Winter Squash Update

It looks like it’s going to be a good year for winter squash here. I’ve already started harvesting some of the early maturing types like Honeybaby butternut and Buffy. These are both individual sized ones that weigh around a pound each, and it looks like there might be upwards of 30 or more of them. Both are supposed to be good keepers, so we should be enjoying these well into winter.

Buffy winter squash

Buffy winter squash

Others will be ready soon, like the naked-seeded Pepitas pumpkin. I grew this one last year and the seeds are so tasty and easy to prepare, since they lack the hulls that most pumpkin seeds have. The flesh on this one is edible too, though I find the C. moschata pumpkins a bit more flavorful. One of the Pepitas vines in the below photo grew through the garden fencing and set fruit out there, which is a problem I have with some of the vining types. But I have a solution in mind for next year.

Pepitas pumpkin

Pepitas pumpkin

I’m experimenting with trellising some of the winter squashes this year, using concrete remesh panels tied to metal t-posts. The remesh panels are 4 feet wide by 6.5 feet tall, and I used zip ties to secure them to the t-posts. I got this idea from Michelle (From Seed To Table) who grows her vining squash this way with good results. In the below photo you can see one of the trellises surrounded by the other squashes that are vining all over the ground.

trellised winter squash

trellised winter squash

I setup three trellises this year, and planted Buffy, Tetsukabuto and Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash nearby and trained the vines to go up them. I am very pleased with the results, and next year I plan to put even more trellises to work. They are quick and easy to assemble, and really help make good use of vertical space in the garden. Tetsukabuto is a C. maxima X C. moschata hybrid squash that produces round 4 to 5 pound fruits with dark green skin. Some of these should be ready to harvest soon, and I’ve counted at least 6 of them on the vines so far. I guess it is considered a kabocha type squash even though it has a moschata parent.

Tetsukabuto winter squash

Tetsukabuto winter squash

Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash is an heirloom acorn type with a creamy white skin. It’s listed on the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste, and seeds for it were first offered on the Seed Savers Exchange in 1981. I am looking forward to trying this one, which is supposed to be the sweetest of the acorn squashes according to Amy Goldman in The Compleat Squash.

Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash

Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash

The Tromba d’Albenga squash would be a good candidate for trellising next year. The tromboncino squashes are vigorous growers, and this year I’ve got it planted near the outside edge of the garden so it can vine along the fencing. One downside is that the long squashes can form outside the fencing, and sometimes get stuck in the fencing as they grow. I think that will be less likely to happen on a trellis, though I’m not sure if I will be able to keep the wandering vines trained to it. If nothing else they should be easier to find!

Tromba d'Albenga squash on the vine

Tromba d’Albenga squash on the vine

A newcomer here this year is the hybrid neck pumpkin called Turkeyneck. I’ve grown a couple of the so-called ‘neck’ pumpkins over the years, including Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck and Canada Crookneck, but this is the first hybrid type I’ve ever seen. So far the immature fruits sort of look like an oversized butternut. The neck pumpkins are actually the forerunners of the butternuts, so I guess that’s not surprising. The skin should turn tan like a butternut when it matures.

Turkeyneck squash

Turkeyneck squash

Another newcomer is the Dickinson pumpkin. This C. moschata squash is the variety used by Libby’s for their canned pumpkin puree. The vines are taking over one corner of the garden, and so far I have spotted at least 4 pumpkins setting on. If they all mature we should be eating a lot of pie, custard and pumpkin bread in the months to come! This one is probably not a good candidate for trellising considering the size of the pumpkins. I have no idea how big ours will turn out, but they can reach up to 40 pounds. It’s hard to tell in the photo but this one is over a foot long and almost that wide. I’m guessing it is well over 10 pounds, though it will be a few weeks before I harvest any of them.

Dickinson pumpkin

Dickinson pumpkin

I hope you have enjoyed this update on the 2017 winter squashes. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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11 Responses to Winter Squash Update

  1. ss says:

    Hi,

    I recently came across your site and have been reading the Harvest Monday posts since then. Very inspiring and great treat for gardeners like me to read the posts. I am always not sure what type of mulch to use in my veggie garden. I see that you have mulched your plants. what type of mulch is it ?

    Thanks

    ss

  2. Sue Garrett says:

    You grow quite a variety of squash. We grow Crown Prince for storage and this year are trying a couple of summer squash. Sorry mistyped my URL on the other comment.

  3. Michelle says:

    It will be interesting to see how big your Dickinson pumpkins get to be – a 40 pounder would be a LOT of squash, even half that size would be a lot of squash! And a lot of pie too. 🙂

    The trellises look like they are doing a good job for your squash. I use those trellises for other things too – beans, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers. They are so easy to set up. take down, and to store.

    I may have to try to squeeze in a few Pepitas vines next year. I love pumpkin seeds.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 14, 2017My Profile

  4. Denise says:

    I am envious of your many different squash! I would love to grow more varieties of them but the darn squash vine borers end up killing them all and not enough time to replant. Do you have them in your area and if so, how do you deal with them? I use DE and BT and have even tried surgery on the stem of the plants to get the borers. They eventually always win. It’s so frustrating!

    • Dave says:

      Fortunately I rarely get a squash vine borer here. I think the best solution it to plant resistant varieties like the moschatas. Butternuts, the neck pumpkins Seminole, Tetsukabuto and the Dickinson pumpkin are all resistant to SVB. Squash bugs are the main problem, and I don’t have a good solution for them.

      • Denise says:

        Lucky you that you don’t see many SVB’s. They can be frustrating. I look forward to trying these new varieties next year. Thanks for the info! I love your site!

  5. ray says:

    what is your seed source for these interesting squash varieties

    • Dave says:

      Hi Ray, the Buffy and Turkeyneck seeds came from NESeed. The Tetsukabuto came from Pinetree. The Pepitas and Honeybaby are both available from Park Seed. Dickinson pumpkin and Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash are available from Baker Creek. And Tromba d’Albenga is available from Renee’s Garden Seeds and Seeds From Italy.

  6. Margaret says:

    I’m so envious of all that squash!! Mine are a bust this year as the rabbits (of course!!) got to my only 2 butternut vines and I think they got to another one on the bales as it was completely severed at the base. The other plants in the bales are nothing to write home about either this year – just an all around bad squash year for me, unfortunately but the positive is that I still have a LOT of squash in the freezer from last year 🙂
    Margaret recently posted…Garden Project of 2017 – The PlanMy Profile

  7. Phuong says:

    Your squashes look so beautiful, and it sounds like they’re crazy productive. I went through the garden today and picked all our winter squashes, the plants were already done for due to squash bugs and vine borers which were truly terrible this year. We just got 2 tiny delicata squashes and maybe a dozen of the bigger squashes. Ah well, I’ll just grow cushaws and butternuts next year.

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