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Winter squash appears ready but in Aug?!?

Posted by GeorgeA none (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 31, 12 at 22:37

Hello All,

I am growing my first winter squashes this year. I have planted Delicata, Hubbard, and Boston Marrow. I'm jumping in with both feet. :) I have had my troubles with borers but am getting some yield. Many of the Boston Marrow are already in the 8-10 lb range, bumpy, firm skin, and brilliant orange. Will they continue to ripen or have they max-ed out? Most postings have said to leave them on the vine until first frost but that is months away and I am concerned about losing the vines to borers or the squashes to mildew (or critters). Do I leave them be? It seems awfully early for them to look this mature. BTW, I'm in NJ zone 6B.

Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Winter squash appears ready but in Aug?!?

I garden in zone 8, and we don't leave winter squash on the vines until first frost!! :) It really does depend on your zone and on the season you are experiencing in that zone. I planted my butternut very late, and am almost ready to harvest 3 huge squash. I'll feed it again and let it continue, there are probably 12 squash on the vines and normally I get up to about 30 before frost. Hopefully yours will keep on going!!!

RE: Winter squash appears ready but in Aug?!?

I had this question myself recently:
I found that although my delicatas were hard and the color seemed right, they were not quite ready. The best course of action is to cut one and eat it--only way to know for sure!
You do not necessarily need to leave till frost, but for me in zone 7 I will be waiting longer to ensure my squash will be sweeter and last longer.
To avoid mildew, I placed straw beneath the large winter squash I grew last year. I grew the delicata on a trellis, which is working great.

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