The Winter Squashes That Ate New York



I’ve always planted lots of curcubits of the summer variety–zucchini, cucumbers, even some melons.  But never a lot of winter squashes, until my son stuck a pair of butternut squash seedlings in the ground last year.  They yielded two dozen delicious squashes that kept beautifully in the house all winter.  (Winter squashes like being stored at warmish temperatures.)  So this year, I decided to take a leap forward by planting about eight winter squash plants of different varieties.  They are just relentless growers, with dinosaur-sized leaves, and have stomped everything in their path, including my summer squashes.  Clearly, I have to rethink quantity or location next year.  Throwing them out of the garden entirely and planting them in the compost pile, as some books recommend, is not really an option, given the predators here.


  1. Oh yes, this has been a mega squash year around here. Every vine growing to astounding lengths, leaves enormous pollination great,squash bugs nil.
    I do have a tip that will help some little bit if space is limited and you want to grow a few different kinds. Cut the ends of the vines after they have produced several squash. Also I saw this great picture on a blog somewhere of branches and twigs making a trellis that was sort of lying low to the ground instead of standing. The squash grew on top of it and the weight was well supported. I have to try that next year.

  2. Butternut is my favorite squash to eat. Last year, I had butternut volunteers all over my garden late in the season from seeds that survived my poor composting practices. I enjoyed the foliage so much, I grew them deliberately this year, starting early. But I trellised them inadequately, and they grew too big and got away from me.

    Butternut is easy to trellis if you stay on top of it. It can work well in a small space.

  3. Eeks, the only winter squash I do manage to grow are compost volunteers. Spread the compost around, spread the squash seeds! I’m mostly vigilant about killing them, but…I have some very lovely pumpkins taking over the compost area, some great acorn squash with the rhubarb, and–most magical of all–a monster of a butternut shading one patch of potatoes.

    Perhaps next year you just let them climb that lovely fence, up and over, so they’ll take over the yard? Just plant enough so your pest problems are reduced.

  4. This is my first year for winter squash and I wonder why I waited. Whenever I have platned zukes, cukes or those type I have ended up with stunted plants and no veggies (okay, technically I did get one 2″ long shrivelled up cuke).

    The butternut and acorn squash plants are huge and starting to produce and I am anthralled. You can bet I’ll be doing more of those next year!

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