It got cold here last night, about 35, but did not freeze. Woke up this morning and my winter squash was wilted and dead. Why is it called "winter squash" if it dies in winter?
That is a good question, why winter over fall. I think it likely has more to do with when you eat them. Summer squash you eat in the summer because they won't store well. Whereas winter squash you can eat throughout the entire winter when many other crops aren't available.
But you are right squash are extremely frost sensitive. They are normally one of the first things to go when it starts getting cold.
The term "winter squash" refers to the ability to store/keep the particular squash over the winter due to a hard shell/skin. The squash is slow growing, so you plant earlier in the year so that the maturity date is right before your area's average first frost/freeze date. You want to be picking your last one up until then. Then, since the skins/shell is harder than most, they will store for a very long time over where you can eat them over the winter.