22 Winter Squash Varieties For Fall Harvests

Are you thinking of adding winter squash to your garden this season? There are many types to choose from, depending on your hardiness zone. In this article, gardening expert and farm owner Jenna Rich looks at the most popular types of winter squash to grow this season, with names and pictures of each!

A close-up reveals a small orange winter squash gently resting horizontally on the fertile, dark soil. The fruit is encircled by vibrant green leaves.

Winter squash has always been a popular crop among farmers and backyard growers. They are incredibly easy to grow and typiclaly have a high yield. With so many varieties to choose from, it can be a challenge to decide which ones to grow in your garden.

These sweet, dense storage crops pack a nutritional punch and are meant to sustain us all winter long. They can also be used impeccably in fall decorations due to their unique shapes, colors, and textures. Choosing variety begins with deciding how you plan to use the squash in the first place!

Here is a brief history of some of the most popular types of winter squash and 22 of my favorite varieties as a professional organic farmer. Whether you are looking for something to bake, roast, add to soup, or to use as fall decorations, there is a variety just for you!


Delicata/Sweet Dumpling Varieties

The scientific name of delicata squash is Cucurbita pepo. It’s sometimes referred to as peanut squash or Bohemian squash. People love its smooth texture, sweet flavor, and consistent shape, making it easy to work with in the kitchen. 

Cornell University’s Department of Plant Breeding helped increase the delicata squash’s popularity after they bred seeds with resistance to powdery mildew. Although it has a shorter shelf-life than some other options, you won’t be sorry you made space in your garden for some of this sweet, thin-skinned squash. 

Honey Boat

Three honey boat squash with buttery yellow flesh that has contrasting dark green stripes that stretch vertically across their smooth skin. They rest in green grass.
The uniform shape of delicata squash facilitates easy cleaning.
  • Appearance: Coppery yellow skin with vertical striping that is the traditional dark green of delicatas. 
  • Flavor/Texture: Smooth, very sweet, and slightly nutty
  • Days to Maturity: 90
  • Storability: up to 3 months 

This variety is exceptionally sweet, said to be one of the sweetest delicata squash. It offers thin, edible skin after being cleaned and roasted. My favorite way to prepare delicata is cleaned out, cut into ¼-inch half-moons, and roasted with sea salt and olive oil. 

Once cut in half lengthwise, its uniform shape makes it very easy to clean out the “guts.” It also offers lots of seeds for later use. 

Bonus: Delicata squash requires no curing before eating!


A collection of Carnival squash, smaller in size than acorn squash but similar in appearance, forms an enchanting arrangement. The vibrant shades of dark green and orange create a captivating geometric pattern that catches the eye.
Carnival’s exceptional beauty makes it suitable as a captivating centerpiece before being consumed.
  • Appearance: Average 1 ½ lbs each, intricate, geometric like orange and dark green patterning on a buttercream colored backdrop with the shape of acorn squash but a bit smaller.
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty, similar to the butternut
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 2-3 months 

Carnival squash is a mix of delicata and acorn squash. It offers a very thick skin and is most often roasted, steamed, boiled, or sauteed.

Its unique beauty allows this squash to double as an eye-catching centerpiece before consumption! It is high in vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, folate, and fatty acids. You can find carnival squash in many recipes.

Note: This semi-bush variety will display more green tones than orange ones when grown in hot weather.

Butternut Squash Varieties

The butternut squash was developed in the 1940s in Massachusetts by Charles Leggett when he crossed gooseneck squash with others to create a large, good-tasting squash for families.

Unfortunately, breeder rights were not yet in place, so he did not benefit much. His final creation was ultimately named ‘Waltham’ after the agricultural experiment station in Massachusetts near Leggett’s gardens.

Butternut has a nutty flavor and is most similar to pumpkin. It is part of the species Cucurbita moschata and has become one of the more popular varieties due to its size, versatility, and high-yielding plants. 


A close-up on 'Waltham' Butternut Winter Squash showcases its long, thick, cylindrical shape, boasting a light beige complexion and a remarkably straight form. It proudly stands against the rich, dark soil, connected to a vibrant green branch.
Peeling Waltham is easier, thanks to the long, straight neck.
  • Appearance: 8-12 inches long, thick and cylindrical, light beige in color, and fairly straight.
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty, smooth flesh
  • Days to Maturity: 105
  • Storability: up to 2 months

Waltham is the benchmark for butternut varieties. The fruits are large, the seed cavities are small, and they have uniformly sized and shaped fruits. 

