How Do You Plant Winter Squash?

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Winter Squash

Growing Winter Squash

Are you pondering over when and how to plant winter squash? Look no further! In this informative guide, we delve deep into everything you need to know about planting and growing your very own thriving winter squash garden from the comfort of your home. Whether you're a seasoned gardening pro or a green-thumbed beginner keen on adding pops of fresh color and nutrition into your plot, we've got you covered. From planting and nurturing to harvest, our comprehensive guide is drenched with practical tips, common pitfalls to avoid and expert advice, designed to help you master the art of cultivating robust, healthy winter squash all season long.

How Do You Plant Winter Squash?

Choose the Right Time

Plant winter squash in the late spring or early summer when the soil has warmed up and there is no risk of frost.

Select a Sunny Spot

Find a location that receives full sun for at least 6-8 hours every day.

Prepare the Soil

Loosen the soil by removing rocks and weeds. Add compost or well-rotted manure to improve drainage and provide nutrients.

Start Seeds Indoors (Optional)

If you want to get a head start, start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date.

Plant Seeds Directly

Sow seeds directly into the prepared soil, planting them 2 inches deep and spacing them 4-6 feet apart.

Water Regularly

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply once a week, providing about 1-2 inches of water.

Provide Support

Consider providing supports like trellises or cages for vining varieties to help them grow vertically and save space.

Mulch the Soil

Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Fertilize Properly

Apply a balanced fertilizer once a month to ensure healthy growth. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper application.

Pest and Disease Control

Regularly monitor for pests like squash bugs or powdery mildew. Use organic pest control methods or consult a professional if necessary.


Depending on the variety, winter squash is ready to harvest when the skin is hard and cannot be pierced with a fingernail. Cut the squash from the vine, leaving a 1-inch stem.


Cure winter squash in a warm, dry place for 1-2 weeks. Store in a cool, dry area with good air circulation. Properly stored winter squash can last for several months.

Tools and Supplies You'll Need:

  • Garden shovel
  • Rake
  • Gardening gloves
  • Compost or well-rotted manure
  • Seeds or seedlings
  • Irrigation system or watering can
  • Supports (trellises or cages)
  • Organic mulch
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Pest control products (if needed)
  • Harvesting knife or shears
  • Storage area

Intro To Growing Winter Squash

Let's get this show on the road. Growing winter squash is a lot of fun. plus, they are tasty and healthy!


use well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost. pick a big pot to grow squash, one plant will easily take up the space in a 24 inches deep pot. before planting or sowing seeds outdoors, prepare the ground where each squash will grow. winter squash ideally wants sandy loam to grow in. sandy loam simply means soil consisting of less than 7 percent clay, less than 50 percent silt, and between 43 and 50 percent sand.


you can plant summer squashes in growing bags or containers at least 45cm (18in) wide. plant one or two per growing bag, or one per container.


you are obviously also going to need seeds!


this plant needs full sun.


squashes are usually sown indoors in pots, to get them off to an early start, then planted out after the last frost. this will usually give you an earlier and larger crop, and is useful in colder regions. it also keeps the vulnerable seedlings safe from slugs and snails. make a hole about a spade's depth, width and height and fill with a mixture of home-made compost or well-rotted manure and soil. sprinkle a general purpose fertiliser over the soil. plant 1 squash or make 1 sowing in middle. from early spring, sow the flat seeds on their side, 13mm (0.5 in) deep, in 7.5cm (3in) pots of compost and keepat 18-21c (65-70f).



1. When should I plant winter squash?

To successfully grow winter squash, it is crucial to plant it at the right time. The ideal time to plant winter squash is in late spring or early summer when the soil has warmed up to a minimum of 60°F (15°C). This temperature favors the germination and growth of squash seeds, ensuring a healthy plant.

2. How do I prepare the soil for growing winter squash?

Preparing the soil properly is essential for growing winter squash. Start by clearing the area of any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil using a garden fork to a depth of about 12 inches (30 cm). Mix in well-aged compost or organic matter to improve soil structure and fertility. Winter squash thrives in rich, well-draining soil, so amending it with organic material is beneficial.

3. What is the best way to plant winter squash seeds?

Planting winter squash seeds is relatively simple. Dig a hole or furrow about an inch deep and place the seeds about 2-3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Cover the seeds with soil and gently pat it down. Water the area thoroughly and keep the soil consistently moist until germination occurs. Ensure that you choose a sunny location for planting as winter squash requires full sun to grow and produce abundant fruits.

4. How often should I water winter squash plants?

Proper watering is essential for the successful growth of winter squash. It is important to keep the soil consistently moist, especially during hot and dry periods. Water deeply once or twice a week, providing enough moisture for the roots without saturating the soil. Ensure that you water at the base of the plants to prevent foliage diseases.

5. How long does it take for winter squash to mature?

The time it takes for winter squash to mature depends on the specific variety you are growing. In general, most winter squash varieties take around 80-120 days from planting to maturity. It is best to refer to the seed packet or specific variety information for an accurate estimate. Harvest the squash when the skin is firm, the color is deep, and the stem has dried out.

6. How do I store winter squash after harvest?

Proper storage is essential to ensure the longevity of winter squash. After harvest, cure the squash by keeping them in a warm and dry location for about two weeks. Once cured, store them in a cool, dry place with good air circulation, such as a basement or pantry. Winter squash can last for several months when stored correctly.

7. How can I prevent common pests and diseases in winter squash?

To prevent pests and diseases, it is important to practice good garden hygiene. Keep the garden area clean from debris, as pests and diseases often thrive in such environments. Additionally, rotate your crops each year to minimize the risk of buildup of specific pests and diseases. Monitor your plants regularly for any signs of pest damage or disease and take appropriate measures, such as using organic pest control or applying fungicides when necessary.

By following these guidelines, you will be on your way to successfully growing winter squash. Remember to provide proper care, maintain consistent watering, and choose a suitable location to ensure a bountiful harvest of delicious winter squash.

Planting winter squash can require a little extra effort, but if done correctly, it can be a rewarding experience. not only do you get a useful winter vegetable, but you also get to enjoy the beauty and bounty of your garden as the sun warms the world after a cold winter.

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