It’s getting to be around that time when the weather starts to cool and daylight becomes more and more scarce. As the grasp the trees have on their leaves weakens and those colorful, crunchy husks dot the ground, you remember that the winter squash you planted just for occasions like these is nearing its readiness. This week, let’s dive into how we can harvest and store that wonderful squash crop that’s just waiting to be put to good use.
There’s a few general rules to remember when harvesting your winter squash. One of the first is waiting until the plants die back to harvest your squash. You should wait for the normally wide, green, and robust leaves of your plant to turn crispy and brown before harvesting. Being overeager and harvesting them beforehand may result in an unripe squash. You can also check the readiness of your winter squash by examining its color. Compare your winter squash with images of what a fully mature version of your squash will look like. If the color is solid and robust, you can likely proceed with harvesting it. The third general rule is remembering to check the stem. One of the signs of a winter squash being ready to harvest is a thick and woody stem that you’ll need a pair of pruners to cut through.
Your now-harvested winter squash is going to need a cool dry place to stay for the next few months. That’s right! Your winter squash has quite a shelf life if stored properly, but eating it right away is just as fine too. You’ll want to keep your winter squash out of heat and direct sunlight when storing it, you should also avoid damp or wet environments too. These conditions can promote the growth of mold and mildew on your squash before you have the chance to consume them. A rack on a storage shelf will be a great space to store your squash harvest.