Due to their long and straight necks, these squash are easier to peel than some others. Simply hold the squash in place and use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin skin.

This variety has thick stems, which help resist vine borers


A close-up on the 'Butterbaby' Butternut Winter Squash reveals a miniature, darker brown version of the classic butternut squash. The blurred background showcases other squashes of its kind, suspended in mid-air, accompanied by lush green leaves.
Cleaning this squash before use is easy due to its very small seed cavity.
  • Appearance: 4-6 inches long, it looks like a darker brown, miniature version of butternut squash. It can feature some light striping. 
  • Flavor: Sweet, smooth, with a buttery texture
  • Days to Maturity: 100 
  • Storability: 3-4 months

Butterbaby gained popularity among CSA farmers and roadside farm stand growers because of its “mini” shape and size. This squash offers a very small seed cavity, which makes cleaning before use a breeze.  

Its petite size also makes it perfect for a quick snack, dessert, or a meal for 1-2 people. It is most often roasted but is also seen prepared by steaming and sauteeing.

Black Futsu

A collection of young and mature 'Black Futsu' Winter Squash exhibits an intriguing appearance. The young ones display blocky, ribbed, and bumpy textures in a dark green shade, while the mature ones show a blush brown/orange hue, resembling a dusty surface.
This type can be used as a distinctive decorative item.
  • Appearance: Blocky, 3-5 lbs, ribbed and bumpy, dark green when young, blush brown/orange when mature, almost dusty looking.
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty, deepened when roasted to an almost chestnut flavor. Great in pies.
  • Days to Maturity: 105 
  • Storability: 4-5 months 

Black Futsu is a Japanese heirloom cultivated since the 17th century. It is traditionally prepared during the winter solstice.

Its compact and highly productive plants and extremely long storage capability have helped it recently gain popularity here in the States. It can also serve as a unique ornamental piece due to its color scheme and uncommon texture. 

Spaghetti Squash Varieties

Spaghetti squash, part of the Cucurbita pepo species, can be roasted and then “forked” or scraped out to form spaghetti-sized strands, offering a gluten-free, satiating meal option. They are loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, beta carotene, and fiber, but just 40 calories in a cooked cup. This squash is a healthy alternative if you are sensitive to regular pasta or want to decrease your gluten consumption.

The skins are thin, so this variety gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Like other varieties, the seeds are also edible, so be sure to save those for later. 


A close-up unveils a few Spaghetti Winter Squash, characterized by their elongated oblong shape and radiant yellow skin. The bunch adds a vibrant touch to any culinary creation.
The classic variety of spaghetti squash is proven to have the best overall consistency.
  • Appearance: 3-5 lbs each, oblong shape, skin that changes from ivory to a bright yellow at maturity. 
  • Flavor: Not as sweet, more mild and nutty
  • Days to Maturity: 88
  • Storability: up to 3 months 

Trials conclude that this variety has the best overall “spaghetti” consistency. It’s the classic spaghetti squash variety. 

These plants prefer heat and full sun, produce 4-5 fruits per plant, and can produce up to 8-foot-long vines. They are pretty easygoing when it comes to growing needs. 

Note: Spaghetti squash is high in fiber but low in carbs, so you don’t have to feel guilty going back for seconds!

Angel Hair

A close-up on a bunch of Angel Hair showcases roundish egg-shaped spaghetti squash varieties. The bright yellow color hints at the delectable strands of goodness concealed within.
This is a slightly smaller, roundish egg-shaped variety of spaghetti squash.
  • Appearance: 1-1 ½ lbs each; colors range from light cream to bright buttery, bright yellow. 
  • Flavor: Less sweet, more mild and nutty
  • Days to Maturity: 88 
  • Storability: up to 3 months 

Next time you look for a low-calorie starch high in fiber and nutrients, look no further than spaghetti squash. Angel Hair is a roundish egg-shaped spaghetti squash variety that is a bit smaller than most, making it a good option for a personal stuffed squash dish. 

