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A picture of a Winter Squash

Winter Squash

Cucurbita spp.

Also known as

Pumpkin, Courgette, Squash, Gourd, Marrow

Cucurbita pepo-2 by VladUK (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

13b

USDA zone

18°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

50cm

Max

2m

30cm

Min

1m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

Cucurbita pepo "zapallo de Angola" semillería La Paulita - polinización (mascVE3-femVE1) - 2 - 7,18hs flor femenina vista de lado
A photo of Winter Squash
A photo of Winter Squash
A photo of Winter Squash

Overview

The genus Cucurbita contains some of the fastest growing vegetables, usually known as Pumpkin, Squash, Marrow and Courgette. They come in all shapes and sizes, from traditional Halloween pumpkins and butternut squash to more unusual varieties such as ‘Turk’s Turban’ and ‘Crown Prince’. Fun to grow, these trailing vine species need full sun, plenty of water and rich soil. Seeds are planted in spring, male flowers will bloom first, followed by female flowers (farmers use bees to help pollinate, so they can harvest a good crop) and they are harvested from summer to autumn. Pumpkins and Squash in particular, can become very heavy, so they benefit from being grown up a sturdy support structure. As a food, they're very versatile and can be roasted, used in stews and curries or blended to make a delicious autumn soup. Most varieties store for up to a few months and you can enjoy your home-grown fare throughout the winter months. Smaller species such as Courgettes, are great for small spaces, can be eaten in salads, but do not store so well, so eat as soon as harvested!

Common problems

Apart from slugs and snails, Cucurbita are more susceptible to pests when grown under glass.

Harvesting

Pick flowers to be served in a beer batter throughout Summer. Fruit is ripe when the outside is fully colored, the skin is hard, and the stem begins to shrivel and dry. Cut the pumpkin's stem using a pair of shears, leaving it a few centimeters long.

Propagation

Seed

Direct sow seed in late Spring or early Summer, 2.5–5 cm deep. Plant seeds in rows or “pumpkin hills” which are small mounds. The soil will warm faster and the seeds will germinate quicker. This also helps with drainage and pest control.

Special Features

Autumn colour

Colourful pumpkins brighten up the area in Autumn.

Pot plant

You can grow pumpkins in growbags or containers that are at least 45 cm wide. Plant one or two per growbag, or one per container.

Attractive flowers

Attractive fruits

Fruits vary in sizes.

Uses

Edible

The fruit is a favourite cooked, often with cinammon.