2017 was that second time in the six years that we have lived in this house where I have picked that last of my winter squash in December. In this case, December 7, 2017. I always leave the last few winter squash for picking at the last possible moment to get as many full ripe fruits as possible. Fortunately, I was watching my iPhone and thought the night get colder than I would like and did not want to risk my squash to a frost any longer. So, I went out into the rain and harvested my last four golden butternut squashes from my vegetable garden. As you can see in the picture about where they are still wet from the rain. In all, it was 42 pounds of ripe butternut squash.
It was a good thing I did because it was snowing a couple hours later, not a common thing here in San Antonio, Texas.
I’m a little slow getting this post, but as it happens, I’m cooking one of them, smaller for seed, ten pounders today, which got me thinking about the December harvest.
A popular winter storage squash of
excellent quality. A prolific, easy to grow, delicious butternut with improved
fruit uniformity and increased yields. Interior is thick rich sweet
yellow-orange flesh with a nutty flavor. A 1970 All-America Selection
(AAS) seed-industry award winner. Grows well in the southern U.S.A.
Days To Maturity
8” to 12″ long and 3” to 5” inches in width
grow to 6 feet, producing 4-5 squash per plant.
Sweet Dumpling is a very sweet, tender orange flesh and a acornish shape with ivory skin with dark green stripes. The Sweet dumpling has pale orange flesh About the perfect size for having and filling with a meat stuffing for a nice two-person meal starter.
Days To Maturity
A small to medium sized squash ranging in diameter from 5 to 7 inches.
¾ to 1 lb
Ivory skin with dark green stripes
Medium length vines
½ – 1″
Seeds Per group
Space Between Hills
4 – 6′
Day To Germination
7 – 14
Thin To (Plants Per hill)
Edible – Very good food qualities
Can be planted in your landscaping or in a very large pot. Also, can be grown vertically.
Perhaps, the better and most cost-effective way to keep winter squash and pumpkins is cool storage. For cool storage to be effective the fruit must be consistently stored above freezing and the germination temperature. Please note, Not all squash store equally well. With that said, I have stored some varieties a winter squash so long that we have had to eat them just to make room for the New Year’s harvest.
For best results:
cure in warm area squash or pumpkins for a week to 10 days,
clean off dirt with a damp soft cloth,
with a second clean soft cloth wash with 1 cup vinegar to one gallon of water, and allow the skin to dry completely before storage.
Store in a cool (40-550 F), dry place to prevent shrivel, lose weight, and to postpone spoilage as long as possible.
Position the fruit so that the fruit is not touching one another and so that air can flow freely around the fruit.
I recommend placing as many of the fruit where they can be easily seen, for easy inspection for signs for an impending loss. The sweetness and quality of squash or pumpkins often improve, if cured for 2 to 4 weeks, or more in storage.
Where to Store Squash and Pumpkins
where to store your squash is a little less important provided the required temperatures can be maintained. Some of the more common places are root cellars, pantries, basements. Just about any place with a cool constant temperature within the ranges required will do. However, it’s best if it’s a place that’s convenient and semi-protected. You don’t want your squash to be damaged by kids playing or by having to crawl over them to get to something important which might beast stored above are behind them. Perhaps, my favorite throughout the years has been the root cellar I grew up with them in Oregon and I’ve long appreciated their value for storing vegetables of all types including winter squash for long periods of time to do the harshest weather during winter. I have, in places like Virginia and Minnesota, used the basement of the home in which I lived. Pantries can be a little more problematic for a couple of reasons. First, having sufficient space to store all the pumpkins and squash growing volumes at my gardens produce. Second, my pantries are usually attached to the house and tend not to read to retain a constant cool temperature.
Is your storage location too warm?
The best way to tell if your storage location is too warm, other than a thermometer, is that when you break open the squash, if you see seeds that have sprouted, then your storage area is too warm the seeds are germinating.
The Hercules Butternut
squash is not entirely consistent in shape, however, the Hercules butternut
squash produces some very large squash. The vines are long and very vigorous. It has a bulbous shape that is remarkably free
of crooknecks. The interior is a deep orange color with a firm and fine
Days To Maturity
18 to 25 inches with a neck which averages 4 inches in diameter.
2 to 4 pounds
Buff / Tan
Vining with 8-10 foot vines
Edible with Good food qualities
Demonstrates resistance to mildew and to vine borer.
Planting guidelines for plant the Hercules butternut squash in
well fertilized prepared garden beds.