When strands of roasted squash are forked out, the “noodles” resemble, you guessed it, angel hair pasta! It is used in the place of pasta, so top it with marinara, alfredo, or even piccata sauce for a healthier version of your favorite Italian dishes.

Buttercup Varieties

Buttercups are a blocky winter squash developed back in the 1920s in North Dakota and are part of the Cucurbita maxima species. Breeders at North Dakota State University wanted something sweet, like a sweet potato, that did not require such warm temperatures for success.

In 1925, Essex Hybrid, a boxy, orange turban-type variety, was accidentally mixed with Quality, a small, green squash that seems to have descendants of many squash types, including Hubbard. The result was the first buttercup called Burgess Buttercup.


A close-up snapshot features the 'BonBon' Buttercup Winter Squash, showcasing its dark green exterior adorned with elegant grayish striping. Surrounded by a few similar squashes, they rest atop a cloth, waiting to be admired.
The large cavity makes this variety perfect for personal stuffed meals.
  • Appearance: 4-5 lbs each, dark green with grayish striping on the exterior, light orange flesh with larger seed cavity.
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty, creamy texture
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 3-6 months

Bonbon is a boxy, dark green buttercup variety that is uniform in flavor, appearance and has high-yielding plants. It was one of the chosen All-America Selections (AAS) back in 2005. 

This type of squash is great for personal stuffed meals due to its nice, large cavity. Try it with rice, greens, quinoa, and parmesan cheese for a quick dinner.

Acorn Squash Varieties

Acorn squash originated in the Americas and has been prized for its storage capability and versatility for hundreds of years. Although it is considered a winter squash due to its long storage life and nutrition, acorn squash is actually part of the summer squash family

Fun fact: Acorn squash was once grown solely for the seeds, and the delicious flesh was discarded.

Starry Night PMR

Close-up of Starry Night PMR squashes that are freshly harvested. In this captivating autumn photo, a collection of ripe, shiny squashes are seen, serving as a testament to a fruitful harvest.
Starry Night is a standout variety known for long storage, making it a must-have squash for your lineup.
  • Appearance: 2-2 ½ lbs each, unique pixelated pattern; dark green background featuring orange and dark yellow stripes and squares. It’s hard to mistake this variety for others.
  • Flavor: Sweet and smooth, much less stringy than other acorns
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 3-4 months, well into the new year 

This variety is a showstopper known for its long storage time and moderate powdery mildew resistance. PMR stands for Powdery Mildew Resistant, so you shouldn’t have any problems with that when growing Starry Night in your garden!

Some green acorn squash varieties lack flavor, but Starry Night delivers. It was developed in Maine and is always organic. This is definitely a squash you should add to your lineup. 

Pro tip: Wait at least 2 weeks after harvest for the sweetest flavor.


A cluster of 'Tuffy' Acorn Winter Squash looks serene with their dark green skin and heavy ribbing. Some of them sport patches of yellow, adding a touch of variety to the bunch.
This acorn squash cultivar is ideal for stuffing and roasting, thanks to its sturdy exterior that allows for extended storage.
  • Appearance: 2 lbs each, dark green, heavy ribbing.
  • Flavor: Sweet, dry and thick flesh, golden yellow flesh
  • Days to Maturity: 90
  • Storability: 3 months 

This is a classic acorn squash, both in appearance and flavor. The tough rind of this variety makes it perfect for stuffing and roasting. It’s also what gives Tuffy its extra-long storage capabilities. 

This variety is one of the best-tasting of the acorn varieties. Try drizzling Tuffy with maple syrup, a dusting of cinnamon, and a dab of butter after roasting for a healthy dessert!

Hubbard Varieties

Hubbards are among the largest squashes, sometimes called green pumpkins. Even the smallest Hubbards can tower over a large butternut! They can be intimidating due to their size, but with some kitchen tips and practice, you’ll love cooking with these versatile squash. 

