What Kind of Squash is This?

MelusinJuly 12, 2014

This squash plant has been growing wild in our garden in the Dallas, TX, area. Today we found that it has been producing fruit but we are unsure what kind of squash this is, also - whether summer or winter squash, when to harvest, etc. I would be most grateful for any tips. If more information is needed, I'd be happy to provide that as well. for size comparison, please see the peanut shell lying next to it. Thank you for any help, it is much appreciated.

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stimpy926

Looks like a gourd

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:59PM
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Melusin

Thank you Paula! Would you happen to know if these are edible and when to harvest them? As you can tell, I am rather clueless...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:17PM
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larry_gene

Some butternut squash have that shape and coloration when immature, although that wouldn't be growing "wild", unless you mean it has happened just this year and perhaps some seed was discarded in that soil some months ago.

It does look like a winter squash, harvest in the fall or when most of the vine and leaves have died back.

It will be interesting to let it mature and cut it open to see if the flesh is typical of winter squash.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Melusin

Larry, this is very useful information, thank you. I assume winter squash means orange flesh?

What I meant was that this "vine" started growing a few months ago in a now bare spot in our garden (we had a tree there but it died during an ice storm last year and had to be removed). We didn't pay it much attention, were just glad that it seemed to be growing rapidly to cover that area and was producing these large yellow flowers. Today my husband went back to that corner to weed a bit and found the squash. Since we are feeding birds year round we were thinking that the seed(s) for this squash must have traveled with a bird. But we did not plant this nor did it grow there before.

So do you suggest that we leave it alone until the fall or should we just give it a try with one squash now just to test?

I am beginning to realize that I know nothing about squash at all (other than to buy it in the store). Thanks for educating me!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:14AM
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larry_gene

Yes, most winter squash has flesh that is some shade of orange, but immature winter squash flesh will be very pale, yellow, green, whitish, etc.

Wouldn't surprise me that winter squash seed is included in some bird feeds.

I would leave it alone until October unless the plant looks shot sometime after Labor Day. Many recent butternut hybrids have been developed to have a very thick neck, they are nearly the same size at both ends, this results in more flesh. I still see some narrow-necked ones around, or your seedling may be reverting to one of these earlier hybrids.

If you have several squash on the vine, you can play around with one, but it would have very little or a mild flavor and would be used in recipes or cooking just like a summer squash.

Winter squash harvested in the fall have the best flavor and quality if allowed to "cure" a week or two at around 80 degrees. Keep an inch or more of stem on the squash, otherwise breaking it off right at the neck will cause a lot of inner liquid to run out.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Melusin

Larry, Thank you! This was tremendously helpful information and I am feeling less ignorant now. I will do as you say and only pick it in October, and will also heed your advice regarding cutting and curing.

Thanks again for your patience and help!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:53PM
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Melusin

I just wanted to post the conclusion to the mystery. Seems like Larry was right on with it being a butternut squash. Unfortunately some critter ate the two that had been growing so we won't even get to the harvest stage. Thanks nonetheless to the people who responded - I definitely learned something and just might try this again next year.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:27PM
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larry_gene

Would probably require a wire cage staked over individual squashes to prevent this. That squash colored well and would have been harvestable next month.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:58PM
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Melusin

Thanks Larry, we live and learn :-) The latter also thanks to you. Next year then...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:57PM
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