Now that autumn has arrived, it is not too late to start planting seeds for an autumn harvest, at least for the hardy crops that can be stored for the colder months. Squashes and pumpkins are two of the best stowaway crops for autumn gardening. They have an exceptionally long storage life, often surviving till spring, and they offer substantial nutrition.
Butternut and acorn squashes are two of the most popular varieties of fall squash, but you might not be as familiar with delightful banana and jack-be-little squashes. It’s comforting to know we have choices, and diversity is always welcome. As an example, consider these seven options:
- Hubbard squash is known by several other names, but in essence, it is a type of squash that resembles the pumpkins we usually associate with Halloween, except that it is green. It takes about 100 days to reach full maturity, is on the sweeter side, and can weigh anywhere from five to twenty pounds. Remember, it can’t take the cold, so let it four months to mature.
- The most popular winter/autumn squash is probably butternut; like hubbards, it takes around four months for it to develop. When the skin becomes rigid and resists pressure from a thumbnail, it is ready to be harvested.
- Another well-liked type is the acorn squash, which is ready to be picked in just three months. These small, sweet squashes often weigh in at only a few pounds but pack a big flavor punch. Around three months of storage time is possible.
- The Delicata squash, which grows to about two pounds when mature, is ready to harvest after around 90 days. It may be kept for up to four months and is highly prized for its distinctive oblong shape and horizontal stripes. These squashes are perfect for baking whole or halved. The outer layer, or skin, can be eaten.
- The spaghetti squash is a unique individual. Another rapid maturator, this one reaches full size in about 90 days. The uniqueness of this species lies in the fact that its meat, when prepared in the traditional manner, takes on a texture not unlike that of spaghetti.
- Baby pam and sugar pie pumpkins made the list for a few reasons. To begin, how could they possibly not be included with names like that? More significantly, as the name says, they are excellent for baking pies, and because they are little, they mature in around 105 days.
- Jack-be-little pumpkins are another type of little, fast-growing pumpkin that has a nice flavor and can be used to make miniature jack o’lanterns, as the name suggests. Jack-Be-Quicks is a pretty similar kind that isn’t all that different.