The Q&A Archives: Acorn Squash

Question: I started acorn squash from seed in mid April and transplanted them in the garden in late May. I'm having trouble knowing when the fruit can be harvested. The seed packet says 70 days, that would mean harvesting in July for a winter squash. How will I know when to harvest the fruit? What is the proper way to pick the squash?

Answer: The days to maturity on the seed packet are correct. Add about 10 days for seed germination, and the fruits should be ready to harvest in just under three months. You can leave the squash on the vine until the vines begin to shrivel, or you can harvest the earliest fruits when they're a reasonable eating size. Your plants will slow down their growth when the weather gets too hot, but will begin growing again when things cool down. You can adjust your harvesting to the growth rate, or just leave the fruits on the vine until late summer or early fall. Cut the squash from the vine leaving about one inch of stem, and allow to air cure in the field for 7-10 days. Winter squash really means that the squash stores well over the winter, if kept at 45F to 60F degrees in an area with good air circulation.

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