Their scientific name is Cucurbita maxima, and they originated in South America. Hubbards are popular due to their long storage life

Blue Hubbard

A bunch of 'Blue Hubbard' winter squash delights the eye with its distinctive blue-green hue, bulbous shape, and textured, bumpy skin. They recline on dry brown soil, evoking a sense of autumnal harvest.
This squash is known for its unique blue-green bumpy appearance, perfect for making soup.
  • Appearance: 12-15 lbs each, blue-green hue, bulbous shaped, bumpy. Smooth yellow flesh.
  • Flavor: Dry, sweet-ish, can be a little grainy
  • Days to Maturity: 100
  • Storability: 4-6 months

Blue Hubbard is a New England favorite among roadside shoppers and growers. It is said to have arrived in Massachusetts in 1798 and was named after Elizabeth Hubbard. Its introduction launched the career of nurseryman James JH Gregory. 

This unique blue-green bumpy heirloom is popular for soup-making due to its massive size and versatile, mild flavor.

Pink Banana

Close up of a long, pinkish-yellow squash resting on the grassy ground next to a few other varieties of squash in an array of colors: orange, yellow, dusty green, and dark green.
Pink Banana squash can weigh up to 40 pounds in home gardens.
  • Appearance: 9-12 lbs each, light pink-orange hue, elongated shape that curves slightly as it matures.
  • Flavor: Sweet and unassuming, similar to butternut
  • Days to Maturity: 110
  • Storability: 3-6 months

These massive squash can reach weights of 40 pounds, and even some have hit 70 pounds. However, the average weight is 9-12 pounds, so you don’t have to worry about lugging squash in your garden that’s roughly the size of a small child.

Pink Banana squash have a fairly uniform shape that makes it easy to slice for cooking. They are good for canning and baking.


A close-up on 'Tetsukabuto' Hubbard Winter Squash reveals its stunning dark green skin. Inside, we discover its luscious dark orange flesh. Another unopened squash of the same variety lies beside it, preserving its secrets.
The Tetsu squash is highly productive but requires ample space.
  • Appearance: 3-5 lb each, gorgeous dark green skin color, dark orange flesh.
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty
  • Days to Maturity: 100
  • Storability: 4-6 months 

Tetsukabuto, or Tetsu for short, is a mix between kabocha and butternut squash (Cucurbita maxima x C. moschata). It must be grown near butternut, kabocha, Hubbard, or buttercup squash to ensure pollination and produce fruit.

Its name translates to “iron helmet” and was bred in the 1960s. The plant requires lots of space and is highly productive

Pro tip: Cure for at least 6 weeks before eating for optimal sweetness.

Red Kuri

Two Orange Hokkaido, also known as "onion squash," lay amidst their lush green leaves. The pair harmoniously blending with the rich, dark soil beneath them.
This squash plant is highly productive and can withstand drought conditions.
  • Appearance: 3-5 lbs each, dark orange/red, unique tear-drop shape
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty, smooth flesh
  • Days to Maturity: 92
  • Storability: 4-6 months 

Also known as Orange Hokkaido or “onion squash,” due to its shape, the Red Kuri squash is popular for use in pies and soups. 

Try adding Red Kuri to muffins and pies for a gorgeous red hue and added nutrients. This high-producing squash plant is also drought tolerant.


Close up of four bright red-orange , pear-shaped squash with short, light brown dried stems on the top. Each squash has streaks of dark green radiating from the stem.
This vareity of winter squash has been around for generations.
  • Appearance: 4-8 lbs each, vibrant crimson-red skin with dark green streaks, one-of-a-kind pear shape
  • Flavor: Sweet and nutty
  • Days to Maturity: 100
  • Storability: 4-6 months 

This brightly colored variety is unique in appearance with its red skin that has flashes of dark green. That, paired with its pear shape, makes it a charming addition to autumn decor.

Lakota was once a staple variety of the Lakota Sioux tribe, and has been carried throughout history for its adaptability, storability, and superior flavor. It is an excellent variety for baking.

Kabocha Squash Varieties

Kabocha squash are lovingly called Japanese pumpkins, but their origin is convoluted. We know that it originated in the Americas and was introduced to Asia and Europe in the 16th century, brought over by travelers. They are members of the Cucurbita maxima species. 

Kachoba squash are high in fiber yet have a low glycemic index level. They are also drier in flavor, tasting and feeling more like sweet potatoes. Kabocha squash is high in Vitamin C, B vitamins, and iron.

They are round and squat, like a squashed, shortened version of a pumpkin. In Japan, they are often used in tempura.


