As summer turns into fall, most of the produce we harvested will begin to decay if not properly frozen, canned or pickled. If you are looking to add another crop to your garden that will keep for a longer period and double as decoration, look no further than a winter squash.
The most common of the winter squash is the Butternut, followed by Acorn. Other varieties include Buttercup, Candy Roaster, Cushaw, Delicata, Hubbard and Kabocha, along with pumpkins for pies.
When planning out the garden, please be aware that some varieties will vine up to 15 feet out from the plant. For varieties that have short vines, planting in hills of two seeds with around 4 feet apart should provide ample space. Longer varieties may need 12 feet between the hills.
Squash also are part of the Three Sisters gardening method.
While the plants grow and vine out, it is important to check often for disease and pest damage. Mildews may start to appear in late summer and can cause severe damage if left untreated.
When the weather chills, it will be time to harvest your squash and store them for later enjoyment.
By Evan Wilson, WVU Extension Agent – Cabell and Wayne Counties