Just wondering what the latest date is to plant earlier maturing winter squash like buttercup in Zone 5-6 and realistically getting some mature fruit.
Well, it depends upon your climate and knowing your zone is little indication. For example, I'm in zone 8 (PNW) but I have to get my winter squash in the ground before lots of people in zones 5-7 that have a warmer spring and summer. In any case, I think it's too late for this year, if that's what you're after.
Canuckistani, if my memory serves me, you have weather very similar to what I experience in Wisconsin. I'm afraid that I agree with Tcstoehr; most winter squash wouldn't have time to mature if planted now.
However, acorn squash mature very quickly. I planted them just about this time last year, since spring flooding prevented me from planting my hubbards & buttercups. They not only matured, but thrived in the warmer conditions... it was the best crop I ever had.
I agree with Zeedman, about the only winter squash you can grow this late in the season is acorn squash. They generally take about 90 days to maturity. That would take you to the end of September / beginning of October.
You may be able to find some seedlings at a gardening center. That would speed up the process by a couple of weeks.
I'm in zone 5 s.w. lower MI. I also wasn't able to any winter squash started due to everthing else going on in the garden. I am going to try an acorn and put a mini hoop over it to try to get it to maturity. I figure I only have a few seeds and a bit of time to lose and more for the compost pile if it doesn't.
it is too late for me to chance starting winter squash, around the beggining of june works best here, they seem to keep the best if they have time to harden up in the field, spagetti squash always mature the first for me, and they are great keepers.
Thanks for the tip Zeedman. I looked at the various winter squash out there and was coming to the same conclusion- acorn squash seems like the way to go. I'm going to plant a bunch of Table Queen out there today (this variety is supposed to be one of the least inviting for cuke beetles too which are an issue for me). Glad to hear you got a bumper harvest planting the acorn squash this late- hopefully I'll have the same luck!