A close-up captures a sizeable Sunshine squash, its captivating skin donning a dark reddish-orange hue. Behind it, another squash of the same variety can be seen, accompanied by fresh green leaves on the sides.
Sunshine squash is an ideal choice for farmers’ market presentations because of its consistent shape and size.
  • Appearance: 3-5 lbs each, dark, reddish orange hue.
  • Flavor: Sweet; thought of as one of the best-tasting varieties out there. 
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 3 months 

Due to its uniform shape and size, Sunshine is perfect for farmers’ market displays and fall decor. The dark orange color is appealing and looks great on a table setting.

Sunshine is excellent for baking in pies or a mashed side dish. No curing is required, so you can enjoy this squash right off the vine!

Sweet Meat

Close up of a display of several squat, round squash in a slate gray hue in a pile. There are some squash that have light brown dirt markings on them. Each one has a light brown dried stem that is about 2 inches tall on the top.
This unique variety is ideal for farmers’ markets or farm stands for its incredible color.
  • Appearance: 10-15 lbs each, beautiful pale pink with hints of light blue at harvest.
  • Flavor: Sweet, rich, buttery, fine-grained
  • Days to Maturity: 115
  • Storability: 4-5 months

The interesting color of Sweet Meat is a great option for a farmers’ market or garden stand. However, this variety is more than its color. It has a delicious flavor that is excellent by itself, but is also commonly used in soups, pies, and roasts.

This variety is considered an heirloom that has been passed down for generations. It does take up a lot of space in the garden, but has a high yield.

Winter Sweet

A solitary Winter Sweet squash exudes an ethereal charm with its pale gray-green appearance, reminiscent of a dusty vintage treasure. It remains connected to a nurturing green branch, while the background features dry brown soil.
The excellent storage capacity of Winter Sweet enhances its taste over time.
  • Appearance: 4-5 lbs each, pale gray, green, almost dusty in appearance.
  • Flavor: Flaky, sweet
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 2-5 months 

This variety pairs nicely with Sweet Meat due to its lovely grayish, green hue. Use it as part of your fall decor for a great conversation starter. 

Winter Sweet has amazing storage capability, and its flavor improves with time


A single Cha-Cha squash captivates with its gorgeous dark green shade adorned with lighter flecks and delicate striping. A lone green leaf gracefully accompanies it, while both rest upon the brown soil, supported by a vibrant green branch.
This is a classic green kabocha that offers superb storability.
  • Appearance: 4-5 lbs each, gorgeous dark green with lighter flecks and striping, bright orange flesh 
  • Flavor: Flaky, sweet, dry 
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 2-5 months 

Round out your kabocha collection with Cha-Cha, a classic green kabocha with improved storability. These plants put out an average of four fruits per vine

When you see the Cha-Cha, you’ll understand the nickname “green pumpkin” because that’s exactly what it looks like. It is dark green and rounded, with light green striping.

Pumpkin Varieties

Standard “field pumpkins” are for decorative uses such as carving Jack-o-lanterns, but there are also sweet and pie pumpkin varieties that feature thinner skin, smaller sizes, and sweeter flavor. Pumpkins, believe it or not, are members of the Cucurbita pepo species.

They are great for pies, soups, and wintertime quiches. Just a few are mentioned here, but there are lots of pumpkin varieties to choose from! 

Baby Pam

Three small round orange pumpkins with 3-4 inch dark green stems sit on the grassy ground next to large leaves that are green and yellow with some brown spots.
This cultivar is particularly suitable for making pumpkin pie or bread due to its flavor profile.
  • Appearance: 2-4 lbs each, classic, round, smooth orange pumpkin
  • Flavor: Perfect pie flavor, smooth texture
  • Days to Maturity: 99
  • Storability: 2-3 months 

The tiny, round, uniform shape also makes it perfect for painting, carving, and decorating. They grow to be about 5 inches tall and wide.

While it can serve as a small ornamental pumpkin for fall displays, its sweet flavor begs it to be cooked and eaten. This culinary pumpkin variety is a delectable option for baking pies and other pumpkin desserts. Its flavor profile lends itself well to cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Porcelain Doll

A cluster of Porcelain Doll, Pumpkin Winter Squash enchants with its exquisite dusty pink hue, beautifully accentuated by its pronounced ribbing and blocky form. The bunch hints at the bountiful sweetness within.
When cultivating Porcelain Doll, make sure to allocate enough space for their long vining habits.
  • Appearance: 16-24 lb each, a gorgeous dusty pink hue with heavy ribbing, quite blocky.
  • Flavor: Sweet and silky
  • Days to Maturity: 110
  • Storability: 2-3 months 

This uniquely colored pumpkin adds interest to fall farmers’ market tables or home decor. It is said to have sweet flesh perfect for soups, pies, and cookies. 

