Tips from Olle Garden Bed: Don't Miss These Squash Varieties!
If you're interested in growing butternut squash this year, below is a list of the most common types and their growth habits. We've also provided some interesting facts about each variety to help you determine if they are a good fit for your garden, the following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds:
The best kinds of squash for storing are the ones specifically intended for long-term storage. These tend to be the larger varieties, such as Burpee's spaghetti squash or Hubbard squash. Winter squashes can remain viable for many months, even if not refrigerated, which means that you can buy them earlier in the season and save them for much later. These are very good foods to stock up on if you have the space.
Some mature winter squash can be stored for up to six months if preserved properly. Their seeds are large and germinate easily, making them an excellent choice for children or beginner gardeners. It's worth noting that members of the gourd family cross-pollinate easily, which can affect the seeds the following year.
Saving potentially cross-pollinated seeds can result in higher than normal levels of cucurbit in toxic pumpkins, which can make you sick! So if you're going to save the seeds, it's best to keep them far enough away from each other. Otherwise, the seeds are perfectly edible and delicious when roasted!
Spaghetti squash is known for its yellow flesh, which can be pulled into strands with a fork when cooked - much like pasta. The yellow meat is often used as a vegetable substitute for pasta, hence the name spaghetti squash. Cooked squash is just as delicious with the addition of some butter, salt and pepper.
This is a good choice for gardeners with limited space, as it is a shrub type rather than a vine type and is suitable for containers planted on a patio or deck. Large rectangular yellow varieties can weigh 4 to 5 pounds each.
A Little miracle
This variety produces 2-3 pound small pumpkins, perfect for single servings. They are bright orange in color and have higher levels of beta-carotene compared to other yellow spaghetti pumpkins.
The variety is yellow with green stripes and resembles the Delicates pumpkin. It is famous for its nutty flavor. It is said to have a higher resistance to powdery mildew. It has sweet flesh and a mild taste.
This is a fast growing pumpkin, ripening in about 80 days, while most other winter melons take 90 days or more. As the name suggests, the delicate flesh is perfect as a pasta substitute.
Compared to other winter melons, acorns have relatively thin skins and light orange flesh. Usually the two halves of acorn squash are roasted in butter, sometimes flavored with sweet maple syrup or brown sugar.
Green acorn squash
This is the most common acorn squash and can be found in most grocery stores, especially during the fall season. Acorn-shaped pumpkins have deep ribs and dark green skin with sweet orange flesh inside. It is important to harvest them before they start to turn orange, otherwise they will develop fibrous flesh.
Golden acorn squash
The pumpkin has a golden-orange skin and golden flesh. The taste is similar to that of green acorns, but the beautiful gold color can add visual interest to your salty dishes.
The squash is a cross between an acorn and a sweet dumpling squash. It is shaped like an acorn pumpkin, but has pale yellow and pale green skin streaks.
These winter melon varieties got their name because they look like turbaned pumpkins. They have the overall pumpkin shape, but almost have a smaller pumpkin protruding from the top. They are mainly used as unique autumn decorations. But they are also edible.
Buttercup pumpkins are dark green with a light green "turban" protruding from the top. The orange meat is a bit dry, so it's best to steam this pumpkin or roast it in maple syrup or a sauce of butter and brown sugar. Buttercup squash can also be used as a pumpkin substitute in soups, stews, and pumpkin pies.
A Turk's turban
Similar in appearance to buttercup squash, but in a variety of colors. It's mostly used for decorative purposes, but it's also delicious, edible and has a classic pumpkin flavor.
These pumpkins are also known as Japanese pumpkins (kabocha is the Japanese word for pumpkin). Kabocha squash is known for its earthy flavor. In Japan, "kabocha" may refer to many different types of pumpkins, but in the West, Kabocha has come to refer to specific types of winter squash.
As the name suggests, this kabocha has a deep orange rind and an almost red appearance. It has deep orange flesh and tastes like a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato.
This is the most common capocha pumpkin, with a beautiful dark green rind with light green spots and yellow-orange flesh. Its thin skin makes it easy to cook and eat (no need to peel!
The appearance is similar to the above Capocha, but the skin is bright orange. It also has thin, edible skin and a taste similar to sweet potatoes. When cubes and roasted with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper, they taste delicious.
The pumpkins are said to be named after Bella Hubbard, who introduced the winter melon to a seed merchant and then named the plant after her. They are drier and denser than most pumpkins, and have a buttery richness.
