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Tips for growing winter squash

Posted by texasflip Friendswood,TX z9 (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 31, 10 at 21:53

I've grown zucchini and other summer squashes in the past and have had success, but I'd really like to try winter squashes this year. I bought some Waltham butternut seeds which seem to be the standard variety for butternut squashes.

What are some tips for growing winter squash? There's plenty of info online, but none really specific to Texas. Are they something I need to get started as soon as possible to avoid the heat? I read on the TAMU extension site that squash borers can be a problem but are less so later in summer so should a plant a little later than normal?

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RE: Tips for growing winter squash

  • Posted by tripod z9 League City, TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 3, 10 at 23:24

Hi, Flip.

I'm down in League City and have grown several varieties of winer squash from all of the different families. I always have better luck in the early spring and late fall.

Squash vine borers usually hit hard around May and continue through early fall. The best strategy I've found for any non-moschata squash is to start seeds indoors early to mid Febuary and set the plants out the first week of March (Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin is my non-moschata this year). This gives the them a good two months to get big and be well on their way to producing fruit before the borers hit. Once they do hit, you can battle them all you want, but they'll get the plants sooner or later. Hopefully, you can harvest your squash before then.

For fall planting, I stick with borer resistanct C. moschata varities because the little buggers are still out in force when I place seeds in early to mid August. The plants don't like our August heat so much, and don't usually set fruit until mid-September. But this gives you plenty of time to harvest since our first frosts don't usually occur until December.

If you haven't already done so, plant your butternut seeds. They'll be a month or so behind, but it's OK since they are a moschata and resistant to SWB. You should be able to harvest some nice squash before the heat gets too intense.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

RE: Tips for growing winter squash

Thanks tripod,

That makes a lot of sense. I never realized how bad of a problem borers were. I haven't grown squash for years and I don't seem to remember them bothering my zucchini, but we'll see how it goes.

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