as they grow into rather large-leafed roundish plants. Use your lattice for the winter squash that vine and grow in all directions; they can be trained to “go up.” ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

    • Hi Misty,
      It could be any number of things. First of all, if you have a photo, send it to our Ask An Expert service. Before doing so, though, ensure that your small fruits are from flowers that are properly pollinated. The tiny “baby” fruit on a female ovary blossom will look like it’s beginning to form but abort if not pollinated. We’ve covered this in great detail here — and how you can try your hand at pollinating them yourself. If you see no signs of rot or fungus, try this for a bit before writing AAE. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  24. hi i tried growing butternut squash last yr the plants were healthy and i got lots of little squash on the plants but as they got to about 3inches long they one by one turned black can you please tell me where i went wrong, these plants were grown in a polytunnel, also the yr before i grew them outside and the same thing happened.

    • Hi Caroline,
      Could it be this? Look at the link to compare your squash to choanephora wet rot. This is from the University of Minnesota, but the picture of the rot looks the same in all states. Avoiding wetting the plant and flowers is the best method of control. Sometimes, early squash are effected, but the later squash are not. If you don’t think this is it, write to our Ask An Expert and supply a photo (if you have one). ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  25. hello :)

    why is my squash dropping it’s fruit when it’s about a fist huge?
    why are the stem breaking, is it normal?
    can i fertilize it if it’s 3 inches tall, and have 3 leaves?

    please help.. :(

    • Hi Jeh,
      Quick question before we get a little farther along…Do you mean that your plant is 3 inches tall or 3 feet tall? I ask to make sure how large your plant is, as it sounds like it is already fruiting. Let me know and we’ll write back quickly. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  26. Hi, I have two large healthy squash plants, but still have a long while to produce. Today I noticed that some of the leaves are turning black and dying. Yesterday we had extremely high winds and my plants were taking some what of a beating. Could this be related, or is it something else?

    • Hi Noah,
      Your plants may have been damaged by the high winds. Here’s a link from the University of Kentucky that has a photo of wind damage for you to compare. Click on page 7 to see photos and explanations. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

      • Thanks Merry Beth, I was able to ascertain from your link that the damage to my leaves was from wind burn. Is there any long term affect of this damage? Is it suggested I remove the damaged leaves? Both my plants are just starting to sprout little squash and seem to be doing quite well, besides the burnt up leaves.

        • You are welcome, Noah. If the damage is limited to numerous leaves but the stems are still intact and healthy, you should be fine. Simply remove the withered leaves and ensure that the plants are properly watered at the roots during this windy time. (oftentimes overhead watering during days of high winds means the tender roots are getting no water, as it blows away.) Good luck with these little squash! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  27. When the squash starts to produce, do you leave it on the ground to mature or do lift it somehow? Thank You

    • Hi Judy,
      Are you growing summer squash (yellow crookneck, zucchini) or winter squash (acorn, butternut)? You probably wouldn’t have time to even worry about summer squash being on the ground long enough–you need to pick it so quickly. It’s not a bad idea to mulch heavily with straw or another ground cover around your plants, as a weed barrier and to protect the young butternuts or other squash from resting directly on wet soil. With watermelons and pumpkins it is more common to put a support, like a wooden block or brick, underneath the heavy fruits. I think you will be fine not to do so. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  28. HI. I am making an attempt to grow gem squash in a mix of potting soil and fertilizer. Tips on how to grow them would be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Suhall, You’re in the right place. Gem squash belong in the same family as the summer and winter squash that we describe on this page. The planting, nurturing and harvesting information provided here applies to gem squash with one difference: you can harvest them in the young, soft-skin stage or later (like winter squash) when the skins are thick and hard. You’ll need about three months of warm temperatures and no frost to grow from seedling to fruit, so I hope you are located in a warm region right now! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  29. My squash stems are splitting down the middle. They look dray and frayed. It is not the same as vine borers. My other plant is doing very well and growing at a good rate, still immature. But the other one isnt growing as well as the other and has some slightly yellowish leaves. Explanation? Solution?

    • Hi Noah,
      Since you sound familiar with squash vine borers and know it is not that, it may simply be signs of aging and heavy production. Are the stems or vines very thick and supporting a lot of top-heavy foliage? Mine split in this manner when it grew over the side of the raised bed and couldn’t bear the weight. Try burying that area of the stem with a small mound of soil and compost; sometimes they root and continue growing healthily. Your yellowing leaves could be normal signs of a “tired” plant if it’s still going strong in October after a summer production. If you have many yellowing leaves or spot other clues we can use, please write back. You can always send a photo to Ask An Expert for diagnosis, too. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  30. I’ growing crooked nec squash in a container and my plant looked really good and vibrant, but now the leaves look like they are dying. What should I do?
    Sincerely,
    Prettygirl

    • Hi Prettygirl,
      This squash, known in the “Summer Squash” category, thrives in warm weather. If you are experiencing cooler temperatures, the leaves may begin to wilt. If that’s not the case and it’s hot where you are, check for squash vine borers in the base of the stem. Also, be sure you are watering thoroughly 2-3 times per week. Also, look for signs of powdery mildew, which is common on squash. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  31. we have 3 squash plants which are huge and keep bearing flowers but no squash. is there something we are doing wrong.

    • Hi Kris,
      Either your plant is still very young in development as is bearing all male flowers, as they do in the beginning, or your female flowers are not being naturally pollinated. This article on identifying the flowers and hand-pollinating your squash plants may help. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  32. I planted Butternut Squash this year. They grew well, however when I picked them, dark brown areas were seen on the squash. Should I discard, or will they be edible and safe ? Thank you. ( I am hoping to can them if so.)

    • Hi Cyndee,
      The dark brown areas could be where the squash sat on moist soil or mulch and began to mildew. Or, insects may chew or bore into the skin, causing bruised flesh or rotting areas. It may simply be where the fruit sat on the soil and is nothing to worry about. After harvesting, you can dip the squash in a bucket of water diluted with bleach, allow to dry and store in cool temperatures with moderate humidity. Read specific instructions from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service. If you think that the squash are soft or damaged in those areas, do not store them with fruits that are clean. Butternuts do need to cure for a short period before enjoying, though keep an eye on these to see if the damage spreads throughout the fruit. Good luck! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

    • Cyndee,
      We published a new article yesterday that you might find useful. The photos are particularly helpful, so that you can see the difference in the marks / discoloration where the fruit sat on the soil versus those marks of potential rot. Check out “Harvesting and Storing Winter Squash” for more information. Let us know how it goes! (and how it tastes…) ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

      • Hi Mary I forgot the name of my squash but started yesterday its spring time
        Do u have suggestions of how I should plant and water and harvest then and
        How long it takes thank you.

        • Hello,
          Make sure your garden soil is well prepared. Set 3 transplants in hills spaced at least 30 inches apart. When setting out squash seedlings in sunny weather, you may cover them with an upside-down flowerpot or other shade cover for a couple of days after transplanting to help prevent wilting. Once plants become established they will need about an inch of water per week. Do you remember if they were summer squash or winter squash? Some summer squash varieties are ready to harvet in 60 days. Winter squash takes longer (90-120) days. Read more about harvesting squash here.
          -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

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