Porcelain Doll has long vining habits, so be sure to make space for the sprawling plants. It’s best to harvest when fruits are fully pink

Bonus: This pumpkin has moderate resistance to powdery mildew.

Rouge Vif D’Etampes

Two impressive Rouge Vif D'Etampes, Pumpkin Winter Squash rests with their robust, dark red-orange complexion and flattened shape adorned with delicate ribbing. Placed upon the soil ground, they find themselves embraced by small green leaves.
This French heirloom has a striking deep red-orange color, which is highly sought after in Parisian markets.
  • Appearance: 10-20 lbs each, dark red/orange, flattened shape with light ribbing and orange flesh 
  • Flavor: Excellent pie flavor, moderately sweet
  • Days to Maturity: 95
  • Storability: 2-3 months

Known here in the United States as Cinderella, this French heirloom variety is sure to command attention at a farmers’ market or on display in your home. Its deep red-orange color is popular in Parisian markets, where it is sold as wedges and used in French soup stocks

The name translates to “vivid red from Etampes.” Etampes is the town near Paris where this pumpkin was grown. This variety was introduced to the US in 1883.

Growing Winter Squash

Once you’ve picked a few varieties, here are some tips to maximize your yields!

Start Seeds Indoors

 Several small leaves of winter squash emerge from the fertile, dark soil, showcasing their vibrant green color with intricate white patterns. Their appearance adds an artistic touch to the garden.
When starting plants indoors or direct seeding, you have the chance to choose the strongest ones.

Just like summer squash and other cucurbits, winter squash are sensitive to cold temperatures and frost, so it’s best to start seeds indoors. Transplant them outdoors when soil temperature and overnight lows are at least 55° consistently, and frost danger has passed. 

Pro tip: Starting plants inside versus direct seeding allows you to select the healthiest plants. As with all cucurbits, transplant very gently as they do not like their rootball messed with. Dig the hole, place the squash plant in, tuck it in gently with soil, and lightly tamp it down.

If you are growing in northern regions with shorter seasons, consider smaller varieties or ones with a shorter maturity time.

Space Accordingly 

Squash plants in their early growth stage, consisting solely of verdant leaves, find themselves firmly planted in the rich, dark soil, neatly enclosed by rectangular wooden planters. The lush green leaves contrast beautifully against the backdrop of an orange-bricked wall.
Consider bush varieties such as ‘Butterbush’ or ‘Gold Nugget’ if you have limited space.

Depending on the variety, plants should be given 2-3 feet of space each to successfully vine out and set fruit. If you are short on space, consider bush varieties such as Butterbush or Gold Nugget.

Pest Pressure

A vibrant young orange winter squash sits gracefully upon a bed of lush green branches and delicate grasses. Tiny grey Cucumber beetles explore the textured surface of the winter squash, drawn to its enticing aroma and nourishing presence.
To protect your crop, watch out for squash bugs, as they can cause significant damage.

Cucumber beetles love young winter squash seedlings, so if you can wait just a few weeks to avoid the first generation of hatching, you may miss them and save your plants. They are hungry when they hatch, so it’s best if you don’t have their favorite thing around for them to feed on!  

Squash bugs come later in the season, and they can destroy your winter squash patch if you’re not keeping an eye out for them. Check the underside of leaves for their eggs and destroy any found a few times a week for organic control. Insect netting will help keep pests away as well. 

Provide Enough Time, Food, and Water

A green watering can shower a squash plant in its early stage, with wide green leaves and long branches reaching out. The plant grows on rich dark soil, eagerly awaiting the arrival of its future fruit.
To ensure proper hydration, provide at least one inch of water per week.

This crop will be in the ground for a long time, so be sure to prepare your soil before transplanting with compost and a well-balanced fertilizer. Keep the nitrogen level low, otherwise, you’ll have lots of foliage on your plants but very little fruit.

