When To Harvest Squash: Best Time To Pick Winter Or Summer Squash

Summer Squash (Zucchini)

The best time to pick summer squash is from mid June till early July. You can also get some good quality fruit during this period too. However, it’s not the best season to pick them because they are very susceptible to frost damage and rot if picked too late in the year. They will still taste fine though!

Winter Squash (Butternut)

You can pick butternut squash from October onwards. The best time to pick winter squash is from December till March. If you want to eat them after picking, then it’s better to wait until April or May before eating them. But don’t worry, they won’t spoil all that much once eaten!

Green Squash (Spaghetti)

There is no need to pick spaghetti squash. They are very easy to peel and can even be peeled with your fingers. You might have heard that you shouldn’t eat spaghetti squash, but there is nothing wrong with eating them at all! Just make sure you only eat the white part of the fruit, which contains most nutrients.

So what do I mean?

Well you can eat the inside flesh of the skin!

Zucchini (Courgette)

Zucchini grown in gardens are best picked from July till October because they are still young at this time. Don’t pick them too late in year though as they tend to start rotting before you can eat them. I’ve known people who have waited too long and had to throw their crop away because it all became covered in mold and went bad.

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Spaghetti Squash (Spaghetti)

You will know if your spaghetti squash is ready to pick when you can easily twist the exterior shell with your hands. It should come off in long strips very easily. If it’s difficult to remove, then you shouldn’t pick it yet as the flesh won’t be soft enough to eat.

How Do I Know If My Summer (Zucchini) Or Winter (Butternut) Squash Is Ready To Pick?

You can easily tell if your summer (zucchini) or winter (butternut) squash is ready to pick because the stem will be brown and dead. If the stem is still green, it means that the plant is still growing. If it’s halfway turned brown, then it means that the plant has started to die and won’t produce as many fruits.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Pick Winter (Butternut) Squash?

The best time of year to pick winter (butternut) squash is from December till March. The reason for this is because the cold temperature causes the skin to harden. If you pick them too early, then they might not harden up and ripen properly.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Pick Summer (Zucchini) Squash?

The best time of year to pick summer (zucchini) squash is from mid June till early July. If you pick them too early, then they might be small and not ripe enough to eat. If you pick them too late in the season (after August), then they might start to rot before they can even ripen or mature.

How Can I Tell If My Zucchini (Courgette) Is Ready To Pick?

There are a couple of signs you can look for that will tell you if your zucchini (courgette) is ready to pick. The first sign is that the stem will start to bend towards the ground. This means that the plant is trying to send its energy into the fruit and not the leaves or stem.

The second sign that your zucchini is ready to pick is that the skin will start to turn a dark color (this means they are ready to eat). If the skin is still a light green, then it means that the fruit hasn’t ripened yet.

How Do I Pick A Pumpkin (Squash)?

You can pick a pumpkin (squash) at anytime. Just twist and pull! However, if you want to make sure that the flesh is tender then pick it in mid September. If you pick it later than this then the flesh will start to harden and might not be as palatable.

Can I Pick My Pumpkins (Squash) Too Early?

Yes, you can pick your pumpkins (squash) too early. If you pick them too early then the skin won’t harden up properly. This means the skin won’t keep for as long and will rot faster. It can also affect the eating experience because the skin won’t be as tough and you will have to cook it for longer.

Should I Pick My Pumpkins (Squash) In The Morning Or Evening?

You should pick your pumpkins (squash) in the evening because they are more relaxed. This means that the stems will be looser and you should have an easier time picking them. If you pick them in the morning, then they are more tighened up which means the stems will be tougher to pull off.

How Can I Tell If My Pumpkins (Squash) Are Ripe?

You can tell if your pumpkins (squash) are ripe by looking at the skin. You are looking for a solid, deep color without any green spots. You can also check to see if the skin can easily be pierced with your thumbnail.

How Can I Pick A Heavy Pumpkin (Squash)?

You can pick a heavy pumpkin (squash) by trying to lift it. If it feels light for its size then it hasn’t matured yet. If it feels heavy for its size then it is ready to pick.

Sources & references used in this article:

Yield, quality and shelf-life of winter squash harvested at different fruit ages by H Nerson – Advances in Horticultural Science, 1995 – JSTOR

Determination of optimum storage conditions for ‘baby’summer squash fruit (Cucurbita pepo) by BS Brew, AD Berry, SA Sargent… – Proceedings of the …, 2006 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org

Squash: Commercial vegetable production by GE Boyhan, DM Granberry, WT Kelley – 2009 – athenaeum.libs.uga.edu

Yields and disease resistance of fall-harvested transgenic and conventional summer squash in Kentucky by B Rowell, W Nesmith, JC Snyder – HortTechnology, 1999 – journals.ashs.org

Macro-and trace elements content in honeybee pollen loads in relation to the harvest season by EKA Taha, S Al-Kahtani – Saudi journal of biological sciences, 2020 – Elsevier

Quality and Storability of Trellised Greenhouse-Grown, Winter-Harvested, New Sweet Acorn Squash Hybrids by A Adeeko, F Yudelevich, G Raphael, L Avraham… – Agronomy, 2020 – mdpi.com

Summer squash production in California by R Molinar, J Aguiar, M Gaskell, K Mayberry – 1999 – escholarship.org

Effect of excess boron on summer and winter squash by LE Francois – Plant and soil, 1992 – Springer

Summer squash by HS Paris – Vegetables I, 2008 – Springer

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