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 continued all 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!)
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. Although we are not plagued with those bugs, the winter squash in the outdoor garden is persnickety. Temperamental?
The outdoor season is not long enough or warm enough for many of the winter squashes. I make up for this with some TLC:
- 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 keep bottles of warm water surrounding them during the beginning of the season when plants are small.
- The unusually cold nights they are covered with frost cloth inside the plastic hoop tent.
- I hand pollinate them as soon as I can to get the squashes growing.
- I prune off the dead leaves & blossoms so it can put all its energy into growing squash.
2017: The first year I planted 11 winter squash plants outdoors (perhaps I went overboard!) and harvested no squashes (zero, zed, zip, nada).
2018: The second year I grew four winter squash plants and harvested seven squash from one plant (Gold Nugget OP), but they were mushy and did not tasted terrible.
2020: This year the squash grown outdoors were Celebration F1, Small Wonder Spaghetti F1 (75-80 Days) and Butterbush F1 (75-80 Days). The Small Wonder produced five squash in varying sizes, and the Celebration produced two. The Butterbush got a slow start, and the 4 squashes growing were too immature when I picked them off the day before our first serious frost.
GREENHOUSE: WINTER SQUASH
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.
2020: Indoors I grew a Small Wonder, Celebration and Butterbush. The Small Wonder did quite well and was draped up to the ceiling and back down again. A nice advantage in having this was that it produced a large number of male flowers I could use to pollenate all my other squash & zucchini, indoors & out. The Celebration petered out this year after producing one small squash, and the Butterbush produced one very small squash after a slow start.
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 | none
Small Wonder Spaghetti F1 | 75-80 Days | DTH: 97 Days from transplant to outdoors. 8 squash: 3 indoors, 5 outdoors.