Growing acorn squash is rewarding as you get to harvest a large crop of about 5 fruits per plant from some varieties.
The acorn squash is also known as the pumpkin, but there are differences between the two. Keep reading to learn the differences between both fruits and to know how to grow acorn squash.
Identifying Squash Plants By Leaves
Identifying Squash Plants By Leaves
Differences Between Acorn Squash And Pumpkin
The major differences between these two fruits are:
- The shape of the fruit, the size of the fruit, and the seeds. The acorn squash is round in shape and has about 4-6 seeds in each fruit. The pumpkin has a different shape and has a hard shell with one seed inside.
- When you pick the acorn squash, the skin is usually soft and the flesh is very tender and delicious while the pumpkin’s seed must be hard when mature.
- As for the nutrition values, the acorn squash has about 150 calories per cup while the pumpkin has about 200 calories per cup. Acorn squash also has more fiber and less fat than pumpkin. However, if you want to make the best-tasting pumpkin pie, then it’s better to buy the pumpkin instead of the acorn squash.
- After cooking, the pumpkin will have a crunchy texture while the acorn squash will have a softer texture.
- Pumpkins are larger than acorns. Pumpkin is a large, orange-fleshed gourd that is grown as a vegetable, while acorn squash is a small, yellow-fleshed gourd that is grown as a fruit.
- Acorns can be eaten raw, but pumpkins need to be cooked.
Growing Acorn Squash – Step By Step Guide
Growing acorn squash from seed is easy and fun. It’s the best way to start your own garden. Growing an acorn squash from seed takes less than a month and is a great learning experience.
The seeds are inexpensive and can be planted directly into the ground without first having to be soaked. Acorn squash seeds take about six weeks to germinate, so you will have a baby acorn squash in about two months. It’s a wonderful winter squash that grows large and tastes delicious.
Let’s see how we can grow acorn squash from seeds:
- Step 1: Preparing Seeds. First of all, you need to get good quality seeds. The best way is to buy it from a specialized shop. If you don’t have one near you, you can try to find it online. When buying the seeds, make sure they are healthy and fresh. It’s better to get them in a shop where they keep them in a refrigerator. Get the seeds and soak them in water overnight
- Step 2: Place the seeds in a paper bag or other air-tight container, and store them in a warm place for about three weeks. This will help them germinate.
- Step 3: After the three weeks are up, remove the seeds from the paper bag and plant them in a pot with a little soil.
- Step 4: Plant the seeds in a sunny spot, but not in direct sunlight. When the seeds sprout, keep an eye on them. Make sure that they don’t dry out.
- Step 5: When the squash is ready to be harvested, it should have a nice shape and size. You can start picking them when they are small, but it’s better to wait until they are big enough to eat. It will take between 10 to 12 weeks to grow the acorn squash.
- Step 6: Once the acorn squash is ready to eat, you can cut off the stem and peel off the skin. If you want, you can wash the squash, but it’s not necessary. It’s also possible to eat it raw. The acorn squash is an easy and healthy food to add to your diet.
Requirements For Growing Acorn Squash
The following are some of the things you should know about growing acorn squash.
- Acorn squash is winter squash. It can be grown during the summer if it is protected from freezing temperatures.
- The ideal soil temperature for growing acorn squash is 70°F to 75°F. If you live in an area that is colder, you may want to grow it indoors.
- You should plant your squash seeds no more than 1 inch deep and at least 2 inches apart in full sun. The direct sun makes them sweeter.
- Water your squash plants thoroughly when they are small. Don’t let your squash sit in water; allow it to dry out before watering again.
- Fertilize your squash plants with a slow-release fertilizer every two weeks until the plants start producing fruit.
Take-Home – Growing Acorn Squash
Growing acorn squash is easy and fast and you can expect a big harvest from a few plants. As long as you provide them with the right growing conditions, acorn squash will be good to go.
You can grow them in a container on a deck or patio. You can also plant them in the garden. However, be sure to provide a trellis so that they don’t fall over. When growing squash in a container, add a few small stones to help the roots establish themselves.
What does acorn squash look like when growing?
Acorn squash is a round, oblong, or pear-shaped fruit with green skin and tan flesh. It grows in a bunch of 5 to 8 fruits on a long stem called a “pistil.” The stem is about 2 feet long.
What is the growing season for acorn squash?
The growing season for acorn squash is between March and November.
How long is the growing cycle of acorn squash?
According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) publication, "Agricultural Statistics," from the USDA's Crop Production and Agronomy Statistics, Acorn Squash (Cucurbita maxima) has a "days to harvest" of 155. This is the number of days from seeding to harvesting.
Do acorn squash need a trellis?
Yes. It is best to grow these on a trellis because the vine can become very long and difficult to manage. It is possible to grow them on a wall but they are prone to slugs and snails which can cause damage.