Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Winter Squash

Family: Cucurbits

Seed Varieties:
  • Acorn: This variety is vaguely acorn shaped, with deep ribbing the whole way around. There are a variety of colors from dark green to orange to a mixture of both. With yellow flesh, acorn squash grows to about one and a half to two pounds.
  • Spaghetti: This variety is oblong in shape with yellow skin and flesh. After cooking, the sweet flesh separates into long fibers that look like the pasta for which it was named. It grows to about three to five pound.
  • Crookneck: These look how they sound: a large, bulbous base with a long, crooked neck. With tan skin and yellow flesh, these store very well, and can reach up to 20 pounds. Pennsylvania Dutch Croockneck is a preferred variety.
  • Butternut: This variety is a uniform cylindrical shape with a slightly bulbous base. The skin is tan in color, smooth, and fairly thin, while the flesh is a bright yellow with a nutty flavor. They grow to be three to six pounds. Waltham Butternut is a preferred variety.
  • Hubbard: Tear dropped shaped with slightly bumpy skin, these squash usually have bluish gray or red skin with rich yellow, flavorful flesh. They generally reach a size of five to eight pounds. Anna Swartz Blue Hubbard is a preferred variety.
Indoor Start Date and Cell size:

Plant on 5/8 in 38s.

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Winter squash are not transplanted in the greenhouse.

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Transplant seedlings outside on 5/29, spacing them every two feet on hills with two rows per bed.

Planting Tips:

Squash vine out significantly, so do not plant the winter squash in a bed beside a crop that would be easily damaged, or that needs to be harvested during the squash’s growing season (such as beans).

Plant Needs:

Squash need to be watered during dry periods, and planted in well-drained soil. They are hardy plants, and once they are established, grow vigorously.

Cultivation Techniques:

The cultivation of squash plants when they are young is crucial to their healthy development. Once they vine out, the shade of their leaves blocks out most competition from other plants. It also makes weeding nearly impossible, so staying on top of it when they are smaller and possible to work around is necessary. Use a collinear or stirrup hoe to cultivate thoroughly but shallowly, as the root system of winter squash is shallow and delicate.

Pests and Pest Control:

See summer squash

Harvest Techniques:

Winter squash are ready to harvest once the skin has turned to its rich, mature color and the rind is hard. Carefully cut the stem of the fruit, being mindful not to damage the vine or the fruit, as any nicks will cause rot. Be sure to harvest the squash before heavy frost.


After harvesting, wash the squash in a mild bleach solution, which will keep fruit flies away during storage. If undamaged and fully mature, squash will store very well for extended periods of time in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Do not stack to deeply as this may cause damage. Refrigeration is unnecessary.


For retail, sell at $1.50 each and at $1.50 per pound for wholesale.