Blue Hubbard pumpkin
This blue variety actually has more gray-blue color and a large pear shape. Blue Herbert is rapidly gaining popularity among gardeners as a trap crop for pumpkin bugs and other pests that can plague your summer harvest. It's also edible on its own, and very tasty.
Gold Hubbard pumpkin
The variety has the same pear-shaped shape as the blue Hubbard pumpkin, but has red-orange warty skin. Cooked and fleshy with cream.
Red Curry is a small teardrop-shaped mini Hubbard with orange-red rind and pale orange flesh. The red currie also has an earthy, slightly nutty flavor and can be grilled and eaten on its own.
Butternut squash is one of the most popular winter squash, and with good reason! It has bright orange flesh, an elongated shape, and a small seed cavity at the base. The smooth texture of this sweet pumpkin makes for delicious winter soups and stews.
Waltham butternut squash
The most common variety of butternut squash. This heirloom variety produces a light tan pumpkin with vivid orange flesh. They reach maturity in about 85 days and this breed is well stored. If you would like to try growing Waltham butternut squash from seeds, we will stock these in our online store.
The honeyberry is a butternut squash hybrid the size of a miniature sweet potato. It is sweet, sweeter than a standard walnut, and has a deep orange flesh.
Butter Boy mix
Produce 2-3 pounds of pumpkin with a light orange skin and orange flesh. Prepare to harvest in about 85 days.
The light of autumn
Stout, almost boxy pumpkin with light yellow-orange skin. Fast growing, about 80 days to maturity.
These are also called sweet potato pumpkins because they are usually smaller and sweet potato shaped.
Stout, rectangular and about 6 inches long than the standard Delicata pumpkin. It's great for single servings and small snacks. As the name suggests, it has a mild sweet taste.
This winter melon has been described as the sweetest pumpkin in existence, compared to eating a spoonful of honey! This makes it an excellent pumpkin for baking desserts.
Shrub chicory moss
Shrubby Delicata varieties grow as shrubs rather than vines. Excellent choice for small space gardeners.
Sweet dumpling squash
Has the same pale yellow skin and light green stripes as the Delicata, but in the shape of an acorn pumpkin.
For the sake of brevity, we'll only discuss the most common varieties that come to mind when you hear the word "pumpkin," because there are more than 90 kinds of pumpkins!
Sugar squash is mainly used as pie squash. Pie pumpkins are bred for sweetness, not size. They are also smaller than large carved pumpkins. Usually, they are baked and pureed before being used for baking. They're also perfect for canned squash. Try growing sugar pie pumpkin seeds that we stock in our online store.
Mini varieties that are 4-6 inches in diameter. Perfect for small space gardeners. It's also sweet, and it's used in baking, much like sugar squash.
Cress of barley
This giant pumpkin can grow to weigh 300 pounds! That's a solid pumpkin! They are usually grown for pumpkin growing contests and are not suitable for eating. It will take about 125 days to reach full size.
Jack the Lantern
These pumpkins weigh about 12-18 pounds and are perfect for carving. Although they can also be eaten.
Pear-shaped with dark green stripes, very similar to Hubbard squash. The blended Lakota pumpkin took over a century to create! Records show it was planted in Fort Atkinson, Nebraska in the 1820s.
These pumpkins are cylindrical and can grow very large, weighing up to 35 pounds! The flesh is fragrant and the seeds are few, especially considering its large size.
Known as the West Indian pumpkin because of its popularity in the Caribbean. It is sweet, juicy and robust.
Blue Hokkaido or Blue Curry
The skin is gray-blue and the flesh is dark orange. It has a rich, nutty taste. Sometimes referred to as blue Capocha.
When left to dry on a vine, the gourds become hollow and can therefore be used as bottles. They are also commonly used as natural aviaries.
Amazing white pumpkin shaped like an acorn pumpkin. It's edible. However, it adds variety by adding yellow, green, orange and blue winter melon in other colors, thus making a great addition to the fall schedule.
The pumpkin looks similar to a Mardi Gras pumpkin, but upside down has a chrysanthemum-shaped pattern at the bottom. Add beautiful flower shapes to your decorations.
Tennessee Dancing gourd
Hand-held size dark green with light green stripes and standard bottle gourd shape. These make excellent fillers for tabletop cornucops.
These are hot pumpkins for the fall and winter holidays. Thankfully, with this list, you don't have to deal with too many oranges in the form of pumpkins.