GROWN OUTDOORS & IN THE GREENHOUSE
We both really like winter squashes of various types, and were pretty successful at our former location. However, in that lower location we were plagued by squash bugs and cucumber beetles, and the fight went on most of the summer, sometimes losing plants completely. Here at 9,000 feet I have not seen either one of those vermin. Yahoo!! (Shhhhh!!! I don’t want them to find us!)
Although we are not plagued with those bugs, the winter squash in the outdoor garden has not been as successful as the zucchini. I’d heard about other gardeners in the area growing winter squash successfully, even varieties that indicate 100 days to maturity, so I thought I would have no problem. But I wasn’t so successful.
The outdoor season is apparently not long enough or warm enough for many of the winter squashes. I have tried several things to make up for this: I choose varieties with the shortest number of days to maturity. I choose varieties that indicate they are cold hardy. I choose bush varieties that fit better in my raised beds. I keep them covered most of the summer nights with plastic over the hoops, and roll up the plastic during the day. I have kept bottles of warm water near them during the beginning of the season when plants are small. I hand pollinate them as soon as I can to get them growing. I prune off dead stuff so it can put all its energy into growing squash.
Each year has gotten progressively better. The first year (2017) I planted 11 winter squash plants outdoors (perhaps I went overboard!) and harvested no squashes (zero, zed, zip, nada). The second year (2018) I grew 4 winter squash plants and harvested seven squash from one plant (Gold Nugget OP), but they were mushy and did not tasted terrible. Finally in 2019 I had some success outdoors with the Bush Delicata and Reno Acorn. (2 Delicatas & 2 Acorn.) Considering each year gets a little better, I’m going to go for more again in 2020. My plans for this year outdoors include Small Wonder Spaghetti F1 (75-80 Days) and Butterbush F1 (75-80 Days). I’m even feeling so confident about the squash, I’m going to try a small, fast-maturing melon outdoors & in the greenhouse.
GREENHOUSE: WINTER SQUASH
In 2018 I had some spare room in the greenhouse in the summer, so I tried one winter squash there, Celebration F1. Although I did not have many males & females blooming at the same time, I was able to hand pollinate some and grew two squashes that year. They were delicious, so I made plans to do the same the following year.
2019 I planted 2 Celebration, 1 Reno Acorn and 1 Bush Delicata in the greenhouse. (The Reno and Delicata were also grown outdoors.) Indoors there were 5 Celebration squashes on 2 plants, 1 Reno and 1 Delicata. So few? Yes, but at least we got those and have been enjoying them. And yes, since I don’t use the greenhouse for as many things during the summer I’m good with dedicating the space to winter squash.
WINTER SQUASH GROWN (OR ATTEMPTED)
Guatamalan Blue | 91 Days | 2017 | Plants, but no squash.
Lakota | 85-100 Days | 2017 | Plants, but no squash.
Sweet Meat | 80 Days | 2017 | Plants, a couple of small squash that did not mature.
Celebration |80 Days | 2018 | Both inside and out: inside produced 2 squash, outdoors zero.
Thelma Sanders’ Sweet Potato Squash | 85-95 Days | 2018 | A couple of small shriveled squash never matured.
Zeppelin Delicata | 100 Days | 2018 | No squash.
Gold Nugget “Bush” Squash | 85 Days | 2018 | 7 squashes that grew to maturity but tasted terrible.
Reno F1 Acorn Bush Squash | 75 Days | 2019 | 1 plant indoors with 1 squash, 1 plant outdoors with 2 squash.
Bush Delicata | 80 Days | 2019 | 1 plant indoors with 1 squash, 1 plant outdoors with 2 squash.
Celebration F1 | 80 Days | 2019 | 2 plants indoors produced 5 squash.
Butterbush F1 | 75-80 Days | 2020 | Planned for 2020
Small Wonder Spaghetti F1 | 75-80 Days | Planned for 2020