When are acorn squash ready?

leisa_in_md(z6 MD)July 18, 2009

I have about a softball size acorn squash on the vine. How do I know when it's ready to pick? I've never grown these before. It's light green. Does it turn dark green while on the vine, or does it do that when you pick it?

While I'm at it, same goes for butternut. I have really small green ones. Do they turn that yellow-tan color on the vine? and that how I know when it's ready?

Thanks!!! I'm a total squash newbie :)


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The acorn should be ripe long before the butternut. The butternut should probably stay on the vine until the vine is dying and cold weather is coming. Although it should be picked and brought indoors before near-freezing temps. Butternuts will last a long time in storage, the acorns will not. Neither will be ripe as long as you can press your thumbnail thru the rind. I plan on eating my acorn squash as they ripen, storing no more than a month or so. The Butternuts should not be eaten until cured, meaning stored at room temperature for two weeks. The acorns don't need this process, just pick 'em and bake 'em.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

And acorns will turn a very dark green and a dark yellow to orange spot about the size of a silver dollar will form where there is ground contact when ripe. The skin/shell will be quite hard, so hard you can't dent it with your fingernail.

Winter squash such as these can be harvested early if you wish to eat them right now but for storage purposes they are usually not harvested until close to fall. ;)


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Concur. In Maryland, acorns will probably be ready in late August, Butternuts in September. I usually wait until the vines start to fail.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 2:24PM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

I don't have any ground contact, going up a trellis. I have one very dark green. I tried to pull it off the vine, was twisting and pulling and gave up w/ wet hands from the stem. I guess it didn't want to come off yet, and I didn't want to stress the plant. It's on my monster plant, leaves at least 18" long. Other 3 plants have less than a foot leaves.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 2:48PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

When fully mature, winter squash should be harvested with a knife so as not to damage the vine and interfere with the rest of the squash on that vine.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 3:33PM
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leisa_in_md(z6 MD)

Thanks for all the info!!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 6:32PM
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