Strategies for Growing Winter Squash

Strategies for Growing Winter Squash, pumpkin, Growing for Fruit Volume or Fruit Size, Growing for Fruit Volume, Growing for Size
Meal Size Autumn Glow Butternut Squash

Growing for Fruit Volume or Fruit Size

There two basic approaches to growing winter Squash and pumpkins, growing for fruit volume or growing for fruit size.  Both approaches required good plant culture practice but use different strategies.

Growing for Fruit Volume

Growing for fruit volume is most frequently associated with growing for food and dry storage. While large fruit is not necessarily a bad thing,  growing a larger volume of small fruit has its advantages.  Among these advantages are:

  • Smaller fruit tends to be more one meal size and, therefore, means fewer leftovers to store or serve later from each fruit.
  • Fruit can be prepared or canned in small sets.
  • A smaller scale of lose when fruit goes bad during storage.

To grow for fruit volume, you need only to follow a few simple steps:

  • Choose a hardy vigorous squash know for volume fruit production.
  • Choose disease and pest resistant varieties.
  • Choose varieties with growth season requirements (e.g. 90 days, 100 days, 120 days) that are well within your growing season.
  • Use succession planting.  In areas with a long growing season, plant more than one crop of shorter seasoned fruit.  In some areas a summer and autumn crop is possible.  Especially, if the early crop is started indoors to get a jump on the season.  Additionally, planting crops in session rather than all at once for the small garden can provide an opportunity to withstand a partial crop loss from pests of disease.
  • Leave all fruit on the vine
  • Once the vine has set fruit to allow the vine to grow a foot or so past the fruit then cut off the endmost portion of the vine.  This pruning process should cause the vine to spread (vine) laterally from the original vine.  The lateral vines should set fruit as well.  This also has the added advantage of creating a more compact squash patch.

Growing for Size

Growing for size is most commonly associated with competition growing.  To achieve maximum size:

  • Chose a fruit with the genetic capacity to achieve the size desired, while good plant culture will add to fruit size, having the genetic ability to obtain larger sizes gives a significant head start.
  • Grow one fruit per vine.  Be sure to wait until you have confirmed that the fruit has been pollinated and has started to grow prior to removing other fruit.
  • Pay attention to fruit position on the vine.  As a general rule fruit will grow larger farther out on long vines, assuming that the vines have been permitted to root at leaf joints.

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