Each plant needs at least an inch of water per week. Deep watering at the base of the plant using drip tape or soaker hoses is best. The heavy foliage can block water from reaching the roots when overhead watering. 

Pro tip: Mulch with straw, landscape fabric, or wood chips to keep weed pressure down and hold in moisture.

How to Cure 

Basking in sunlight, a variety of winter squash display vibrant color combinations of green, orange, and yellow. Each squash possesses its own unique dominance of color, creating a visually appealing bunch.
Provide winter squash with at least one inch of water per week to ensure proper watering.

If you are growing a variety that requires curing, lay the squash out in a single layer in a warm spot such as a sunny window, on a table in a greenhouse, or even in your yard. Be sure to check the forecast because you don’t want them to be rained on. 

Most fruits will fully cure in about 7-14 days in sunny conditions. Turn them over every 1-2 days for even curing. Curing allows winter squash to sweeten up and the external skin to harden up, increasing its storage life. 

Note: Acorn squash is one of the only winter squash types that will actually decline in quality if laid out to cure. They will keep without curing for about 2-3 months.

Proper Storage

A close-up on a big orange winter squash, surrounded by several others of its kind. The ground beneath them is covered in a bunch of hay, creating a rustic and natural setting.
Some squashes should not be cured. Check the variety’s information before curing.

Many varieties have long storage life under ideal conditions. A few tips for increasing storability:

  • Keep about 3 inches of the stem intact when harvesting. It protects the squash from internal rot and disease. 
  • Always select the best-looking, blemish-and-mold-free fruits to store, leaving any others in your kitchen to be used first.
  • Healthy fruits will have the longest storage potential. 
  • Store in a cool (around 60°), dry, and well-ventilated area of your home, garage, or basement. 
  • Try to keep the humidity level around 50-70%.
  • Monitor often and discard any soft, moldy, or foul-smelling squash ASAP.
  • Do not consume even partially rotten winter squash. 

Note: Storage times listed in this article are simply estimates. The success of storing any root vegetable depends on many factors, including the fruit’s health, humidity levels, temperature, storage technique, etc.

Final Thoughts

Winter squash is one of the most versatile vegetables you can grow, and they are known to store well for up to several months! You should always have them on hand for when you need a quick, hardy meal. 

Things to remember when growing them: 

  • Give them enough space to vine out in a sunny spot.
  • Feed them properly and provide compost-rich soil.
  • Keep pest and weed pressure down and water sufficiently.
  • Select varieties that will grow well in your zone.

Many winter squash can be stored for several months after harvest, providing nutrient-dense meals all winter long. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you try growing them!

Zucchini growing next to one another spaced in rows


How Far Apart Should You Plant Zucchini?

Are you getting ready to plant zucchini but aren't quite sure how far apart they need to be? Zucchini typically grows best when they have a little space, but how much space is needed? In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen shares the ideal spacing requirements for your garden grown zucchini this season.

Zucchini growing in garden laying on ground ready for harvest


When Should You Start Planting Zucchini This Season?

Are you planting zucchini this season? Before you start putting seeds into the ground, it's important to understand that the best time to plant zucchini will depend on your planting location. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey examines the best times to plant zucchini broken down by each USDA hardiness zone!

Winter Sown Brassicas in Container With Seedlings


How to Winter Sow Brassicas in 7 Easy Steps

Are you feeling the winter gardener blues? We have the cure with an easy way to get gardening now- even if winter is still raging outside. Especially useful for cold-hardy brassicas, you can winter sow now for healthy seedlings that won’t require hardening off in spring. In this article, gardening expert Danielle Sherwood explains what you need to know to get a jump start on the season with winter sowing!

tomatoes and brussel sprouts


Can You Plant Tomatoes With Brussels Sprouts?

Thinking of planting some brussel sprouts in your garden this season, but not sure if these two plants are quite compatible together? In this article, gardening expert and homesteader Merideth Cohrs examines if it's a good idea to plant brussel sprouts next to your tomatoes this season!


How and When to Harvest Tomatoes

Confused about the best time of season to harvest your garden tomatoes, or the best time to start harvesting? Harvesting at the right time can mean the difference between a low-yield and a productive one. In this article, gardening expert Jenna Rich examines when you should start harvesting your tomatoes, and the best process to do it.