Winter squash, also known as shubunkin and pole squash, are actually a vine-like vine that grows up to three meters high. They usually grow on fences or walls in the winter. The vines are named after the vegetable itself, because its shoots look like little vegetables when they are growing.
Winter squash, like all squash, are cross-bred. This means they both have both different male and female flowers. They also depend on bugs to pollinate them, which is why it's so easy for two types of winter squash to crossover and end up making hybrid seeds that won't grow out real. Crossbreeding can make these vegetables super tasty, but if you harvest the fruits before the plants have produced enough seeds, you'll have a harvest worth a lot less than the cost of the seeds.
To grow delicious and nutritious winter squash, a few things are needed. Growing them in pots is one way, but if the weather is too cold, it's better to stick with the more traditional way of planting. Growing them in a greenhouse is also pretty easy, but it will take longer. Here are a few tips for growing butternut squash in containers. It's not unusual to have them harvested in January, but if you want your harvest in January to taste delicious, you can plant them in late winter or early spring, before the first frost.
It's important to keep your squash plants healthy, so it's a good idea to buy some winter squash seeds that are just a bit short of full size. Squash season happens in December, so seedlings should be bought no later than January. In the vegetable section of your local nursery or seed store, look for dwarf tomato, bush tomato, sweet potato, acorn squash and the silver bean squash.
Since it takes about 110 days to grow a squash plant from a single seed, it makes sense to plan your squash-planting strategy ahead of time. The most common problem is the presence of sharp soil that kills the seeds before they've even had a chance to sprout. To prevent this problem, you can add bone meal to the soil a week before you plan to start harvesting. If you're planning on harvesting your winter squash seeds indoors, you can cover the area with plastic wrap for a few days prior to harvesting. This will help protect the young roots from extreme temperatures and keep the seedlings from drying out.
Harvest your winter squash seeds as soon as they are ready. If you're trying to grow fast growing varieties, pick them just after they produce a set of leaf or fruit. The best time to harvest your squash is during their last set of leaves or in late summer. However, keep in mind that some varieties have a habit of producing new leaves every few weeks or even every month. You can tell if the produce has begun to turn color by looking at the foliage; if it's turning yellow, you're getting ready to harvest. On the other hand, if the leaves are turning brown, the squash has not yet produced enough seeds to sprout.
While squash has a short growing season compared to other vegetables, they do better when planted in rows. It's important to alternate layers of plants in rows, about six weeks in between. You'll also need to apply fertilizer about two weeks in advance, while the plants are still growing. Since squashes require less water than other garden vegetables, you might consider using a drip system for watering. Another option is to use a hand held sprinkler or a planter hose.
Once your squash plant starts to develop flowers, it will be time to put them into flower pots and cover them with a cloth to protect them from birds and deer. Sweet dumplings and other early flowers are best planted in a raised bed with gravel or stones. Continue to feed them with a slow releasing fertilizer until the plants begin to produce fruit. Your sweet dumplings and other early season crops will be ready to harvest in about 90 days.