How to Harvest and Store Winter Squash and Pumpkins
28.10.2023 - 16:35
If you have grown squash or pumpkins in your garden, then the last thing that you want is for that produce to go to waste.
Avoiding waste means thinking carefully about when and how you need to harvest your crop, and also how you should prepare these fruits for storage, and how you should store them for later use.
Visual clues typically tell you whether or not winter squash or pumpkins are ready to harvest. Often, we can use color and glossiness to determine whether the variety we are growing is reaching maturity. Mature fruits can vary in color depending on the variety, but they are typically glossy and rich in hue.
We can also look at the stem above the fruit, which will have begun to turn hard and whither when the fruit is ready to harvest.
Additionally, we can use our other cues to determine if they are ready to harvest. For example, we can use a fingernail to see how hard the skin is. The skin of the ripe fruits should typically dent but not puncture when pressed with a nail. When we tap the fruits with our hand, they should sound hollow.
You can also keep track of when you sowed and planted your crop. The typical time to harvest can vary depending on type and variety and may vary with the weather in a given year, of course. But knowing the typical time to harvest for the type you are growing can generally help you understand the rough time when ripe fruits can be expected.
To harvest squash and pumpkins that are mature, you need a gardening knife or pair of garden shears to cut through the tough stem. The tool you use should be sharp and clean to avoid making a ragged cut that can introduce rot or cause disease to render the fruit unfit for storage.
It is best to leave stems a few inches long on each squash
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